Standard Practices

Last Updated: March 26th, 2012

Emphasis on Group Operations

CenterTrak has an emphasis on group operations using a dispatcher to direct train movement. For this purpose the majority of modules shall be single track modules with passing sidings placed approximately every 30 feet. If you wish to build a double track module you must understand that your module will primarily be used as part of a passing siding. Transition modules (single to double track) will be needed to set up these sidings.

CenterTrak Practices

These practices are recommended additions to the Free-mo standards for all modules built for use in CenterTrak setups. If at any time any specification below would yield a module that would not allow it to connect to other Free-mo modules, the specification on this site would be void. Any module that adheres to the Free-Mo standards will be allowed in setups, however, priority will be given to modules following the practices outlined below.

  • CP-1. Module Types. CenterTrak modules may be any of the following types, and multi-module scenes may incorporate 2 or more types. Note: Main line and double (siding) modules are through track only, no turnouts. Follow Industry module specifications for modules with car spot locations.
    • CP-1.1. Main Line Module. Single track module with mainline centered on a 24 inch wide module. This is a standard Free-mo single-track module with no diverging routes.
    • CP-1.2. Siding Module. Double track module to be used to construct sidings, 26 inches wide, with parallel track one inch on either side of the module center line, or 12 and 14 inches as measured from either long side of the module. This is a standard Free-mo double-track double with no diverging routes.
    • CP-1.3. Transition Module. Transition from single to double track. 24 inches wide at single track end and 26 inches wide on double track end. A number 10 turnout is required for the transition in the mainline(s). It is recommended to use a standard type switch, not a wye switch on these modules.
    • CP-1.4. Industry. Single or Double track module with one or more industries. Minimum number 6 switch leading to industry tracks unless mainline uses diverging route where a number 10 is required. Industry track should end no less than 2 inches from the module end-plates.
    • CP-1.5. Industrial Park. Double track module with additional through track spaced 2 and one half inches from each mainline track. Through track shall be Code 83 track placed on 1/8 inch foam or cork roadbed. Connections to mainline (optional) and any turnout where the through route uses the diverging route, must utilize number 10 turnouts. Minimum number 6 turnout to industry tracks. No industry tracks may intersect the mainline on these modules.
    • CP-1.6. Branch Line Module. Single track only module. Minimum number 6 turnout to industry tracks and number 8 turnout where mainline uses diverging route. Minimum 36 inch radius curves.
    • CP-1.7. Yard Module. Module with multiple yard tracks. Must include one arrival/departure track and should include an engine escape from yard tracks. Ends of yard modules should be double track (26 inch wide) and follow standard double track specifications on connecting ends.
  • CP-2. Car Spotting.The car spotting requirements will help improve the operations during shows and meets. These are a minimum per module type.
    • CP-2.1. Main Line Module: No car spots
    • CP-2.2. Double (siding) Module: No car spots
    • CP-2.3. Transition Module: No minimum spots, maximum 6 car spots
    • CP-2.4. Industry: 5 car spots
    • CP-2.5. Industrial Park: Unlimited spots, within reason for length of module.
    • CP-2.6. Branch Line Module: 3 car spots
    • CP-2.7. Yard Module: 4 car spots
  • CP-3. Throttle Jacks. All throttle jacks will be Digitrax UP-5 connectors. Equivalent types are not acceptable for CenterTrak modules and may no be allowed in group only setups.
  • CP-4. Uncoupling Magnets. No fixed uncoupling magnets are permitted on the mainline tracks. Magnets used on industry sidings should be marked with yellow paint on the end of one tie where the magnet is installed. Union Pacific Armour Yellow recommended.
  • CP-5. Clearance Points. Clearance points on all turnouts should be clearly marked by painting the end of the tie opposite the opposing route with a light gray (Union Pacific Harbor Mist Gray) or white paint.
  • CP-6. Module Construction.Module framework should be constructed using 3/4 inch plywood and not dimensional lumber.
    • CP-6.1. Foam Tops. Foam tops are discouraged, and if used, must provide a minimum 1/2 inch thick plywood base where the mainline runs through the module.
    • CP-6.2. Cross Bracing. Module bracing should be a maximum 24 inch on center and may be as narrow as 2 inch wide strips of 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick plywood.

 Update Log

  • March 26th, 2012:
  • December 6th, 2010:
    • Removed the use of the word “must” in numerous locations so as to not imply that these practices are required.
    • Changed the wording under “Emphasis on Group Operations” to indicated that double track modules will be used primarily for sidings, not only used in that manner.
  • April 6th, 2010:
    • Corrected an error regarding the width of double track modules.
    • Added information regarding Throttle Jacks.
  • March 23rd, 2010:
    • Added to Web Site

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