Technology has come a long way in the last 50 years when it comes to model railroading. The days of 'transformers' to supply track power are long gone and have been replace with new power supplies and digital control. I chose Digitrax
for my layout simply because it was being used by some other model railroaders I met. Although a bit complex, I am able to utilize most of the features available to me.
Here, built into a console that supports part of the layout, is power for the Digitrax, AC, and DC portions of the layout. In addition, two tracks used for testing and programming are here for testing analog locomotives and programming digital locomotives. The test tracks appear when the console door is open.
The photos below show part of the underside of the layout. You can identify Tortoise motors for operating the turnouts, digital connections for operating crossing lights and gates, as well as the track and accessroy buses. Other wiring is for lighting and other special effect uses. The numbered holes with red & white wire are the bottom of the main yard switch panel that is shown below. Numbering the wires and each Tortoise motor can help in trouble-shooting later.
The computer boards above are for Railroad Crossing lights and gates. These add realism to the layout and when installed correctly, work as designed on all rails, both East to West and West to East. I used photo cells to start and stop the mechanics and lighting. These are easy to use and they install almost invisibly between the railroad ties on your track. Their only drawback is when operating the layout to show a night scene. Although ajdustable, the photo cells think it is time to activate when the room goes dark. That is called learning from experience!
The slide out panel above is simply a computer keyboard drawer. I use it to expose the main lines (in blue) and turnouts in the main yard. The layout has 48 turnouts operated electronically and another 15 operated manually.
AC and DC current is used for lighting and other accessories on the layout. Most all buildings have interior lights, the turntable operates on separate power. Prototypically, not all windows in a building or home are lit at the same time. I have used black paper to hide light in various warehouse and home windows. Also, most home and office building windows have curtains or blinds. The pictures below show lighting and other various lighting effects.