Four Blocks For More Mainline Action

From: Joe Muskin

Bend Track modular layouts, when compared to traditional modular systems, are uniquely suited for block control of the main lines. On one main line, four separate blocks can be created at the junction of any two modules. This allows four separate throttles controlling the four blocks of one main line to be located the same place, allowing one user to control the entire main and the trains on it. Four blocks facilitate the usage of at least two trains running on the same main quite well. It is easy to keep two trains in a separate block when there are four blocks to work with. Most of the time, there will even be an unoccupied block between the trains. However, ambitious individuals I have known have managed to run three and sometimes even four well running trains on these four blocks.

To accomplish the division of one main line into four blocks, it is best to try to locate the four throttles at roughly the center of the length of modules. Doing this, you will get the four blocks to be roughly the same length. This makes it easier to keep the trains in separate blocks. If the layout does not have any "T" or other branching modules, then it is really only one long string of modules. The center will be the junction of two modules where you have roughly the same length of modules in each direction to the balloons at the ends. If you have a branching module, chances are the best place to locate the four power packs will be at the junction of that module and one other. The only time this would not be the case is if one leg was longer then the other two combined or if you had more then one branching module.

After you have decided on the location of the four throttles (which will form the near point of each of the four blocks), you need to decide on the far points of each of the four blocks. Unlike the near points which were breaks on both sides of the same module junction, the far points will be a break on only one side of a module junction. If the setup does not have any branching modules, the best place to locate these would be at one end of each of the two balloons. If there is one branching module, the far points would likely be at one end of the balloon farthest from the selected near point, and at one of the other two junctions of the branching module. See figure 1 and 2.

At the near points of the blocks, put plastic track insulators on one end of the joiner track. The other end retains the metal rail joiners. Do this for the mainline track you are dividing on both sides of the joint. Disconnect the Cinch-Jones plugs of the two modules that form the location of the near point and connect. Again do this for both sides of the module joint. To each of the now four unplugged Cinch-Jones connectors (one connection will make two unplugged ends), connect the power from one throttle. Each Cinch-Jones plug will now have a different throttle connected to it. See figure 3.

At the far points of the blocks, insulate one end of the joiner track and break the Cinch-Jones connection underneath. See figure 4. This is done at only one end of the joint, not both as it was with the near point.

You now have four blocks and are ready to run multiple trains on the same main line. If you do this to both main lines, creating 4 blocks for main 1 and four blocks for main 2, you can easily get four trains out running around the layout and really impress the folks at a show.



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