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Hello, I am a new member to this forum and I have a newbie question about running two trains on my existing 6x11’ Lionel O27 layout. The entire layout is O27 tubular track with several O27 remote switches and I have installed blocks to isolate the various loops in my setup. I’m not inclined to replace my track with Fast track at this stage due to the amount of work and expense involved. I’m driving all of it with an old but trusty ZW transformer. Most of my stock is post war, 50-60s vintage and I have two conventional locomotives, purchased new in the 90s-00s (pre command control).

I have been reading about the newer locomotives with Lionchief 2.0 plus. My question is, would it be possible to run one conventional locomotive by setting the ZW lever to a fixed voltage (12-15v), AND running a second (to be purchased) Lionchief locomotive, attenuating the latter with the remote? Is this at all possible?  Thanks

B2ADC581-1962-41BB-A47C-13EEFE33D08B

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Last edited by leetje
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Welcome to the forum!

I've run both conventional and LC on the same track loop, but...

If you already have two or more loops that are completely isolated from each other electrically, you're good to go running one type of loco on one track and the other type on the other loop.  If you can run two conventional locomotives at the same time already, then you've probably already figured this out.

If you try to run a conventional locomotive on the same loop with a LionChief and the conventional is faster, this is when it doesn't work so well, unless you modify the conventional loco to be inherently slower than the LC is at full throttle on the remote.

Last edited by SteveH

Certainly possible, as mentioned above.  You control the conventional loco with the transformer and the LionChief with either the universal remote, the app or the TMCC/Legacy remote depending on what you choose and have available.  Somewhat depends on the conventional loco and the length of the train and the length of the loop in order to keep the two trains separate, in terms of convenience. You'll have to pay attention .  The LionChief loco will probably stop if the voltage gets much below about 10-14 volts, and at these voltages, the conventional loco will continue to run, depending on its characteristics.  So experimentation will be necessary and the effort may not be worth it in some instances.  Easiest to keep the command loco(s) and conventional on separate loops/blocks for most people is my guess.

Thanks for your reply SteveH. I don't have complete loops that are isolated, only partial sections that I use to park one train while running the other so they don't run into each other. I'll have to ponder if I can make further tweaks to my layout.

So I can run the conventional loco at a slower speed and run the LC faster? That might work. I would still need to pay attention to all my switches. Something to think about.

In my experience at a given Track voltage, conventional locomotives are often faster than LC locomotives are even with their remote control at full speed.

In this case, on a single loop track power needs to be cycled to shift the conventional into neutral, advance the LC so that it's a bit further ahead and then cycle the conventional e-unit back to forward until the conventional catches back up to the LC again. Then repeat.

If you happen to have a conventional loco that's slower than your LC, it's all good and you can ride the LC Remote speed control to adjust its speed and distance from the conventional.

Last edited by SteveH

I have a similar question that Leetje had but a bit different.  If running only fastrack and two separate loops are separated with the block track/sections; can a transformer be used on one loop with the conventional train and a DC adapter on the loop only running LC?  I know mixing AC and D.C. power is a big no no shared.

@leetje Right now I'm only running 70's MPC era conventional trains on a basic oval and they still run when the throttle is set pretty low.  Guess it would take some fine tuning to run both the older and new LC trains.



Z

Here's a quick simple schematic of my layout, all one level. Still need to figure out a layout program using Mac. I can block the left loop, and the bottom of the top loop (middle section), and the diagonal section of the reversing loop. I do this to park a train and run the other. How could I run two trains, simultaneously, one conventional and one LC, without worrying about the switches? Can anyone see a simple fix (i.e. replacing switches)? Thanks

LEET

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... If running only fastrack and two separate loops are separated with the block track/sections; can a transformer be used on one loop with the conventional train and a DC adapter on the loop only running LC?  I know mixing AC and D.C. power is a big no no shared.

I tend to think that this could cause issues when a train passes from one block to the other.  The pick-up rollers and collectors in the locomotive and some cars could create a short between the two power supplies potentially creating a 18VDC offset to the AC voltage from the other transformer.

I think a better solution would be to use a multi-output AC transformer or 2 phased AC transformers to power both isolated loops independently.

TMCC, Legacy and all the LionChief variants use about 17V constant on the track.  Speed is regulated via the remote and electronics in the engine.   Conventional use voltage, 12-18 to regulate speed.     I run all the above on 1 track, but not at the same time.

TMCC/Legacy and even lionChief could run together at the same time.  LionChief uses different remotes. 

Mixing conventional and the others on the same track at the same time doesn't work.   

I have a legacy system with a powermaster control. I just switch my Powermaster from TMCC/LEGACY mode to conventional to run the conventional engines.  They all run from the remote this way. 

I have a similar related question.  Right now I only have a temp layout with two loops of completely separate tracks About 12 feet long with one setup of 036 curnves and one set of 048, but that's not really important, just that I have two loops.  I have 2 different MTH transformers for power.  When I want to run one of my lionchief trains I just turn the throttle up and use the remote one that one loop.  Right now there is no other track, so easy and I fully understand how to run the lionchief with my normal transformer.  I want to build a two loop permanant layout with a crossover using 4 switches and a siding on the inside loop.  With my DC powered G scale or HO/N trains I have blocking for using 2 or 3 transformers to control the loops, using insulated track sections.  However, with the O scale AC powered track/transformers how can I isolate the loops so I can run standard train on one loop and lionchief on the other loop at the same time, and leave a train on the siding too of course.  Is it possible to do this and not isolate all 3 rails?  In other words if I insulate only the center rail in-between the two swtich crossovers, can I run l lionchief on one loop of track, and conventional on the other loop at the same time?   Will the outer rail connections be ok if they are connected?  In DC it is fine, it is common ground wiring and blocking where only the hot (+) rail is blocked.  I just have not done this with AC transformers before.   I will include an example track diagram. My second question is how do isolate between the O36 switches without adding one of those 1 3/8" fastrack sections that can isolate the center rail, like I have on the siding?

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@T Ansley posted:

I have a similar related question.  Right now I only have a temp layout with two loops of completely separate tracks About 12 feet long with one setup of 036 curnves and one set of 048, but that's not really important, just that I have two loops.  I have 2 different MTH transformers for power.  When I want to run one of my lionchief trains I just turn the throttle up and use the remote one that one loop.  Right now there is no other track, so easy and I fully understand how to run the lionchief with my normal transformer.  I want to build a two loop permanant layout with a crossover using 4 switches and a siding on the inside loop.  With my DC powered G scale or HO/N trains I have blocking for using 2 or 3 transformers to control the loops, using insulated track sections.  However, with the O scale AC powered track/transformers how can I isolate the loops so I can run standard train on one loop and lionchief on the other loop at the same time, and leave a train on the siding too of course.  Is it possible to do this and not isolate all 3 rails?  In other words if I insulate only the center rail in-between the two swtich crossovers, can I run l lionchief on one loop of track, and conventional on the other loop at the same time?   Will the outer rail connections be ok if they are connected?  In DC it is fine, it is common ground wiring and blocking where only the hot (+) rail is blocked.  I just have not done this with AC transformers before.   I will include an example track diagram. My second question is how do isolate between the O36 switches without adding one of those 1 3/8" fastrack sections that can isolate the center rail, like I have on the siding?


You are correct, to create isolated blocks on O-Gauge 3-rail track, only the center rail needs to be isolated.  The outside rails are generally all tied together.  When sharing this common connection, all the transformers need to be phased (same output polarity).

If you want to connect O36 switches together in the manner you suggest, two switches would need to be modified to isolate their center Out rails from the rest of the switch.  In this example, the crossover portions of the switches between loops would share power with the inside loop.  With the modification shown in the second image below, the electrical isolation would be where the blue lines are drawn in the first image.

Isolating O36 switches in double loop-mu

O36 switch iso Out

In this picture, the Out center rail tabs that originally made contact with the metal jumper strip, were isolated.  If the switch is remote or command controlled, after removing the wires for the remote and any cover plate, I suggest taking a picture of the inside of the switch for easier reassembly.

  1. Remove any mechanisms, electronics and wires that may be in the way if using a remote or command switch.
  2. Next the tabs (in this picture hidden under the black electrical tape) need to be straightened.
  3. Remove the small machine screw (note finer thread pitch than cover plate screws).
  4. Bend the metal strip out of the way temporarily.
  5. Re-flatten the two rail tabs from step 2.
  6. Place electrical tape over those rail tabs.
  7. Bend the metal strip back into place and re-install the screw.
  8. If any wiring or electronics were removed, put them back.
  9. Re-attach the cover plate and the remote control.

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Last edited by SteveH

After posting I found someone else who posted with the same question,  also had two 036 switches and also did not want to add the short tracks to create the isolated center rail.  The solution is to remove the center pins where the switches meet, as you suggested, and for extra safety put electrical tape where the pins were at the end of the track.   Both my transformers are MTH Z-1000 (maybe Z750, I forgot) with the infrared remotes.  As I said, when I run lionchief right now on 1 track, I just put the throttle all the way up on that track and use the lionchief remote. Works great.  My plan is took hook each transfomer to each loop above, and I might make this layout larger too, haven't decided, then I can run two trains independently of either standard analog AC or mix/match with lionchief as I need.  I can store an extra loco on the siding. Of course considering 2 sidings too.  I also have MTH track, and Atlas track (I have a lot of track, not sure If I have all the turnouts though), and haven't decided which to go with, although I have some adapters between track type too.   This is a future project, not sure when I'll get to it.   Also, word of warning for anyone who has the MTH infared remotes, either remote works either transformer, they are identical.  I need seperation between the receivers otherwise I command both at once!  I may put one receiver on one side of the layout, and the other on the other side.  I have other transformers so maybe use a standard one in place of one of these, but I do like them.

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