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Should I have a Isolated (non-powered) Track?

Brock asks:

“On my HO scale layout should I have a isolated track to store my locomotives?”

5 Responses to Should I have a Isolated (non-powered) Track?

  • Anthony K Chandlersays:

    I have several tracks in two yards isolated and switched so I can have locomotive resting on them with no power. I can flip the switch and they come to life.

  • Tim Morloksays:

    If you are operating DC locomotives, I would use isolated tracks for storage so that you don’t have them move while operating another unit. Some types of turnout are designed so that power only goes into a track when the points are lined for that track, for others you will need to use an insulated joint or gap to isolate one rail of the storage track and control power to it through a toggle switch. With DCC, each locomotive is controlled independently and you won’t need to isolate them.

  • Frank Bsays:

    As Tim says, if your storage tracks are accessed via turnouts, the turnout itself will normally isolate the track it is not switched to. Most turnouts can automatically operate a microswitch by the moving bar to switch the power from one track to the other. This switch is often built into a turnout motor. Otherwise a length of track can be isolated by an insulating rail joiner in one rail, bridged by a simple on-off switch.

    It is normal for layouts to have a “fiddle yard” for assembling and storing trains before they go out onto the main area. This will resemble a freight yard, having several branching tracks to store resting locomotives and assembled trains.

    Also, an attractive feature on a layout is a roundhouse and turntable to store locos, which will automatically isolate them.

  • David Stokessays:

    Brock, is yours an analog (DC) or DCC layout. If Analog, and you have more than one loco then you will need an isolated track to store the unused loco while running the other. Please get Lynn Westcott’s book “Layout Wiring for model railroads).

    If it is DCC then isolated storage tracks are not necessary.

  • Kevin Chingsays:

    You can if you want use a diode to isolate the track but be aware that if the current is reversed it will liven that track up thats on DC however if using DCC then you wont have to isolate the track

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