Information for New Members
The CVL (Coastal Valley Lines) is an informal association of novice to
expert model railroaders from around the Sonoma County area. The group
operates its HO modular railroad at public and private events and also
gathers for clinics, work sessions, and regular monthly meetings.
The members all agree to use a set of standards (technical guidelines) for
the construction of their modules. They also follow standards to prepare
their rolling stock (cars and locomotives) before operating them. This
ensures reliable operation which helps up to have fun running trains!
The CVL does not have elected officers, dues, or bylaws because we want to
run trains; not "run and organization" or play politics. Members share the
duties and responsibilities needed to accomplish club activities.
CVL Basic Agreements
To participate in the association, you must agree to:
- Have fun running trains!
- Follow the standards. Variances must be obtained from the membership
at club meetings.
- Assist in either setup or breakdown (both if possible!) of any show or
run that you participate in.
- Take your turn doing some of the assigned tasks during preparation
for and operation at fun and show runs.
- Operate all modules and equipment with care, as though they were your
- Have at least one engine and ten cars which meet standards and which
you bring to be run at club events within a year of joining.
- Allow your modules and equipment (if present at a run) to be run by
all CVL members.
- Be willing to resolve differences by discussion and compromise. Our
prime purpose is to have fun.
If you are under 16 years of age, you must have a sponsor over 21 who
is a member to be with you whenever trains are being run. (A person under
16 can be upgraded to regular member status after recommendation by the
sponsor and a two-thirds vote of the membership at a meeting.)
You do not have to pay dues to be part of the association.
The required locomotive and ten cars (of good quality) can be obtained
for under $120. This includes the cost of adding approved couplers and
otherwise bringing the equipment up to standards.
A 2 foot long module can be built for as little as $30. A module or
module group may be as expensive and extensive as you want, but build only
as much as you yourself can transport.
You may be able to save money by showing your ideas to other CVL members,
as they may have suggestions based on experience save money and assist in
the construction. It is strongly recommended that you do this.
You must have flameproof curtain for the front and back of your modules.
We do bulk purchases of curtain when necessary at a cost of about $3 a
running foot. Your curtain is added to the association's pool when your
module is ready to run.
Some members choose to own the type of throttle that we use to control
trains on the CVL layout. These throttles are not available through hobby
stores, so the CVL members interested in having them occasionally get
together in a work session to make them. They cost about $30 to construct.
Finally, many members buy 2-way FM radios for communication at shows.
These cost from $25 to $60. (GE, Maxon, and Radio Shack offer various
models.) CVL uses Channel "B" (49.845 MHz) as our main channel, but 5-
channel radios are preferred.
Liability insurance for the association is covered from the proceeds of
paid CVL show runs. Additional moneys left over go to buy common equipment,
such as power supplies.
Costs of lodging, food, and transportation to shows would, in most
circumstances, be handled by each individual going to that show.
The Coastal Valley Lines Membership Roster is the CVL record of
the name, address, phone number(s), identifying color code, and the
membership status of both Active Members and Inactive Members.
Active Member, Active Member Status
An Active Member of the CVL is an individual who regularly attends
the monthly membership meetings of the CVL. An Active Member has all voting
rights and privileges. An Active Member may fully participate in any CVL
activity. An Active Member Status is initiated by an individual who
initials (or adds their name to) a membership roster with the intent of
becoming an Active Member or maintaining an already Active Member Status
while attending a monthly membership meeting. Active Member Status begins
(or is renewed) at the next membership meeting and lasts for a period of one
If an individual has not initialed (or added their name to) a membership
roster at least once in 12 consecutive months, then that individual shall be
considered an Inactive Member. Although still listed on the CVL
Membership Roster, an Inactive Member does not have any voting privileges
and may not necessarily participate in all CVL activities, including
membership meetings. Reinstatement to Active Member Status is available to
an Inactive Member by following the procedure stated herein under the
section titled Active Member, Active Member Status.
Removal From the CVL Membership Roster
Inactive Members will be removed from the CVL Membership Roster after
being inactive for a period of one year.
An individual may be removed from the CVL Membership Roster and requested
to not participate in any CVL activities, only at a monthly membership
meeting following a full discussion of such removal and only after a
majority vote for such removal by the Active Members in attendance at the
Guidelines for CVL Operations
Layout Operations Standards
A Fun Run is an assembled CVL layout whose purpose is for all
members of the CVL, and their invited guests, to run their rolling stock and
other equipment on the layout in a "fun and informal" manner. Such runs may
or may not incorporate "work in progress" modules, "trouble shooting"
sessions, testing of new or different control activities, let individuals
test and/or run new or special equipment, incorporate building projects,
include special interest activities, etc.
In general, a Fun Run is a CVL
activity to encourage member participation and Model Railroading activities
in an informal setting.
A Show Run is an assembled CVL layout whose purpose is to present
the modules and equipment of the CVL members in a formal setting. Show Runs
are designed for general public viewing of the layout. CVL often asks for
and receives a fee for setting up a Show Run. A Show Run incorporates only
finished and tested modules in the layout.
Active Members are encouraged to run the layout. Inactive Members and/or guests and/or the general public
are not asked to participate in a Show Run. Only Active Members are
encouraged to display and/or run their rolling stock and other equipment
that has been checked-in, documented, and approved to the CVL standards.
The rolling stock and/or other equipment of Inactive Members, guests, or the
general public is not invited to be displayed or run during a Show Run.
CVL Member Participation
Setting up the CVL modules for a run of any sort is one of the major
activities of the CVL. The setting up, operation, and disassembly of the
layout is basic to a successful run and requires the teamwork of all who
participate. Every participant should, to the best of their ability, help
with the set-up and/or disassembly of the layout of he/she expects to
participate in the operation of the layout. It is expected that every
participant will operate and respect the layout, all rolling stock, and all
equipment as if it were their own.
Operation, Direction, and Control of a CVL Run
All design, coordination, setup, operation, theme, schedule, equipment,
assignment, and take-down decisions are made by the Run Coordinator. The
Run Coordinator is an Active Member of the CVL. The Run Coordinator is
encouraged to have at least one or more Assistant Coordinators to help in
In the event that there is a disagreement in any aspect of a CVL Run by
any participant of the Run, the appropriate course of action is to first
approach the Run Coordinator with the problem. The decision of the Run
Coordinator will prevail the majority of the time. If the Run Coordinator
so chooses, one or more other Active Members, and/or a member of the
Steering Committee may be asked for advice. If the resulting outcome is
still in dispute, then an Active Member (and only an Active Member) may
present a written grievance to a member of the Steering Committee. Then,
and only then, may a decision by a Steering Committee member override a
decision of the Run Coordinator.
- Coordinator: During any organized public show or fun run, this
person is in charge of the overall operation, with emphasis on handling
scheduling of activities, personal needs, security of the layout, public
relations, and everything else necessary to help the members have fun
running their trains.
- Dispatcher: During any organized public show or fun run, this
person is totally in control of, and responsible for operation of trains in
- Tower Operators Persons assigned to specific areas of the
layout, to supervise mainline operations in that area. A Tower Operator may
have throttles and Mainline trackage to operate (Engineer), or may have a
special area, like the wye, or a branchline to keep running smoothly. The
Coordinator designates and numbers Tower locations as required.
- Engineers: Persons in charge of throttles which control
movement of trains on main line tracks. Throttles may control an entire
main line or smaller portions called blocks.
- Yardmasters/Local Operators: Persons in charge of operation of
yards or local areas, other than main line tracks. During operation, these
folks would be referred to by the name of the area they are operating, such
as "Fresno Yardmaster" or "Petaluma Operator."
- Monitors: Persons designated by the Coordinator to patrol
inside and/or outside the layout during public shows. They talk to the
public and protect the layout.
- Sponsors: Persons responsible for supervising, teaching,
assisting, and/or disciplining members under 16 years of age.
Crew Duties and Responsibilities
- The Dispatcher is responsible for the safe movement of trains and all
yard operations. Anyone may be designated as Dispatcher, as long as the
Show or Fun Run participants feel he or she is qualified.
- The Dispatcher has the final word on the makeup of trains, and
controls the movements to and from yards or roundhouses. He or she may
delegate train makeup decisions to designated persons.
- The Dispatcher must check with Tower Operators and get their
agreement if he or she wants to run more than one train per two blocks on a
- Tower Operators must strictly adhere to instructions received from
- Tower Operators must watch for any trains entering the area they
control, since they will not receive verbal notification.
- Tower Operators must promptly notify the Dispatcher of any unsafe
operating conditions, or of any problems with any trains within their
control. They must also notify the Dispatcher of any or potential public
hazards observed on any portion of the layout.
- Engineers must observer the speed of trains within their control.
They must also make any adjustments in throttle setting necessary to
maintain proper distance between the train in the block and preceding or
- Engineers must not stop trains in their blocks with the rear portion
of the trains extending into another block, except in an emergency, in which
case the engineer stopping a train must ensure that the engineer in the
block affected is aware of the stopped train.
- Yardmasters/Local Operators must obey all instructions from the
Dispatcher or Tower Operators regarding the use of main line tracks on their
modules. Under no circumstances will a Yardmaster or Local Operator take
control of a block or throw a turnout on any portion of any mainline track
without the knowledge and permission of the Tower Operator in charge of that
- All crew members shall verify, during a show run, that the last car of all running trains is either a caboose, a passenger tail car or a car with a flashing rear end device (FRED). [This item added 3/1/06]
CVL Radio Operations
- Remember that the best radio is the silent, available radio.
- Radios are only to be used to train operations, emergency situations,
and layout security.
- Only the Coordinator, Dispatcher, Tower Operators, Yardmasters, and
Local Area Operators should use the radio at any organized run, except that
the Coordinator may designate Monitors to use radios for security purposes.
- Radios are not to be used for general conversation, or to convey
information about routine movement of trains to or from any given block;
that is to be left to visual control, or hand signals, as needed.<
- Phrases such as "Shut down mains," etc., must not be used when
problems occur in a particular block. The precise problem must be conveyed
to the Dispatcher, who will instruct the Tower Operators in how to respond
to the situation. This will ensure smooth, controlled response, not a
panicked shutdown of the complete layout.
- Proper format is to first state whom you are calling, then state who
you are. Once you have gotten an acknowledgment that the person you are
calling is ready to receive your message, state it briefly.
"Dispatch, this is Fresno Yardmaster."
"Go ahead, Fresno."
"I request permission to cross the inside main at Fresno."
"You are cleared to cross the main after the SP 5680 freight passes Fresno."
- Individuals own their own radios, but that does not authorize anyone
to use their radios at will at any organized run. Discipline in the
operation of radios is necessary, or else their usefulness is lost. Proper
operation of radios adds to the enjoyment of all concerned and to the
realism of our railroad.
CVL Hand Signals
We use hand signals to assist in the smooth starting, stopping, and
switching of our trains. They are also vital in keeping the radio channels
free of unnecessary traffic.
The hand signals must be made big enough for the engineer who is
operating the train to see clearly. If you are four feet away from the
person at the throttles, small hand motions are fine. If you are 40 feet
away, whole arm motions will be needed, particularly in a busy public show
Forward: Up and down motion. The forward direction is the normal
direction of travel for the mainline you are working on or from.
Reverse: Circular motion, with the circle facing the engineer so
that it is clear that a circular motion is being made. The direction of
rotation does not matter.
Stop: Horizontal back and forth motion, using one or both hands.
Coupling: The hands approach each other, matching the distance
between the couplers that are approaching each other. The hands clasp to
indicate a couple.
Slow: To indicate that a movement should be done slowly, one hand
is moved in the usual pattern for the desired movement, and the other hand
is help spread out flat and stationary above the hand that is making the
Do not be afraid to raise your hands up high to make the signals. The
engineer must see them clearly to move correctly. Try to get eye contact to
ensure that the engineer is ready to act on the signal given.
These suggestions reflect the most common practices on the CVL, and
following them will improve our efficiency and reduce confusion.
Bad Order Procedure
CVL Rolling Stock Standards are intended to
ensure that equipment operating on club layouts will perform adequately
during prototypical train movements. The equipment check-in procedure
provides and initial assessment of each piece of rolling stock AND the
methods the member used to bring that rolling stock up to standard; this Bad
Order procedure will help point out what equipment or members are having
trouble with rolling stock standards past the initial check in.
These procedures should not detract from the fun of running trains. In
implementing these procedures, members should temper rigid enforcement of
rolling stock standards with consideration for the operational requirements
of the layout coordinator and the individual preferences of out fellow
Over time, the log itself will point out where problems are concentrated,
whether an individual's equipment, or with certain types of failures among
everyone's equipment, so these problems can be fixed.
- For each layout, the Coordinator shall designate a safe location for
the Bad Order box and log. The Coordinator may delegate these tasks to an
assistant. The log uses the attached form; blank forms are kept in the CVL
- Normally, equipment would only be removed from the layout by request
of the coordinator or dispatcher. (Owners should inform the Dispatcher when
they are pulling any of their own equipment.)
- When a malfunction interferes with operation, the member observing
this should try to determine the cause; the Bad Order procedure is to be
used when the problem is cause by rolling stock. (In the case of a
trackwork or electrical problem, inform the Run Coordinator.)
- If you are the problem finder, tag the offending equipment with a
white string tag; check the Bad Order Log for the next number in the
sequence and write it on the tag along with a short description of the
problem. The Bad Order Log will be on a clipboard or holder by the Bad
Order Box; check with the Show or Run Coordinator if the log or box is not
to be found.
- Place the tagged piece of equipment in the Bad Order Box.
- Fill in the full entry on the log for that order number. (Fill in
ALL the columns up to FIX ONLY.) If the cause of the problem is unknown, at
least indicate the observed symptoms.
- Put your initials in the "fix only" box if:
- The cause of the problem is due to wear and tear, or damage from an
accident. This means the equipment only needs fixing for that problem, and
does not have to be re-checked in.
- The cause is unknown, and the equipment appears to be fine after a
- When owners pick up their bad ordered equipment, the should read the
log to see what happened. If they do not understand the problem
description, they should go to the problem finder for more information.
- The owner repairs the problem, and also goes over the equipment to
ensure it still meets standards. The number tag should be kept on or with
the equipment until sign-off.
- If the "fix only" box was initialed, the owner signs the Bad Order
Log on the "sign-off" box for that order, and returns that piece of
equipment to service.
- If the "fix only" box was not initialed, the owner must get the unit
checked in again as if it were new, and the person passing the equipment
signs the "sign-off" box for that order.
- A volunteer "Bad Order Coordinator" will survey the log and report at
the monthly meeting on outstanding orders, equipment that was returned to
the layout without being repaired, and any trends showing up in the log.
The standard CVL throttle is designed around a voltage regulator. The
output of this throttle provides a "clean" DC voltage regardless of the
current draw. This type of throttle is better for locomotives with can
motors such as Kato or Atlas. The throttle is self-limiting and will shut
itself down under conditions such as electrical shorts. The throttle will
come back on when it has cooled down.
Rotate the knob to control the locomotive speed. Full counter-clockwise
is the minimum speed setting. At this setting there is still a 1.3 volt
output from the throttle. Locomotives such as Kato or Atlas will creep at
minimum speed. The directional control must be in the "center off" (see
below) position when the locomotive is to be stopped. The position of the
speed control is usually expressed in terms of clock position. For example,
when the line on the throttle knob is straight up, the throttle is said to
be set to "twelve o' clock." The speed control might need adjusting as
different makes of locomotives travel through the block in order to keep the
trains running at a constant speed.
This toggle switch controls the direction that locomotives will travel.
The switch has a "center off" position to disconnect the throttle power to
the track. Except in an emergency, only move this switch when the train is
The intensity of this light indicates the output current of the throttle.
It is an aid to troubleshooting as in the case when the track is shorted and
the light dims.
This dispenses the heat of the throttle's voltage regulator. It can
become quite warm when running locomotives at low speed or when the throttle
is shorted out.
Rolling Stock Standards.
- GENERAL RULES
- All rolling stock wheels must be metal wheels. For cars that were previously checked in with plastic wheels, they must be converted to metal wheels no later than November 30, 2012.
- Equipment shall have clean wheels.
- Wheels must conform to NMRA Standards when checked
against a NMRA Mk III or IV Standards gauge.
- Shall be Kadee MKD type, mounted at Kadee's
specified height, plus or minus .010".
- Shall have freely working centering springs.
- Glad hands will clear a Kadee 205 coupler gauge and
operate correctly over a Kadee magnetic uncoupling ramp.
- Shall be free of flash.
- Working front couplers are optional on steam road
- All equipment running at public shows must be lettered,
numbered and painted, or must represent unlettered or
- ROLLING STOCK
- All general rules (see above) apply to rolling stock.
- Cars shall be weighted as per NMRA Recommended Practice #20.1 :
Rolling stock weights must be within 1/2 oz. of spec.
|| 6.5 OZ
||- - - -
||- - - -
- Weights shall be firmly secured to the car.
- Unusual cars which cannot be weighted to standard
will, upon meeting all other standards, be allowed
to operate on the layout per rules II.B.3,4, & 5
- Underweight rolling stock shall run at the rear of
the train. Overweight rolling stock shall run at
the head of the train.
- Overweight cars will have one air hose painted
- Underweight cars will have one air hose painted
- Trucks must rotate freely, must be able to negotiate a
#4 switch without binding or derailment, and must have a
slight lateral rock.
- Rolling stock must be able to roll unassisted down a 3%
- The owner's color code markings shall be on the frame or
undercarriage of all rolling stock.
- MOTIVE POWER
- All preceding rules, i.e. General Rules and
Rolling Stock, apply to motive power, except
that overweight powered or dummy locomotives are acceptable.
- All preceding rules, i.e. General Rules and
Rolling Stock, apply to tenders, except that
overweight tenders are acceptable.
- Motive power shall meet the NMRA Electrical standards.
- Motive power with 'Ernst' or any other gearing, producing
similar speeds, shall have both air hoses painted silver.
- UNIT TRAINS
- Unit trains, for the purpose of this standard, shall
be trains intended to be a permanent group. This
does not include general revenue freight cars.
- If a unit train cannot be made to conform to
standards, it can still be run on the main line, so
long as it can operate consistently on the main
line, and has Kadee couplers at the head and tail
ends which conform to standards.
- CHECK-IN PROCEDURES
- All rolling stock shall be checked in for club approval
by club members other than the owner.
- All rolling stock will be logged in on a standard club
form, which is retained by the equipment's owner.
Module Construction Standards
Construction and Assembly
- Modules shall consist of a butted grid of 1x4 wood with a 1/2"
plywood top. All construction shall be screwed and glued
- Size: Width 24" to 30", length 2', 4' or 6', height when
erected: 40" to the top of the mainline roadbed.
- Modules shall be constructed so that the front edges of all
modules are in line.
- Legs shall be made from 2x2 lumber 38 1/2" long. (See figure
3.) Legs are bolted to the sides of the module with 1/4-20 x 2
1/2" carriage bolts, 1/4-20 wing nuts and 1/4" fender washers.
For height adjustments, 1/4-20 x 2 1/2" hex head bolts in 1/4-20
'Tee-nuts' shall be installed in the bottom of each leg. (See
figure 3.) The Tee nuts shall be cemented into the legs to
prevent their loss.
- Modules are clamped together with adjoining modules by the
use of two 2" size 'C' clamps at each interface.
Standard Rectangular Module Materials
- Plywood for tops. 1/2" A-C grade exterior plywood, smooth
side on top.
- Side rail for 4' module frame. Standard 1x4 by 4', wood to be
straight, free of loose knots, and containing no knots greater
than 3/4" in diameter.
- Cross rail for module frames. Standard 1x4 with length as
needed to fit flush between side rails.
- Glue blocks for rectangular frames. Standard 2x2, 3 1/2" long.
- Glue blocks for corner module frames. Standard 2x4 cut at
45ø along the length into equal pieces. These pieces are to be
3 1/2" long.
- Legs for modules. Standard 2x2 38 1/2" long, ends to be
prepared as per Figure 3 of the Module Construction Standard.
- #6 x 1 1/2" flathead phillips wood screw for screwing
together top and framework.
- 1/4-20 x 2 1/2" carriage bolts. 8 needed.
- 1/4" fender washers. 8 needed.
- 1/4-20 wing nuts. 8 needed.
- 1/4-20 Tee nuts. 4 needed.
- 1/4-20 x 2 1/2" hex head machine bolts. 4 needed.
- White glue or carpenter's glue for joining wood.
- Paint--dark brown waterbase latex to protect wood and improve
appearance. Paint module top, sides and legs.
Figure 1 - Standard 4' Module
This what a standard module looks like in its most basic form. It has a
1/2" plywood and a standard 1x4 framework, glued and screwed together as
shown. The legs are attached with wing nuts, so no tools are needed for
setup. The module can be either 2' or 2'-6" wide and is 40" from floor to
the top of the roadbed.
The module has proven to have good stability once assembled with other
modules in a layout. No further bracing is desired. (You may want to add
cross bracing when using it by itself at home.) It is light, strong, durable,
simple to assemble and level, and it forms a stable foundation for your
trackwork and scenery.
Figure 2 - Framework
All numbers refer to the above materials list.
Standard 4' Module
Standard 6' Module
Figure 3a - Fasteners and Legs
All numbers refer to the above materials list.
- These 1 1/2" x 1 1/2" corner reinforcing blocks are screwed and glued
- These are the minimum and maximum standard widths. Narrower modules
don't allow for enough scenery. Wider modules are difficult to handle and are
hard to lean across to fix derailments.
- Modules wider than 24" shall have extra crosspieces, shown by dotted
lines. Rule of thumb - 1/2" plywood should not span more than 24" in more
than one direction.
- Screw heads must be flush or slightly countersunk so that they do not
prevent modules from being clamped together tightly.
Figure 3b - Fasteners and legs
All numbers refer to the above materials list.
Side and front views
Front view of module with leg
- The leg top is not long enough to touch the module top. The
weight of the module is supported by the side rails, which rest on the step
cut into the legs.
- The Tee nut goes into a 5/16" hole which is of 2 1/2" minimum depth.
All chips and dust must be removed from the hole before installing the Tee
nut. Glue the Tee nut in place to prevent its loss.
- The wood screws are offset 1/4" vertically, so that they do not hit
each other in the glue block.
- The mating face shall be square with the plywood top to prevent
gaps, dips, and bowing when modules are clamped together.
- Corner modules shall be constructed as shown in figure 6.
Curves on corner modules shall be constructed as shown in figure
- Corner modules with curves of greater radius are permissible.
These modules or module groups must be the equivalent of a square
with sides that are a multiple of two feet, at the point where
the module or module group mates to the adjacent modules. For
example, the standard corner module is the equivalent of a four
Figure 6 - Corner Module Frame Specifications
The basic corner module is 1/2" plywood attached to 1x4" framework, as with
regular modules. Widths and lengths of mating faces can very between the
limits shown. Legs are attached as with standard modules, at the noted
- The front edge is 33" long, 32 1/2" with an outside passing track.
- The rear edge is 32" long, 25 1/2" if the 30" width is used.
- Corner braces are 2x2" blocks, 3 1/2" long.
- All frame members are standard 1x4", lengths as required.
- Locations of leg attachments.
Figure 7 - Corner module track specifications
Sample 4' square corner module
- The light line shows a greater width module (25" instead of 24") which
is to be used whenever the outside passing track is to be applied.
- These small section os straight track just after the spanner tracks
produce needed spacing between curves and help prevent kinks between the
spanners and the module's trackage.
- The inside and outside passing tracks are optional.
- These are the standard spanner track gaps.
MAINLINE AND PASSING TRACK SPECIFICATIONS
- All modules shall have inside and outside mainlines. Passing
tracks and any other trackage is optional.
- These tracks shall run level through the module.
- The track spacing and alignment at the end of the module or
module group shall be as follows: (See Figure 4 and Figure 5,
- Outside passing - 2 1/2" on center from the front edge.
- Outside mainline - 4 1/2" on center from the front edge.
- Inside mainline - 6 1/2" on center from the front edge.
- Inside passing #1- 8 1/2" on center from the front edge.
- Inside passing #2- 10 1/2" on center from the front edge.
- All of these tracks shall end 4 17/32" short of each end
of the module or module group, so as to allow a 9" piece
of track to span between modules. This spanner helps to
accommodate any variations in height and spacing.
- These tracks may curve, using the following guidelines:
- They may not cross each other.
- Minimum radius of curvature is 60". Easements are optional.
(Exception: corner modules have their own
- Minimum center-to-center spacing on these tracks on
curves is to be 2 1/8". (Exception: corner modules
have their own standards.) (See Figure 5, item B.)
- These tracks may be no less than 2 1/2" from the center
of the track to the nearest module edge. (See figure 5, item C.)
- Within a module group, spanners may cross module gaps at
angles, but must still be centered. (See figure 5, item D.)
- These tracks need not be parallel. (See figure 6, item E.)
- If there are curves of opposite direction in a module,
or group of modules, a section of straight track at least one
foot long shall separate the curves. A spanner track may form
part of this "S-curve preventer." (See figure 6, item F.)
- All tracks shall run straight for 6" from the module mating
face. (See figure 5, item G.)
- Roadbed may be between 3/16" and 1/4" in thickness. The
material used may be cork, wood, homasote or other suitable
- All mainline and outside passing track trackage shall be code
100 nickel-silver. Mainline spanner tracks shall be code
- Ballast shall be Woodland Scenics Fine Brown, #B-72.
- Crossovers between mainline tracks, turnouts which end or
begin an outside passing track, and crossovers between outside
mainline and the outside passing track shall have a minimum frog
# of 6.
- Tunnels and bridges shall not be closer than 6" to either end
of the module, and if tunnels are longer than 18", direct access
to tracks inside the tunnel shall be provided.
- Spanner tracks shall be standard Atlas 9" straight track
sections. These sections are to be modified on one end so that
rail joiners may be slid back all the way on the rail to
facilitate installation of the spanner track. It is recommended
that spanners be weathered and ballasted to match the tracks they
will go next to.
Figure 4 - Mainline Track Work and Roadbed
Figure 5 - Mainline and Passing Tracks
Sample 18' module group and sample 4' module
- A one foot "S-curve preventer" must separate any curves of opposite
- The minimum center-to-center spacing of tracks on curves is 2 1/2".
- Tracks may be no less than 2 1/2" from the edges of the modules.
- Spanners must be centered but may cross gaps in a module group at an
- All modules shall have inside and outside mainlines.
Note: The large radius used ensures that long trains run smoothly
and do not have to contend with much more curve induced drag than the regular
corner modules already cause. Due to this large radius, a 4' or 6' module
will only be able to shift its mainlines over about 3/4" or 3" respectively.
- Track Feedlines
- Track power is carried under modules using 18 gauge (or
heavier) two-conductor brown lamp cord, type SPT only. Accept no
substitutes for this type. These cords shall be called
- Track feedlines shall be firmly attached to the under surface
of each module, and shall have at least one connection from the
feed line to its track on the module. This connection is called a
drop wire, and is to be no smaller than 24 gauge. The length of
drop wires is to kept to a minimum. The feed line ends shall be
able to extend one foot past the end of the module. Feedlines
shall pass through, not under, any crossmembers under a module.
- If an outside passing track passes through, or begins or ends
on a module, a feed line for that track shall be installed. The
feed line shall be double-ended if the outside passing track goes
through the module. Otherwise, it shall be single-ended.
- The plugs used to interconnect mainline and outside
passing track feedlines are TRW-Cinch #P306-CCT (Male) and
#S306-CCT (Female) or other manufacturer's equivalents.
- Local control of mainlines must be approved by asking for a
variance at a club meeting.
- A method of securing the ends of the feedlines under the
modules for transport shall be provided (Safety cup hook,
Velcro, string, ties, etc.).
- Power Supply Feed Lines
- Layout power is carried under modules using 16 gauge (or
heavier) two-conductor white lamp cord, Type SPT only. Accept no
substitutes for this type. The ribbed conductor shall go to pin
1 of the connectors.
- The feedline ends shall be able to extend 12" past the end of
- The plugs used to interconnect module power supply feedlines
are TRW-Cinch #P302-CCT (Male) and #S302-CCT (Female) or other
- All taps off this feed line for power to wiring on modules
shall be fused.
- Electrical Connections
- All electrical connections shall be soldered and taped or
otherwise insulated. Terminal strips of the barrier type may be
used in place of soldered connections.
Figure 1 - Basic Wiring
- Drop wires connecting rails mainline tracks to
feedlines. Rail closer to the front of the module is connected
to the ribbed wire of the feed line cord. Use 22 or 24 gauge wire
- Drop wires are soldered directly to the side of the rails.
- Solder and insulate connections between drops and feedlines.
- Use 18 gauge brown lamp cord for mainline feedlines.
- Male 6-pin connector on left side looking at the front of the
module. Pin 1 is the rail on outside passing track (if used) closest to
module edge. Pin 2 is the inside rail of the outside passing track. Pin
3 is the outside rail of the outside mainline, and so forth.
- Female 6-pin wired as above.
- Use 16 gauge white lamp cord for main power cord.
- Male 2-pin connector on left side when facing the front of the
module. Pin 1 is connected to the ribbed wire of the cord.
- Female 2-pin connector wired as above.
- Allow for one foot of slack past the ends of the module. Use
Velcro or other means to secure the ends during transport.
- Staples hold the wires to the bottom of the module.
- Standard Throttles
- Throttles are used for control of the mainlines and local
control of trains on member's modules. The throttles are
designed around the LM317 voltage regulator, and must have a
direction switch with a center-off position. These throttles draw power
from the power supply feed line. The plug on the throttle is to be a
TRW-Cinch #P304-CCT (Male) or other manufacturer's equivalent.
- Sockets on modules or control panels for throttles are to be
TRW-Cinch #S304-AB (Female) or other manufacturer's equivalent.
- Pins 1 & 3 of the throttle sockets and plugs are DC output from
throttle. Pins 2 & 4 are power from the power supply feed line to the
- Non-Standard Throttles
- If you must use a 115V AC powered throttle pack, its output
(track voltage) is connected to pins 1 & 3 of the plug which will
go into the corresponding 4-pin socket on the layout. No
connections are made to pins 2 & 4 of the plug.
- Throttle Feeds
- Mainline throttles connect to the mainlines via a throttle
feed fixture (spider). The spider has 2 and 6 pin male and
female TRW-Cinch connectors to allow it to connect into the
mainline and power supply feedlines, and also 4-pin sockets for
the mainline throttles to plug into. See Figure 2 for
construction of the spiders.
Figure 2 - Throttle Feed Fixture (Spider)
- 6-pin Cinch P306-CCT (male). Rear view shown.
- 6-pin Cinch S306-CCT (female). Rear view shown.
- 4-pin Cinch S304-CCT (female). Rear view shown.
- 2-pin Cinch P302-CCT (male). Rear view shown.
- 2-pin Cinch S302-CCT (female). Rear view shown.
- All track feedlines are 18 gauge brown lamp cord. Power supply is 16
gauge white lamp cord.
- All control panel switches shall be clearly labeled as to
function, and if appropriate, positions.
- No control panel switch settings shall allow power from a
module's local throttle to feed back into any outside passing or
mainline track feed line.
- No control panel switch settings shall allow power from one
main line feed line to be connected to another main line's
- Refer to figures 3 and 4 for recommended practices for control
panel wiring and construction.
Figure 3 - Control Panel and Module Wiring
- The master switch is a double pole, double throw, center off switch.
The one depicted allows the module to be run from the throttle or "slaved"
off of the inside mainline power.
- Socket for throttle, 4-pin Cinch S304-AB (female).
- Block switches are double pole, double throw.
- All connections to the power feed line must be fused.
Figure 4 - Sample Control Panel Layout
- The master switch is a double pole, double throw, center off toggle
switch. The illustrated configuration allows the module to be run from the
throttle or "slaved" to the inside mainline power.
- Socket for throttle, 4-pin Cinch S304-AB (female).
- Track insulating gaps should be shown on the control panel diagram.
- Block switches are double pole, double throw toggle switches.
- Turnout controls should be located on the control panel diagram in the
location of the turnout.
- Modules which begin an outside passing track, or which have a
crossover between the outside main and the outside passing track
shall have a switch to control the outside passing track. This
switch is to be mounted on the edge of the module opposite to
the mainlines, directly across from the start of the section of
passing track which that switch controls. Please see Figure 5.
- Outside passing tracks are to be wired and gapped as
indicated in Figures 5 and 6.
- If an inside passing track comes to either end of a
module, an interconnect wire is to be attached to the rails just
before they stop at the end of the module or module group.
- Inside passing tracks are to be wired and gapped as indicated
in Figure 7.
Figure 5a - Outside Passing Track (top view)
Figure 5b - Outside Passing Track (rear view)
- Gaps in rails to divide tracks into electrical blocks.
- Optional continuation of passing tracks.
- Switches are mounted on plates attached to the inside face of the
1x4" frame member on the rear of the module. This prevents damage when
transporting the module.
Figure 6 - Outside Passing Track Wiring
- Outside passing track feedline.
- "Drop wire" connecting track to feedlines. Drop wires should be kept
to a minimum length.
- Outside mainline feed line.
- Gaps in both rails for insulation.
- All wiring to be brown 18 gauge SPT wire except drop wires, which are
22 or 24 gauge
- Double pole, single throw switch controlling power to outside passing
track. Outside passing tracks will always have a double pole, single throw
switch at their beginning.
- Double pole, double throw, center off switches controlling power to
outside passing tracks. These switches allow the passing track to be run off
the mainline current, the current from the preceding passing track section,
or shut off.
- 6-pin connector at the ends of modules to carry current for the
outside passing track, outside mainline, and inside mainline.
Figure 7 - Inside Passing Track Wiring
- Inside passing tracks are optional.
- The connector is a 4-pin Cinch P304-CCT (male).
- The connector is a 4-pin Cinch S304-CCT (female).
Other Electrical Standards
- RAIL ELECTRICAL GAPS
- Insulating material shall be used to fill rail gaps. No air
gaps are allowed.
- LOCAL CONTROL
- If local control of mainline tracks or outside passing tracks
is desired, and is authorized by vote of the members at a regular
meeting, the section under local control shall be insulated at
both ends with gaps in both rails. When such local control is
being used, a flashing red light shall be clearly visible on the
control panel involved.
- SPANNER TRACKS
- No sections of mainline or outside passing track shall depend on
power being fed through a spanner track.