Norbert's American Flyer Trains - Layouts

January 9, 2016
doerry@aol.com

Christmas 2001

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 without the Christmas Tree -- November 2001
Layout in November 2001 before the Christmas Tree was put up.

Layout with the Christmas Tree -- December 24, 2001
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

Christmas 2002

Layout got a bit bigger this year. The layout featured four trains. The basic controls stayed the same from Christmas 2001.

Layout without the Christmas Tree --
December 2002
Layout in December 2002 before the Christmas Tress was put up.

Christmas 2002 Layout
The Christmas 2002 Layout - December 24, 2002

Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2002

Christmas 2003

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
Layout in December 2003

Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2003

Christmas 2004

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 Layout in January 2005 without Tree
Layout in December 2004 (with tree) and January 2005 (without tree)

Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2004

Christmas 2005

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
Layout in December 2005

Control Block Diagram and Track Layout for Christmas 2005

Christmas 2006

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
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.

Christmas 2007

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
Layout in December 2007

Track Layout for Christmas 2007 same as 2006. Control System all new.

Christmas 2008

Layout in December 2008
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

Christmas 2009

Layout in December 2009
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

Christmas 2010

Layout in December 2010
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

Christmas 2011

Layout in December 2011
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.

Christmas 2012

Layout in December 2012
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.

Christmas 2013

Layout in December 2013
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.

Christmas 2014

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.

Christmas 2015

Permanent Layout in December 2015
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
Permanent Layout Control Station in December 2015
Permament Layout Control Station in December 2015


January 2016: Plexiglass and 3 accessories installed: Floodlight, whistling billboard, and cow-on-track

Permanent Layout in January 2016
Permament Layout in January 2016

Permanent Layout Control Station in January 2016
Permament Layout Control Station in January 2016 (with new chair!)



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