Train and Trolley Control

Trains are controlled by two MRC Railpower 1370s; these are the dual cabs. Their power is routed through main and auxiliary direction controls and DPDT block toggles on the way to the track feeders. The trolleys use a dual cab system as well, but it's separate so it can be run at the same time as two trains on the layout. The trolley track power is from two of those little plastic plug-in power supply adaptor boxes that come with various appliances—I had a couple laying around gathering dust. Mine were about 300mA and 9-volt DC.

But what's even weirder is what I used to control them. I used a couple of regular house lighting dimmer switches with dimmer knobs. (See fig. 2.) An electronics wizard I know said as long as I put the 110-volt current through the dimmer and didn't step down the power first with the power supply adaptors before using the dimmers, I'd stay out of trouble, electrically (i.e., no heat-ups or melt-downs). I had to fasten extensions on the knob shafts to get them to go through my control panel side table.

Each cab needed direction control knobs and both cabs' track power wiring had to be routed through four trolley block controls, so these were installed too. Three were stopping blocks and were the last 6" of track before each of the three bumpers. The forth one was for all other trolley track.

Certainly the cheapest and crudest train controls ever, I don't recommend that this is a great way to go; but it works fine and it was a fun experiment in creative train control.
Here's a neat little train/trolley station combo behind a coal depot:
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