What brand&type of track switches are you using?

If you are using track switches with the non-derail feature you can (at least in part) let the switches pick the route. When entering a switch whose position is such as to derail the train such switches automatically throw to permit the train safely through. 

You can easily gang switches such that one remote-control push will throw two or more switches and between this and the non-derailing feature you can make it as easy to operate as you wish.

Depending on the brand&type you can make your own oversized remote controls by any  of several methods. Oversized push-buttons come to mind.

Tell us more about your intentions and your son's motor-skills capabilities and I'm sure people here will have suggestions.



Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

Nice looking layout plan, looks interesting. What type of track and switches do you plan to use? I'm far from an expert here. Lots of folks here see things in track plans that it takes me some time to figure out after they mention it. I don't always see the obvious. Anyway, here are a few things to think about.

I wired my crossover switches to operate together, you might be able to do the same. With some thought about how you would like trains to run on the layout, you might be able to tie the lower left and upper right switches into your crossover switches somehow. Not sure if this would be possible or not depending on planned train operation.

Then you might be able to wire the two reverse loop switches for non-derail so they would switch automatically depending on train direction. Not sure those two switches would fit in with the operation of the others, but I suppose it might be possible? Someone with more operational experience could probably help with how practical all of this would be. 

The track that I will be using is fastrack because i like the non-derailing function of the switches.  My sons abilities are not as limited he does have use of his hands though i feel if there are a lot of switches to flip etc that he will get confused.  my goal with this is for him to be able to have fun switching the trains around etc.

I am not real familiar with the Fastrack switches, but I did sort of know they are (or can be) set up for non-derail, which is good.

In that case the two switches for the reversing loops should be self operational when wired for non-derail. I am thinking a switch controller could be optional with these two.

Then you could combine the two crossover switches to each operate together from their own separate switch controller. That would get 4 switches down to two switch controllers.

That leaves the lower left siding switch and the upper right siding switch. I am not exactly sure what to suggest with those? I suppose they could be wired into their respective crossover switches, but I am not certain how that should all work together? 

Maybe GEYSERGAZER will have some suggestions for those. He's much more knowledgeable about train operations than I am. 

Fastrack switches are non derailing whether wired or not. That's why they work so well in reversing loops with O36 and O31 manual switches. The train travels the opposite direction around the loop each time.


Located in the real Upstate NY

I would recommend making a diagram of the track layout and installing the switch buttons in diagram where the switches are. 

The picture shows such a diagram control panel, the red and green buttons are push button switches on the straight or curved direction for rail switches.  The diagram is made of 1/8 inch Masonite paneling and white track shown is made from 1/8 inch wide auto pin striping.  The button switches are inexpensive push button switches from Radio Shack.  My layout has 27 switches and I can not imagine having 27 pairs of push button switches lined up and trying to figure out which button to push.

Such a diagram would help your son understand which button switch to throw to set the rail switches.


Train Complete 1-17-2015 152


I like the track switches at lower left and upper right with the track along the outside connecting them. I'd install a switch controller for those two switches.

I'm not sure how much operational interest is generated by the two crossovers? Unless you are thinking of running two trains? On a compact layout that will quickly get complicated and would require split-second decisions be made one after another. Not my cup of tea. I'd be tempted to leave out the crossovers to start with and let the reverse-loop switches automatically change (no remote controllers needed). Then wire remote controllers to the two remaining switches and see how it goes. Fastrack is quick&easy to do track-plan tweaks so nothing need be set in concrete. 



Operator of the Plywood Empire Route in the Beautiful Berkshires

Growing old is so much more fun than the only alternative.

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