Staging track work up to the lower level

I’ve been working slowly and most of the new staging track and grades are now down and wired in. I hit a problem (literally) with the grades and ended up using loads of staggered strips of card layered on top of each other to increase one grade so it was high enough to pass over the other. It is still really tight (2.5″ clearance above rail) so I haven’t glued any of that track down until I have tested all my locos and rolling stock through it.

My thoughts have now turned to wiring the staging yard…

I am going to uses NCE Switch-8s as accessory decoders but also want to be able to use push buttons on a fascia plate to trigger the turnouts as well as dialling them up on my controller. I’m actually going to be fancier than just throwing turnouts and use routes instead to throw all the turnouts in one go from either a fascia plate button or the throttle. I can do this using an NCE mini panel. So far, so good. The problem has been about what to do with the staging yards. I currently have on/off switches to cut track power – essential with all those locos and coach lighting. I eventually plumped for using relays and diodes (something new for me!) but now am not so sure.

My first plan was to have the main storage tracks’ power on a relay. Using a switch-8, I can send a signal when I set the route so that the accessory decoder sends a signal to power the track. A relay and diode will ensure that the track power turns on. I’m still thinking about how to turn it off! You may be using two tracks at once (one in and one out from the two ends) so you can’t just turn all the other routes off. Ho hum. Still thinking.

Any thoughts on how to turn the power off, whether I should have a separate button to trigger the power on (but switch-8s are latching so they are either thrown or reverse ie on or off in this case). The problem is because I want a panel AND throttle control. I can see ways to do it with a fascia panel only but adding in that throttle option too is difficult…

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