The Control Panel
If you haven't already taken the Grand Tour, I suggest you do that first.  It will make the following discussion much easier to understand and visualize.

In building the Upstairs Train, I ran into a number of problems and challenges due to its size and complexity. I pass on to you the lessons I learned in the hope that they will save you some time, frustration, and possible damage to your trains.  These lessons fall into the following categories:

Preventing derailment when a switch is flipped the wrong way.
2. Independently running more than one train at a time in different "
zones" when their tracks are interconnected.
3. Running a train in
"mainline" mode through two or more zones.
4. Running more than one train around a single loop controlled by
5. Preventing an engine from
reversing directions after it has been stopped.
6. Designing a control panel that helps the operator keep it all straight.

After you read all that, read through the
Summary, which ties it all together.
The control panel has a color-coded schematic to help me trace out a route and flip all the switches I need to flip as I take a train around the layout.  The colors are electrical tape I got at a local hardware store.

The blue to the left of center is the
Lower Loop.  The little bit of red and green mixed in with it are the red and green lines. The white lines, and the yellow lines on the left, are the rail yard and other sidings.  That area is powered by the right side control of the large #18B transformer in the middle  On the blue tape just to the left of the transformer is the black rocker switch that takes the lower loop into or out of mainline mode.

The yellow is the yellow downslope and the yellow line from the
Northeast Corner to the Central Exchange.  It is powered by the second transformer from the right (#8B). On the yellow tape between the switch controls, below the transformer, is the red rocker switch that takes the yellow line into or out of mainline mode.

The little blue loop at the right is the
Upper Loop.  It is powered by the transformer on the right (Gilbert #2).  The red rocker switch at the lower left corner of that transformer takes the upper loop  into or out of mainline mode.

The red is the red upslope and downslope between the
Upper Loop and the Central Exchange.

Central Exchange is powered by the left side control of the large #18B transformer in the middle.  It is also that left side that controls trains in mainline mode.

The transformer at the left (#1-1/2) powers most of the
lighting on the layout.  I have connected the lights to the variable post so I can control the brightness of the lights.

The second transformer from the left (#22004) powers the
aircraft beacons, oil derrick, and water tower that do not want to be on variable power like the other lighting.  It also powers the #771 Operating Stockyard and #766 Guilford Station.  My friend Eric Bense suggested putting them on variable power because the full power of 15 volts overdrives their vibrating bases. He was certainly right!

The string of control buttons at the bottom of the picture control the various
Operating Accessories and the uncoupler on each siding.
If you or your friends have some American Flyer trains and would like them to go to a nice home where they'll be loved and cared for, this is the place!  Email me:  See my Wish List for the items I want most.

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