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For those of you that have staging yards, do you install switches that allow you to turn the power to each track on/off? If you have a lot of engines just sitting in staging, why have them pulling power while parked?
I really don't want to do this due to the additional wiring complexity, but wondering what the opinions are out there as to whether it is worth the effort.
FYI I'll have two staging yards, each with 8 tracks, and each yard will be on its own circuit protection so if there is a short in the yard, the rest of the layout is protected. The tracks will also be detected using Digitrax components (BD4's and/or BDL168).
Most of the modelers in my area who have staging yards that hold trains with power on them have the ability to switch off the staging tracks, remember you only really have to switch one wire (SPST). Many use light switches. They are relatively cheap and you can buy ganged switch boxes to hold them.
I'm currently building the El Paso Staging Yard/Return Loop my SP Lorsdburg Sub and it will have auto-power off functionality for each of the seven tracks. My layout will also include an identical (Colton, CA) Staging Yard/Return Loop at the other end and it will have the same auto-power off functionality. You can see a picture of my control panel on page -10- of my blog (see link below).
The big reason for my doing so is not due to power consumption, but instead to prevent the cacophony of sounds simultaneously emanating from locomotives sitting on those track: blow-downs from steam engines, air tank blow-offs, diesel engine panting, steam engine chuffing, etc.
I've operated on large layouts that had this same auto-off functionality for trains parked in hidden staging and it's really nice because on a large layout, the sound from just the locos in use can almost be a bit over-whelming.
This article first appeared on model-railroad-hobbyist.com
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