My long term layout plans have always included a glass-roofed station platform between two standard gauge tracks. The minute I saw Johnnie Walker's standard gauge station platform, I knew I would have to build something similar. Standard Gauge Station
I have not started working on the station seriously, but I wanted to have a platform with people doing something (getting on or off the train, walking around). While searching on animations, I came across magnorail and DIY copies. The concept of using magnets to move people, cars and anything else is wonderful!
I had a new chain to put on my bicycle, so I finally got around to installing it - mostly so I could use the old chain on my platform. I already had a small motor/gearbox that turns at 12rpm at 5vdc. I bought two small deralleur sprockets, N52 magnets for the chain and N35 magnets for the people.
I have some "brick" material (purchased from Walmart's Christmas village dispaly) that is perfect for a station platform. When I put the brick directly on the chain/magnet assembly, the people moved in a very jerky way. The N52 magnets were too strong with just the thin brick material. I do like the pitter patter of little feet!
Next, I tried a piece of tempered glass from an old bathroom medicine chest. That worked quite well, the only problem being that it was just a bit too wide for the space between the tracks.
I replaced the glass with 1/4 inch birch veneer plywood. That worked perfectly and the people glided smoothly across the surface.
I still wanted the look of the brick, so I tried it on top of the plywood. It worked quite well with the extra distance from the chain. The people are not quite as smooth, but it gives them more life-like movement. I tried using wax to help the people slide along better, but that made them stick and fall over. The best operation is achieved with a clean dry surface. Light sanding on the bottom of the magnets attached to the people helped also.
The motor is just barely strong enough for this application. A stronger motor would be needed to pull vehicles. A windshield wiper motor would be great for long runs of chain and many cars. Weaker magnets would work well for people and other light items. All this makes me appreciate the design of magnorail. I wish they made the animated cyclists in O gauge.