[Train Layout] The WindMill Lego Train Layout Project (WMLTL)

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Hello everyone,
for those who do not know me, I'm a big fan of trains and especially Lego Train.

I finally have a space to create a Layout finally worthy of the name. My approach comes a little more of the model in the sense that I like to see a train pass over another, to automate the network, make realistic through light signals, station stops, etc. ...
I started this project in February 2016 in my basement where I made by myself, furniture and shelf for storing SET Lego but also to design the layout.
I was already well advanced when an incident occurred: the flooding of the basement end in May 2016 ....
Then in August, the discovery of a leak in the water supply of the house forced me to completely dismantle this first try of a Layout to access the water inlet pipe .....:pir-cry_sad::pir-cry_sad::pir-cry_sad:

I come back now in force therefore with a first experience, many tests on the possibility for our pretty trains to climb slopes (straight or curved) to optimize the best of my available space and create a nice layout ! ;-)
Due to financial limits, this layout will be not made with 100% of Lego, I will use wood and homemade stickers, custom electronic to make it.

Here are the first shots (or I should say the nth plan because with Bluebrick, we never stop to change those plans) to my future Layout (so different from the first that I had designed and unfinished)

WMLTL - v5 - Level 0 by LegoLow, sur Flickr
Corresponds to trainyard + walkway + a brief passage of the 12V track

WMLTL - v5 - Level 1 by LegoLow, sur Flickr
Ground level with his future main station

WMLTL - v5 - Level 2 by LegoLow, sur Flickr
First level of the "mountain" : secondary station and then, possibility to climb in the mountain or to go back to the main level

WMLTL - v5 - Level 3 by LegoLow, sur Flickr

WMLTL - v5 - Level 4 by LegoLow, sur Flickr

WMLTL - v5 - Level 5 by LegoLow, sur Flickr
Top of the mountain....

Finally a view (done quickly, I will improving later), global superimposed, giving the idea of what will be hidden, visible ....
WMLTL Project - v5 by LegoLow, sur Flickr

Following probably next week with the start of the implementation of Level 0.
It's a big challenge for me because this project is made of mixing differents things : LEGO, electronics, electricity problematics, Priority management on a network, etc....

Hope you will find that interesting to !

Edited by LegoLow

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wow that looks great.

Just one remark: I think that some tracks to narrow to each other. It is possible that you'll get problems with wider trains and longer rail cars.



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Thanks Capparezza and tmctiger !

I will watch if track will not be to narrow in the implementation ! 
I think the wider is ok but the longer (I think about trains with huge "nose" like 7897) is to checked.... thanks ! ;)

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Thank you "LEGO Train 12 Volts" !
and thank you kieran !

I need luck that's sure; and time, method due to the multiple problematics : electronic, programming, electricity management, layout construction...

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Small pictures of the soft advance...

First, I did not know what to use for coating: Model mats, true flocking because 100% Lego, a surface like that to cover, here is expensive !
So I opted for the concrete effect wallpaper ;)
Covering wood with wallpaper to simulate ballast by LegoLow, sur Flickr[/img]

First rails....
First rails on place... by LegoLow, sur Flickr

And first test of the presence detector in "condition" almost real ...
Testing IR detector in condition by LegoLow, sur Flickr

Still I must gauge the strength for the detector and find the best values for good detection ....
Following soon ;)

Edited by LegoLow

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Ah, how nice! I have rebuilt a blue hopper wagon in red, just like the one in your last picture above, too :classic: The "Austrian Crocodile" in Blue is also very nice. Plenty of space for your layout, I like it!

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Thanks kieran and capparezza !

I planned to build a yellow hopper and a green crocodile too ;)

Yes, for the first time of my life, plenty of space for a big true layout ! This week I set up electronics composants and I think next week I will advance more in setup the rails ! (Maybe doing MoC on RC switch then convert them to 9V with copper tape).

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone !
Here is small news because it seems like this project does not advance ! But YES ! :wink:

  • Electronic Side
    • Detectors
      • I refined my IR detectors and found a good compromise for detection. Moreover, with the use of an analog multiplexer / demultiplexer (the HC4067, to make simple it is a "power strip"), I will be able to connect as many sensors as I want !
      • I tested the detection by a reed switch :  by raising the reed switch by 1 to 2 plates with respect to the cross beams of the track, detection of the head magnet ( And tail) works !!!!
        I must test if it detects the magnets binding the wagons ...
    • Train Track Switches Automatisation
      • For the control of the switches, I found my servo! A beautiful TowerPro MG92B with metal pinion that has enough force to actuate the switch itself without making any alterations on the "friction" contained in it ...
        Here is the "alpha" mounting open 33261368433_4f6d678efe_n.jpg
        and closed : 34032852636_5961827bba_n.jpg
        I received my bricklink order  for bricks and plates in dark bluish gray in order to make the beta ...

      • I tested a PCA9685 card (yet another power strip, but more powerful (16-Channel 12-bit PWM / Servo Driver - I2C interface)) which allows to control 16 servo using only a few outputs of the Arduino. In addition, they can be cascaded; This is good because I have about 25 switches to drive ... and it works!

  • Power supply Side

    • Power supplies of the block sections : I am therefore always on my L298N. I will test the use of the card with PCA9685 in order to just multiply the control of the "signal" regulating the "power" of the L298N.

    • I've decided to begin with a standard power supply (like for portable PC) that delivers 9V with 5 amps. I have received but not yet tested

    • Servo Power Supplies + IR Led + other electronics composant : 5V. I found also a standard power supply that delivers 5V with 10 amps.

    • For the 12V trains, I will do the same with a power supply that delivers 12V with 8 or 10 amps.

  • Lights and signals

    • I don't know yet if I do "basic" 3 lights signals or more complicated like the french signalisation.... like that :

  • Accessories/pieces side

    • Santa Claus offers to me a 3D printer last christmas.... so I print things that I cannot create with Lego... such as :

      • I print my 9V power connectors (need at least 58x2, 30 minutes per piece)

      • I must print also some straight track (half straight, quarter straight) and some curves track

      • for the signals, I do not know yet if I stay on that:
        (By adding of course a white trace making the outline of the signal (paint or sticky sheet) (The foot is not the definitive, I'm just talking about the design of the "box" lights)


I have modified the layout in last months, I expect to stabilize it again a bit before posting the images on FlickR.
I stay on 6 levels : 3 mains with 2 have a big station (one with the 4554 station and an extended 4 docks of 7937 / the other with the 7824 and an extended of 2 docks of 7937).
The 3 others levels are the "walk" in the mountain.
11 block sections on the 12V (for 4/5 trains) and 58 block sections on the 9V (for 25/30 trains).

So I'm advancing on this titanic project and hope soon to return to you with other news!


Edited by LegoLow

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Hi LegoLow, I found out about your lay-out only today. What a great rail plan! And so many levels. But will you be sure that your engines will be able to tow a number of carriages up into the mountains? How steep is it from level to level? Have you tried this out before? I've seen some comments about the narrow curves and longer engines and carriages, but in combination with the height of the levels and the overall train length, I hope the train will not fall still on your track.

But nevertheless it's a very interesting lay-out that I wish we could do with our train-guys of the LOWLUG.

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Posted (edited)

Hi @Vliebricker ! Thanks ! ;-)
I hope that my trains will be able to tow a number of carriages into the moutains !! Otherwise I must give up my project !

Or at least 1 or 2 of my 25  9V trains !

I planned (but not tested yet) : 4 double wagons (light weight)(or 8 little light weight wagons) per 9V engine. For more wagons, I planned to use 2 engines per train (especially for exemple for my metroliner that have 4 (very very high weight) club car)...... and otherwise, do an intelligent combination of light weighted wagons and high weight wagons per trains.....
For the 12V, I planned only 4 wagons max per engine......

I planned about 16-18 cm between levels; with an incline of 4° (so about 20-24 tracks to climb 16-18 cm)...

I've tried before with a few (light weight) wagons and it works well ! It's works too with my 7740 (climbing 15,5 cm on a 18 straight track slope).
The hard thing is the "arrival" to the top of the slope : the engine can derail if the end of slope is not smooth enough .....
To reduce risk (only for 9V), I have 3D printed special tracks : a begin slope track and an end slope track.


I will test it soon to see if that's enough smoothing enough at arrival to the upper level.....


Edited by LegoLow

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WoW, LegoLow, it really looks like a sciencefiction project with even 3D printing parts for this lay-out :laugh:. And as I understand, you will use both 9V and 12V engines on this trackplan? 

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Thanks ! :sweet:

Yes @Vliebricker, there will be both : a circuit of 12V that will cross the major 9V circuit.....

I hope without crashes !!!  :sick:

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