Swiss Chris Railways


  My first set was designed to run on 16V AC with the black switch controlling the direction and the red controlling accessory power. This was an interesting system in that if the track was dirty or the pick-up shoes worn, then the loco would auto reverse. With the shoes cleaning the rails, it wasn’t long before I had a train running round the whole circuit. I still have one of these controllers but currently no operating locos to use with it. The Meteor set I had used the direction control switch to operate a horn. Direction changing was done using a rectifier supplied with power from the auxiliary socket. By the early 1960’s I was running Trix DC locos with a Triang mains transformer. I still had working AC locos so 1 pair of the 3 rail system was used for AC, the other pair for DC.


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When I put down my first permanent layout in 1966, the power was aided by Hammett and Morgan Transformers and a half wave rectified controller. This I used up til the mid 1980’s for the narrow gauge railway. The standard gauge was, at that time operated by the first DCC system, the Hornby Zero 1 with 3 slaves attached. As my collection grew to more than 16 locos, the limit for Zero 1 at that time, I returned to DC but with block control. The layout gre more complex, and I ended up with 14 controllers of 1 sort or another. The wiring was horrendous with rotary switches to select which controller for an area. 1 control panel had over 500 soldered joints on it, it was that complex. In 2018, having retired, I invested in a Gaugemaster Prodigy 2 system, which I use for train control. The sections are gradually having the rotary switches removed, and are now being connected to Digikrej and Digitrax Occupancy sensors powered by a Digitrax DCS50 Zephyr with the turnouts and signals running on a separate  bus powered by a Digitrax DCS52 Zephyr Express. The turnouts are controlled by DCC Concepts Dcd-ad8fx decoders while the signals are controlled by NCE light-It Decoders. All systems connected to a PC running JMRI. The accessories are running on a separate system so that when there is a short circuit, the turnout decoders don’t lose the polarity memory.