Video 667: 3-train, 3-rail Insulated-Rail O-Gauge Automatic Control System Uses No Relays

This page started 8/2018, updated 8/26/2018
  • Video: or

    • There is also a short “Part 2”, a 37-second-long video clip that shows a point-to-point single track, with reverse loops on each end. Using insulated rail sections in the reverse loop at each end, they run 3 locos on the track:
    • There’s a “Part 3”, a 43-second-long video clip uploaded by Paul Boston, that shows the same reverse loops system as Part 2, but shows more of the layout:
  • The below images are from the video “aco667: Talley Ober’s 3-train, 3-rail Insulated-Rail O-Gauge Automatic Control System Uses No Relays”.
  • Note there are LINKS to a few RELATED videos & articles at the BOTTOM of this page.

Note: CLICK ON any of the below images, to open them LARGER.

Image 1 – Layout Photo

Image 2 – Track Plan Sketch

Image 3 – Sequence Diagram

=== Joseph Rampolla Drawings ===
(notes added)

Image 4 – Control Block and Stop Block

Image 5 – Control Block

Image 6 – Stop Block

Other Talley Ober/Eagle Line Railroad Videos

  • Eagle line Railroad by ‘Daniel Burris’ (Dec 8, 2017)  This shows views of Talley’s HUGH permanent layout at home in Ridgely MD (sometimes open for Xmas open houses)
  • Talley Ober’s Layout by ‘LionelCollectors’ (Dec 19, 2017)  “Get to know Talley Ober, his son, and their train layout.”
  • You can search Youtube for “Talley Ober” and “Eagle Line Railroad” to find additional videos.

Related “Insulated Rail” Automatic Control Videos & Articles:

  1. Video: “Insulated Rail Control of Lionel Handcars” (2:26 min).  This is Joseph Rampolla’s video, that has the above 3 images.
  2. Video: Pine Summit RR:  From about 4:40 min. to the 8:15 min. point in the video — the layout owner Rob Mueller, explains how the “1-Wire, No-Relays Block” works for controlling 2 trains on his loop.  This link  will start you at 4:35 min point.
  3. Video: “Automated Start Stop Block Control” (1:23 min) by Steve Eastman.  This shows 2 trolleys, being controlled by the insulated-rail method.
  4. Video: “Auto Stop Trolly Layout” (0:34 min) by Steve Eastman.  This shows 3 trolleys being controlled.  (Note there’s a red, white, & yellow trolley on that loop).
  5. Video: “Block Control.wmv”/”Installing and using blocks on 3-rail model train layouts“(6:08 min) by Lionel.  They talk about insulating outside rails, and also about insulating the center rail.
    * For our AutoControls Video #667, the center rail is “undisturbed”, so we’re interested in this video only up to about 1:41 where he starts talking about insulating the center rail.
  6. Video: Insulated Outside Rail Accessory Activation (9:51 min) by Lionel.  View from 0:24 min to 2:47, then from 6:20 to 9:51 (end).  You can IGNORE his comments about using an accessory transformer for our purposes, because this would NOT work for controlling a ‘Stop Block’.
  7. Video: “Make insulated track sections” (4:49 min) by Classic Toy Trains shows how to convert a piece of normal 3-rail track, to a section with an isolated outside rail.
  8. Video: “Make your own Fastrack activation track section” (5:22 min) by Dave Baran.  He shows how to isolate an outside rail on a piece of Fastrack.
    ==== Related Articles ====
  9. “Blocks” by Lionel Trains, at
  10. “Running 2 trains on the same track at the same time?” in Classic Toy Trains forum, at
  11. “running two trains on same track” in O-Gauge Railroading Forum, at
  12. There is an O Gauge RR Forum thread for this video at:
    ==== Similar Control Systems (but NOT pure “insulated-rail control”) ====
  13. Video: “homemade signal fun” (2:26 min).  This is another Joseph Rampolla video with 2 handcars.  Note he is using 2 reed switches and a relay in this video, and NOT the insulated rail method.  Joe’s web page at has more info on this system.
    * Note, that this reed switch/relay system gives MORE PRECISE control, but is more wiring than the insulated-rail method.
  14. Video: “Marx Block Control Twin Train Sets” (3:48 min) by Steve Eastman.  This boxed Marx set has a signal, which probably acts as sort of a relay.
  15. Video: “Marx Trains Start Stop Trolley at TTOS SP, 2-22-2015” (0:42 min) by Steve Eastman.  I think he’s using that same signal seen in the previous video for control.