Betwixt and Between Layout - I have seen the Elephant

Mark Cartwright

Hello all...
I uploaded my Combination Layouts which together I have named the Betwixt And Between for I am also in an attempt to join them, using two Lionel Bascule Bridges, re-detailed to N Scale.
The Twin Bridges I have named the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge, as each one is approximately 23 inches long (and as it is an exit to two layouts which join together)
23 skidoo (sometimes 23 skiddoo) is an American slang phrase popularized during the early 20th century. It generally refers to leaving quickly, being forced to leave quickly by someone else, or taking advantage of a propitious opportunity to leave, that is, "getting [out] while the getting's good."
No, I am not sure how to wire them for DCC...???

Probably two simple Districts, joined at the operating twin Bridges which do lower and raise.

Getting them to line up however...?
Well, I m working on it by adding a second motor/drive gear assembly to each bridge.
The wire for now is 12 Gauge Copper Stranded, twisted by me of two separate wires to match Kato Color Coding.
White with a Blue Spiral / Blue with a White Spiral. 
The Stockton N Articulated Freight and Urban (SNAFU aka SNAP-Fooey) is being constructed with Soldered Kato Unitrack to 30" Long Sections, each section has a soldered in drop down lead to the main buss line.
The Freight Urban Basic Articulated Railway (FUBAR) is beyond the recognition of most N Scalers as for how it only has in it's design two #9 or larger turnouts (Maybe as large as #15's) as its not based on any recognizable layout design... Except in Feet rather than Inches. Instead of a N Scale Layout of 25 x 35 inches, this one is to fit in a space of 25 x 35 feet; where many an O Scaler would set a layout
> . I spent 10 years in an attempt to create a 30/40+ x 50/60+ inch Coffee Table Layout, based on a John Armstrong Design #209
He may have been a hell of an O Scaler but as for N Scale ?
Those things equal to themselves and to each other.... Euclid.
His Layout did NOT work for Passenger Service, even the venerable Con Cor Kato PA-1's.
His Design ? with a lot of tweaking And Re-Design could I get it to work for two axle switchers.
Then I began again and yet again...
Two years ago....I bought yet again another Failed Layout for $300 which had receipts totally over $3000. And in the box....The old N Scale Layout Design book from 1971 with Design #209 clearly dog eared and marked.
Then nearly to that same time....
My last layout would NOT work for Long (Articulated) Steam Locomotives.
So..excuse the Rebellion but these new to me layouts are not based on ....
Recognizable Attributes or Specifications of the many or any Model Railroad Groups, Societies, Associations or Clubs.
They are beyond the recognition and mindset of most model railroaders of today. 
My first successful layout was at the age of 6 years old...Cause I had the help of a Western Pacific Brakeman. My parents, my Father a Longshoreman, also had many friends who were employed by the Southern Pacific or Santa Fe. They would make their Martini's and come down to the basement to watch my Trains Run. This was an HO Scale Layout on a 5x9 Table. After Drinks...they together would lift my Layout to expose the Ping Pong Table below. That layout was moved in 1963, (to a dusty bat ridden garage) and I can't rightfully say I have had a 100% Successful Layout since.
I am no sure...The ESU ECoS is adjustable upwards of 21 volts.
The Distance of the overall track? > Hundreds of feet.
Amperage ?
Again I do not know.
The ESU ECoS as I have come to believe begins at 5 amps but is highly adjustable with boosters and even augmented Other DCC Systems. So a District can be individually powered and Controlled? Again I am not 100% sure
With each Bridge Raised...
Can I control each District (FUBAR/SNAFU) Separately with two separate ESU ECoS Main Controllers or two lesser controllers such as a Dynamis and Navigator and leave overall command to the Color ECoS ?
Though I have Two Digitrax Systems and Two MRC DCC Controllers, I do not plan on using either one. I am also standardizing all my DCC Decoders with a Zero Tolerance Play Well Together (with ECoS) or Get Expelled from School addendum to my layout.
(Yes, I have been a Teacher in these modern days.)
> I no longer care to invite anyone who may have their own MRC or Digitrax Hand Held to my layout.
Instead I will be writing in the controls from he ESU Navigator and Bachmann Dynamis eventually via the ESU Sniffer
I also own two ESU Color and One Black and White.
Using them for now as separate controllers as I construct each layout towards the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge.
When the Twin Bridges are lowered....?
I may not need for them to connect; but rather have the bridge shunted. as a Betwixt and Between in an Active Y circuit.
I may need to refer to my Electrical Engineering friends in Aeronautics for this one.
There are many more ...
Basically articulated but beyond the recognition of most model railroaders concepts/issues withe this combined layout.
However...I have been wanting to run a Cab Forwards on My Layout since 1955, when I was 2 years old.
Yes, I have seen the Elephant.
I am going to recreate that memory in N Scale.
I plan on detailing one of my Nakamura's with not only DCC and Sound but also with smoke and steam; yet successfully run it upon my layout without a 
Glitch, Bitch,  or Ditch...
(I nearly went HO when I bought such a model in BLI - but I don't have the room for an HO Scale Twin Bascule Bridge.)
No Decoder Resets, No stalling or having to crawl upon the table to push my trains along and NEVER have it Derail.
:)) Mark

You are never given a wish without the power to also make it true...You may have to work for it however.
== Book of Illusions/Messiah's Handbook - Richard Bach

PS....Lighted Fire Box too with a light which flickers. I have a reworked Bachmann which has one now.
I am bona fide... I got hit by a train
I don't care for I have seen a Cab Forwards in operation.

Don Vollrath

Are the two bascule bridges joined together when closed at a center pier?  If so that would be an ideal place to use a centering pin on one side and a V shaped mating part on the other to ensure mechanical rail alignment as the bridges close. Make the V shape mechanism alignment adjustable as a precision and tight fitting is required, particularly for N scale.

Either way... If a train is wanted to traverse the boundaries between two supposedly separate layouts without any DCC electrical interference or interruption, both layouts and the bridge tracks themselves between layouts must be running in DCC sync. This means that somehow the DCC control signaling on both layout halves must be the same whenever the bridge(s) are closed. You could use ONE central DCC controller to operate both layout halves. Each layout then simply becomes a separate 'booster district'. No electrical issues at all. You can use relays or switches to temporarily turn DCC power boosters to one layout side or the other OFF when wanted for servicing. Take your pick of controller brands and models.

As discussed earlier if you insist on using two separate DCC controllers, with separate boosters,  it may be possible to use a relay to flip the DCC layout power source to the bridge tracks from one DCC layout side to the other as a loco travels over the bridge. [Requires which-way direction logic info] But remember to coordinate the loco address and speed setting between to the two DCC controllers to prevent loss of loco control. However, all instantaneous settings must be the same on each layout for a smooth transition. A central computer (or a single DCC controller operating both layout sides) can be used to do that. Re-read the simple solution above.

One alternative is to jump to direct radio controls with DCC power on the rails. See RailPro by RingEngineering. These units steal loco operating power from the rails and can be used simultaneously with DCC. However each RailPro loco moving over and between separate DCC layouts is essentially radio controlled by 'their' operating box. Somewhat impressive but of course works with only their equipment. An interesting way to swap cars between layouts. Not sure how to power bridge tracks and not cause interference with DCC power boosters on each end. Re-read the self imposed complications above. Not sure how RailPro receiver/decoders will fit into N scale.

Another alternative would be to skip DCC altogether and use DC. But again the adjustable DC voltage on each side as well as that on the bridge tracks must be the same voltage and polarity for a smooth transition. All of the older DC layout track district/section and controller/throttle issues will still be there. 


Mark Cartwright

On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 01:21 PM, Don Vollrath wrote:
Thank you for responding....

Are the two bascule bridges joined together when closed at a center pier?

No not yet > But I have considered it; as I believe it may have once been a possibility in Northern California due to the way current were on our many inland rivers prior to 1932, when they began in earnest to dig them deeper for Sea Going International Shipping. As I understand mud would swing from one side of a river to the other side...So having a Pier in the middle with two Bascule Bridges to either side...Depending on how the mud moved?
Yes a possibility.
To wit a Swing Bridge was installed by the Central Pacific in Sacramento, as they built up their peer there. The location is very near the California Railroad Museum of Today.
Another possibility and actual probability is to also have a Lionel Swing Bridge on a interchangeable plank which is to swing out of the cabinetry. A variation on the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge.
A railway line is to come off a tall Helix, cross under a stairway and then meet at 23 Skidoo.
Not sure you noticed but the trackage for each layout is basically a simple single oval which with no turnouts. Then the Tracks simply meet over The Bridge with double track and continues to the next single oval.
 The whole array is simply one large circular track.
I am basically in a State of Rebellion over our whole hobby as Toy Like, Blithe and Un-Operational...
Plus, there are moments when I feel either guilty or saddened even anxious that I have purchased so many defunct/Failed layouts. I am determined that this one functions at 100% even without a single Double Crossover.

:)) Mark

Eventually I will do a Bunker/Hitler Parody/Rant about  Specifications and toy trains with plastic wheels.  Everybody who still crawls over the top of their layouts to push their toy trains along...Please leave the Room !
Their model of Germania has always seemed to me to be N or perhaps Z Scale.'

Don Vollrath

If "the trackage for each layout is basically a simple single oval which with no turnouts. Then the Tracks simply meet over The Bridge with double track and continues to the next single oval.  The whole array is simply one large circular track" as you say... It makes more sense than ever to take the simple route of using ONE command station and two separate booster districts, or even a single booster and several circuit breaker power districts. Use twisted pair feeder bus wiring and RC filter/snubbers along the way (every 30 ft or so) to minimize long run issues.

Please keep your not DCC related topic rants to a minimum.

DonV, co-moderator. 

Mark Cartwright

On Mon, Jun 3, 2019 at 02:20 PM, Don Vollrath wrote:
RC filter/snubbers?

Thanks Don...

I have never yet used a RC Filter/snubber
and with a single ECoS eventually taking all over command....?
I am not sure even two districts are necessary but Yes, that is how they will be wired as they meet.
Eventually, I do plan on adding an ESU Booster directly to the primary ECoS Controller.
One to each district ?
I don't know yet.
For now...each ECoS is only controlling the trackage as I move towards the middle or 23 Skidoo Street Bridge. 
However...and let me see if I can explain this without going off the rails...
but I am actually enjoying the use of two ECoS at the same time for a total of 4 Locomotives ON SCREEN at the same time.
When the track is joined....?
I may wish to continue such an array; with the ESU Sniffer.
:)) Mark

But there is something else...
And ah...?
I am not so sure I should even mention it today....but I have been slowing moving at the Gallop of a horse in a Cavalry Charge towards a Clean, Well Lighted and Very Operational Layout.
That is the nice way to put it...
Before I seemingly go off on another rant...this time even against myself....I better shut up for now; but I am also considieing simply eliminating the 23 Skidoo Street Bridge, till I complete the entire loop and have it working 100% BEFORE I begin to allow myself to add any possible trouble spots.