Norbert's American Flyer Trains - Layouts
January 9, 2016
The basic layout consists of two ovals that share one side. The layout is divided into five blocks: One for the shared track, two controlled blocks for stopping a train when the other has control of the shared track, and two main blocks. The layout has a total of four track trips: Two to detect when the trains are about to enter the shared track, and two to detect when the trains have left the shared track. A pair of remote switches is used to connect the two ovals.
I also added a siding to store train cars, but this siding isn't involved with the automatic controls.
Layout in November 2001 before the Christmas Tree was put up.
The Complete Christmas Layout - December 2001
From the picture above, you can see that the control system consists of a number of boxes.
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2001
Layout got a bit bigger this year. The layout featured four trains. The basic controls stayed the same from Christmas 2001.
Layout in December 2002 before the Christmas Tress was put up.
The Christmas 2002 Layout - December 24, 2002
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2002
Layout didn't grow this year. Did enable 3 trains to run at once instead of just 2. Added several action cars, Whistling Billboard, and Crossing Lights.
Layout in December 2003
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2003
New for this year are the green carpet (To protect the new Living Room carpet), Action Cars, Stockcar, and Louie the Loader.
Layout in December 2004 (with tree) and January 2005 (without tree)
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2004
Added wood spacers to the parallel tracks to keep the layout aligned. Log Loader and Water Tank are new this year
Layout in December 2005
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2005
Moved to the dining room because the piano in the living room didn't leave enough room for the train. New this year are the "Cow on Track" and "Mail Car". After the picture was taken, added a handcar converted to DC and automatically controlled to go back and forth.
Layout in December 2006
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2006 same as 2005 except layout 5" wider through insertion of 1/2 straight track in middle of layout.
Moved back to the living room, but this time located the train in the normal spot of the couch. Biggest addition for this year was computer control via a vintage Commodore 64 computer. Built new block controllers and IR track trips.
Layout in December 2007
Track Layout for Christmas 2007 same as 2006. Control System all new.
Layout in December 2008
Track Layout for Christmas 2008, like 2007 but tracks are closer together
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2008
Layout in December 2009
Track Layout for Christmas 2009 same as 2008. Control System slightly modified to include use of DC on inner oval. Also used sensors on entrance switches to detect their direction. These sensors were connected via the IO-Box to the Commodore 64
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2009
Layout in December 2010
Track Layout for Christmas 2010 same as 2009. Initially used the Commodore 64 to control the layout. Switched to using an old laptop running LINUX right after Christmas.
Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2010
Layout in December 2011
Track Layout for Christams 2011 same as 2010. Used the Linux Laptop (with monitor since the display on the laptop is broken) for the control system. Added an Emergency Stop button which is proving very useful. Added AC-DC Reversing. Some new engines for this year -- New Haven EP-5 and a Pacific converted to a Hudson. Other engines converted to AC-DC Reversing. Also added the "Morse Code" car.
Layout in December 2012
Track Layout for Christams 2012 same as 2011. Added additonal "Morse Code" cars and a crane car to the Navy Train. Finally have a complete Exploding Box Car. Added Gabe the Lamp Lighter. More engines converted to AC-DC Reversing. Experimenting with making my own sound cards.
Layout in December 2013
Track Layout for Christams 2013 essentially same as 2012 without the inner most loop. Added a section of track for the hand-car. Converted more engines to AC-DC reversing. Added New Haven Alco.
Daughter off to college. Converted her bedroom into a sewing room, freeing up enough space in the basement for a permaent layout. Started construction of the table.
Only had a Lego Train around the Christmas Tree.
Permament Layout in December 2015
Permanent Layout progressing slowly. Have achieved Initial Operational Capability with the ability to run two trains on a shared block. Used an Arduino to control the layout.
Permanent Layout Drawings
Permament Layout Control Station in December 2015
January 2016: Plexiglass and 3 accessories installed: Floodlight, whistling billboard, and cow-on-track
Permament Layout in January 2016
Permament Layout Control Station in January 2016 (with new chair!)
Return to Norbert's American Flyer Trains
Return to Norbert's Home Page