KB229: Running Multiple Layouts On One Command Station

This article was last updated on Oct. 17, 2010, 3:10 p.m. | Print Article | Leave Feedback

I am building a layout that will have two completely separated track plans; not connected with each other by any track. I am running one layout with a Super Chief that has one AR1 reversing controller.  I would like to run the second layout with the same throttle. It will have a reversing loop, as well as a turntable.  I have thought that I could run the second layout with a booster and a couple of AR1s or PM42.

My questions is, will I have any problems with the reversing loops, especially if one on each layout is triggered at nearly the same time?

There are many Digitrax users who run more than one layout with the same equipment.  They generally use a command station on one railroad and boosters on the others with everything connected by LocoNet.  In this configuration the biggest concerns would be to avoid duplicate decoder addresses and to provide enough power to run the equipment.

The operation of AR1s and PM42s is local, which is to say, their operation is not dependent upon the command station.  The AR1 is connected to the reversing section and a segment of main line, and whenever a locomotive crosses the insulated gap of the reversing section, it senses the polarity of the two track sections and coordinates them if they are different.  The command station is not directly involved with this action.

Likewise, the PM42 operates independently from the command station, but has four power management sub-districts, each of which can be set up individually for auto reversing or power management.  As a matter of practicality, since the reversing section is based on a main line and a reversing section, the PM42 can handle two reverse sections and two power management sections.

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