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Offline Jabez  
#1 Posted : 04 February 2017 00:22:55(UTC)
Jabez

Belgium   
Joined: 30/08/2016(UTC)
Posts: 636
Location: Brussels
This may be a dumb question but it seems pretty basic to me.
The rationale of the 3-rail AC analog system vs 2-rail DC analog was clear to understand.
But now in digital operation even Marklin systems supply DC power to the tracks, or so I am told.
So is the retention of AC locos running on 3-rail tracks which carry DC power really a legacy issue to ensure that the huge installed base of 3-rail track from earlier analog and infant digital days remains usable?
In other words, would Marklin, if starting from scratch and without multi-decades of 3-rail AC production behind it, just go for a 2-rail DC system in the digital age?
Or is there still some basic technical advantage in 3-rail AC operation?
I heard that lonesome whistle blow. Hank Williams
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Offline michelvr  
#2 Posted : 04 February 2017 00:51:14(UTC)
michelvr

Canada   
Joined: 06/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,287
Jabez,

If someone answered it would be Marklin's toughest question to answer.

I think you more or less hit the nail on the head with your post.

For me its nostalgia!

Michel
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Offline mvd71  
#3 Posted : 04 February 2017 00:56:13(UTC)
mvd71

New Zealand   
Joined: 09/08/2008(UTC)
Posts: 1,773
Location: Auckland,
Loop two rail track back around on itself and you have your answer. The three rail system eliminates the polarity issues when doing layouts that are more than simple loops.
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Offline midwestbls  
#4 Posted : 04 February 2017 01:18:47(UTC)
midwestbls

United States   
Joined: 04/06/2012(UTC)
Posts: 76
DCC (digital 2-rail) can manage the reverse loop short easier than when running analogue as the digital system can sense the short and correct for it (vs. having to throw a manual switch), BUT you still have to isolate and separately wire to the section that reverses. 3-rail in digital is still much simpler, cleaner in wiring these reverse loops - there's never a short to have to plan/isolate/wire for.

I was long a DC guy especially because, "Real RRs don't have bumps in the middle of the rail ties" ... I made a complete switch to 3-rail a few years ago because I simply could not deal with having to worry about the reverse loop shorts, even while trying to move to full digital. I wanted "plug-n-play" ease! I also needed a layout that I could assemble, disassemble, reassemble with several moves, and I wanted to physically play and experiment with different design ideas along the way. C-track is ideal!
ETE - Swiss Era III - BLS - Brig Station
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Offline TEEWolf  
#5 Posted : 04 February 2017 01:59:31(UTC)
TEEWolf


Joined: 01/06/2016(UTC)
Posts: 2,465
Originally Posted by: Jabez Go to Quoted Post
This may be a dumb question but it seems pretty basic to me.
The rationale of the 3-rail AC analog system vs 2-rail DC analog was clear to understand.
But now in digital operation even Marklin systems supply DC power to the tracks, or so I am told.
So is the retention of AC locos running on 3-rail tracks which carry DC power really a legacy issue to ensure that the huge installed base of 3-rail track from earlier analog and infant digital days remains usable?
In other words, would Marklin, if starting from scratch and without multi-decades of 3-rail AC production behind it, just go for a 2-rail DC system in the digital age?
Or is there still some basic technical advantage in 3-rail AC operation?


What you were told is half false and half right. AC and DC uses both the Pulse-width modulation (PWM). You may say that it is a kind of "rectangular current".

For more detail information have a look here, please:
https://en.wikipedia.org...i/Pulse-width_modulation

You are from Belgium, here it is in French too:
https://fr.wikipedia.org...de_largeur_d%27impulsion

Because plenty of Belgium people do also speak German (yes, the Belgian people are very good in languages) here are a movie tutorial for a digital controlling of a MRR by a computer. Unfortunately these movies (or tubes???) are only in German. These 16 movies are provided by Modellbahnshop-Lippe (MSL).

Modellbahnshop-Lippe tutorial for a digital MRR

Especially "Teil 1 analog Modellbahn" and "Teil 2 Modellbahn digital" shows the main differences.

midwestbls explains in post #4 in short words the practical advantage between the tracks without and with "bumps in the middle of the rail ties".Love

Another very big difference between two line-tracks (without bumps = DC) and the three line-tracks (with bumps = AC) are the needed isolated axles for DC rolling material versus the not isolated axles for AC rolling material. To alter this on AC and/or DC layouts, indeed it would be a very expensive matter.
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Offline TEEWolf  
#6 Posted : 04 February 2017 02:14:12(UTC)
TEEWolf


Joined: 01/06/2016(UTC)
Posts: 2,465
Originally Posted by: michelvr Go to Quoted Post
Jabez,

If someone answered it would be Marklin's toughest question to answer.

I think you more or less hit the nail on the head with your post.

For me its nostalgia!

Michel


Do not want to disappoint you, but I think Maerklin has already answered this question. Unfortunately - as we all know in the meantime - only in German.

Basics of electric theory - technical tip 101
Offline Bigdaddynz  
#7 Posted : 04 February 2017 02:16:42(UTC)
Bigdaddynz

New Zealand   
Joined: 17/09/2006(UTC)
Posts: 18,672
Location: New Zealand
Originally Posted by: Jabez Go to Quoted Post
But now in digital operation even Marklin systems supply DC power to the tracks, or so I am told.


That's not correct AFAIK.

Digital control supplies constant power to the track with the power being switched many times a second to provide the "bits" of data (0 and 1) necessary for control (such digital power is neither DC nor AC). The waveform is more square wave than anything else. However try putting a Marklin AC analog loco on track that is powered by a digital controller and see what happens.
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Offline Jabez  
#8 Posted : 04 February 2017 05:00:25(UTC)
Jabez

Belgium   
Joined: 30/08/2016(UTC)
Posts: 636
Location: Brussels
Originally Posted by: TEEWolf Go to Quoted Post
I think Maerklin has already answered this question. Unfortunately - as we all know in the meantime - only in German.

Basics of electric theory - technical tip 101


I am not acting as an agent provocateur, or trying to be antagonistic. I just want rational answers to my question. The Maerklin document you refer to mainly gives the standard explanation why large scale electrical distribution systems are normally AC rather than DC, but when it gets to the end, and the question that concerns us MRR people, it appears to descend into pettifogging about terminology rather than simply explaining why Maerklin 3-rail AC is best.
. Ein „Wechselstrom-
trafo mit 16 Volt“ ist daher ein „missglückter“
Ausdruck, der leider in der Praxis oft zu le-
sen ist. Der richtige Ausdruck ist ein „Wech-
selspannungstrafo mit 16 Volt“

Or this:

Die Art der Stromzuführung hat nichts mit
der Form der Versorgungsspannung zu tun!
Man kann auf einem Zweischienensystem
genauso mit Wechselspannung fahren
(Beispiel: Märklin 1) wie auch umgekehrt ein
Betrieb auf einem Dreischienen-Gleis mit
Gleichspannung technisch möglich ist.

All very true, but why is Maerklin 3-rail AC best, it doesn't tell us.
Jabez
PS. Sorry, I have not yet had time to view the videos and other links that you supplied in your earlier post.
J
I heard that lonesome whistle blow. Hank Williams
Offline Jabez  
#9 Posted : 04 February 2017 05:11:37(UTC)
Jabez

Belgium   
Joined: 30/08/2016(UTC)
Posts: 636
Location: Brussels
Originally Posted by: Bigdaddynz Go to Quoted Post


Digital control supplies constant power to the track with the power being switched many times a second to provide the "bits" of data (0 and 1) necessary for control (such digital power is neither DC nor AC). The waveform is more square wave than anything else.


OK. DC digital systems do the same thing, send square wave form signals along with power through the track. Why is AC better?
I repeat, I ain't an agent provocateur, I just want to know why.

I heard that lonesome whistle blow. Hank Williams
Offline Jabez  
#10 Posted : 04 February 2017 05:34:37(UTC)
Jabez

Belgium   
Joined: 30/08/2016(UTC)
Posts: 636
Location: Brussels
Originally Posted by: midwestbls Go to Quoted Post
I wanted "plug-n-play" ease! I also needed a layout that I could assemble, disassemble, reassemble with several moves, and I wanted to physically play and experiment with different design ideas along the way. C-track is ideal!

I agree with your commendation of C-track's advantages, although presumably DC track systems like Fleischmann or Roco, say, have similar convenient features.
I guess the reverse loop question has never appeared a big deal to me, since in my modest layouts any reverse loops are deliberately designed, and I have assumed that in such cases there are workarounds in DC systems.
Jabez


I heard that lonesome whistle blow. Hank Williams
Offline H0  
#11 Posted : 04 February 2017 09:44:59(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,277
Location: DE-NW
With digital operation, "DC" just means "two-rail" and "AC" just means "three-rail" - the track current is the same.
No PWM used on the track with digital operation - PWM is sometimes used for analogue DC operation.

Two-rail looks better, three-rail makes reversing loops more easy.
Three-rail has a huge installed base. Conversion from three-rail to two-rail is complicated.


OS/2 was the successor of Windows with a clean, newly designed API. The better system does not always win against an older system with a huge installed base or a huge loyal fan population.


It would be better if real trains would use 50 Hertz instead of 16.6 Hertz AC.
In the ’70s there were plans to introduce automatic couplers in Europe. It never went into wide-spread use.

So we still have obsolete systems in 1:1 and in 1:87 (three-rail).
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
UserPostedImage
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#12 Posted : 04 February 2017 09:57:05(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
How about more reliability (= more fun) than 2-rail operation due to "more contact" via central PuKos and "outer" rails plus constant PuKo brushing (= cleaning) by the middle ski-like loco pick up shoe ?

(RAIL 2003 or 2004 in Leiden, Netherlands: I remember a Fleischmann rep swirling around his 2-rail show layout with a homemade sponge on a stick tool cleaning in front of a 01 steamer paving its way through a depot; and afterwards another 2-rail maker rep gladly borrowed that tool from him. Meanwhile the Maerklin show layout trains circled without intervention.)
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Offline Danlake  
#13 Posted : 04 February 2017 09:58:43(UTC)
Danlake

New Zealand   
Joined: 03/08/2011(UTC)
Posts: 1,571
Hi all,

For me the major advantages with 3 rail is the additional current pick up and return. On 2 rail you only have 2 tracks to provide this. With 3 rail you should in theory have a better system. Even if one wheel is dirty or a pice of track is dirty there is a good chance the current return can find a way homeBigGrin

I don't have much experience with 2 rail but my impression is that it is less forgiven than the old 3 rail system.

And when you are less dependent on the wheels to provide all the current, you can afford making heavier locomotive with more traction tires, than you could with 2 rail locos.

I also like the simplicity of isolating one outer rail for feedback control.

Brgds Lasse
Digital 11m2 layout / C (M&K) tracks / Era IV / CS3 60226 / Train Controller Gold 9 with 4D sound. Mainly Danish and German Locomotives.
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Offline Goofy  
#14 Posted : 04 February 2017 14:55:09(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 9,034
Originally Posted by: mvd71 Go to Quoted Post
Loop two rail track back around on itself and you have your answer. The three rail system eliminates the polarity issues when doing layouts that are more than simple loops.


There is an digital reverse loop automatic and they works excellent.
You need only isolate all rail after turnout and connect two wires inside of the loop.

H0
DCC = Digital Command Control
Offline Goofy  
#15 Posted : 04 February 2017 15:06:52(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 9,034
I did used Märklin digital K tracks and now i use two rail DCC.
There is big difference by use the system and in fact does Märklin track system not tell better than two rail.
Märklins tracks(with thin metal and "edelstahl") oxid much worse and faster than two rail made of nickle silver.
I was planning to build up an new Märklin layout,but decides to keep on with two rail.
I have seen Märklin layouts sometimes with bad contact.
Why Märklin keeps on with the three rail is about tradition with the pick up shoe.
Today two rail is even better than for 20 years ago thanks for technology to support better way of the contact.
Even Märklins locomotive do needs help to push the train past over the dirt on the tracks.
I like two rail better for the looking after prototype as possible.
You need more work by use Märklins tracks instead of two rail.
It´s my fact and results after tested and use trains.
H0
DCC = Digital Command Control
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Offline Goofy  
#16 Posted : 04 February 2017 15:10:56(UTC)
Goofy


Joined: 12/08/2006(UTC)
Posts: 9,034
Originally Posted by: Danlake Go to Quoted Post
Hi all,

For me the major advantages with 3 rail is the additional current pick up and return. On 2 rail you only have 2 tracks to provide this. With 3 rail you should in theory have a better system. Even if one wheel is dirty or a pice of track is dirty there is a good chance the current return can find a way homeBigGrin

I don't have much experience with 2 rail but my impression is that it is less forgiven than the old 3 rail system.

And when you are less dependent on the wheels to provide all the current, you can afford making heavier locomotive with more traction tires, than you could with 2 rail locos.

I also like the simplicity of isolating one outer rail for feedback control.

Brgds Lasse


Not truth!
I did used Märklins locomotive and in fact it stuck even on the track by of dirt.
Märklins track oxid too much and faster than two rail made of nickle silver.
H0
DCC = Digital Command Control
Offline michelvr  
#17 Posted : 04 February 2017 15:42:40(UTC)
michelvr

Canada   
Joined: 06/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,287
Goofy,

Your're right both systems need clean tracks.

It's funny the question has still not been answered..............


All I know is I love Marklin!

MichelCool
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Offline baggio  
#18 Posted : 04 February 2017 15:59:10(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by: mvd71 Go to Quoted Post
Loop two rail track back around on itself and you have your answer.


Come on, really: Howe often does one do such a loop?

It can also be done with 2 rail, albeit at a substantial cost.

This Beta Vs VHS repeated in train modelling is a pain, but there is nothing one can do about it - not in our lifetime.

So you either choose one systems or go for both and accept the extra hassles that this entails. I chose the latter and am glad I did.


Out of curiosity, does anyone know if Marklin 3 rail came before 2 rail systems?


My 2 cents' worth.
Offline baggio  
#19 Posted : 04 February 2017 16:11:46(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
One more thing:

When it comes to maintenance, I found 2 rail to need LESS than Marklin and less of a need to clean tracks.

However, I am comparing digital Marklin to analogue DC.

I have only a tad of experience with DCC, but my Ice 2 train in DCC has not been a great experience - at least with a test run on my MS2 (something inside it shortens the MS2) - it was fine with the Multimaus a year or two ago. It still runs great in standard DC. BigGrin

Overall, in North America I think if one should only choose ONE system, I would be hard pressed to suggest Marklin to a newcomer with no nostalgic reasons to pick Marklin.

To begin with, I would recommend standard DC in 2 rail to most parents - this way they can have a choice of US, Can and European trains. If then they really like it, then they can choose DCC and the higher costs and headaches DCC entails.

Again, my 2 cents' worth.

Have a good weekend everyone.
Offline michelvr  
#20 Posted : 04 February 2017 16:21:49(UTC)
michelvr

Canada   
Joined: 06/07/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,287
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
One more thing:

When it comes to maintenance, I found 2 rail to need LESS than Marklin and less of a need to clean tracks.

However, I am comparing digital Marklin to analogue DC.

I have only a tad of experience with DCC, but my Ice 2 train in DCC has not been a great experience - at least with a test run on my MS2 (something inside it shortens the MS2) - it was fine with the Multimaus a year or two ago. It still runs great in standard DC. BigGrin

Overall, in North America I think if one should only choose ONE system, I would be hard pressed to suggest Marklin to a newcomer with no nostalgic reasons to pick Marklin.

To begin with, I would recommend standard DC in 2 rail to most parents - this way they can have a choice of US, Can and European trains. If then they really like it, then they can choose DCC and the higher costs and headaches DCC entails.

Again, my 2 cents' worth.

Have a good weekend everyone.


Great comments so far.........

If I may say with authority from my 40 years of experience in model railroading everything works great to an extent of frustration!

This is a hobby and it is what it is! We are very fortunate that we can do this and have the enjoyment of replicating real railroads.

Now back to the main question.........
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Offline Roland  
#21 Posted : 04 February 2017 16:55:25(UTC)
Roland

Canada   
Joined: 09/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 333
Location: Toronto, Canada
Jabez wrote:
Why does 3-rail AC still exist?


I chose Marklin because 1) it's what I grew up with and 2) I've never had any problems that would push me to consider other brands.

IMO 3-rail still exists not because it's "better" (that's debatable) but rather because of those loyal to Marklin. Unless we stop buying and demand a change, why would Marklin switch? And for me, I like manufacturers of both systems but I don't see a reason to switch. Some don't like the center contacts. They don't bother me. It all comes down to what's most important to you in your model railroads.

My Layout Build | Märklin CS3+ | K-track | Merkur | Viessmann | LDT | iTrain | Modeling DB + SBB
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#22 Posted : 04 February 2017 20:22:13(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: mvd71 Go to Quoted Post
Loop two rail track back around on itself and you have your answer.
Come on, really: Howe often does one do such a loop?

I do have 10 (in words: ten) reverse loops on my four-level 4.5 sqm layout...
:o)
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Offline TEEWolf  
#23 Posted : 04 February 2017 20:59:53(UTC)
TEEWolf


Joined: 01/06/2016(UTC)
Posts: 2,465
Originally Posted by: Jabez Go to Quoted Post

I am not acting as an agent provocateur, or trying to be antagonistic.


Stop, stop, stop. I never wrote or suggested this. Also I do not think that your question is a dumb one, as you wrote by yourself. I think it is a good question and while I started my relaunch in MRR I asked myself the same question. And for myself I found an answer. An answer which may not satisfy you. I agree this, but then let us write more about from that point onwards and do not think in any case that I believe you are a provocateur. For me absolutely not.

What you are quoting here was only a direct answer with an explanation to michlvr. Telling him, that Maerklin knows the answer to his question already. It has nothing to do with your question.

"... simply explaining why Maerklin 3-rail AC is best." Again, I never said this, that AC is better than DC. It is a philosophy. Because the electric power does not care, if it is transported by a alternating or direct power tension. Current is just current. AC or DC each of them has advantages and disadvantages.

By the way, this was already a dispute between Edison and Westinghouse, known as the “War of Current”. Please read more about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_Currents.

Perhaps I should have it more explained to you, instead just sending you links, which of course you could not have seen yet all of them. OK, links are easier to handle than to write a full thesis.

I decided to use AC, because it is easier to handle for kids and myself with the polarity of the current. Using AC, I do not have to take care about it, because by the definition of the system I cannot produce a short circuit building a layout.

Another reason was and is the trackbed of Maerklin. I like the prior metal and now plastic bed under the tracks more than without it. That is also the reason I use C-tracks and not K-tracks from Maerklin. And as midwestbls has it so wonderful formulated "Real RRs don't have bumps in the middle of the rail ties" I do not care. So what? Having bumps in the tracks then I am not a real RR? It is a good joke, nothing else.

A third reason is the mfx and mfx+ functionality of the Maerklin decoders. This forces me to use Maerklin digital system. Even knowing railcom tries to develop a feedback system like mfx for DCC too. I do not know very much about it. I think that our community member H0 is much better informed about this system. But then with DCC you even do not have the capability of mfx+. These are good marketing arguments from Maerklin. Well and that is the reason, why they developed mfx+. Wait till all patent protection has gone from mfx+, all the other MRR manufacturers develop a similar system. Because mfx+ makes your MRR to a real train simulator.

This is my individual decision for using AC. Very well aware what Maerklin is writing itself, that within the locos they change the AC to DC or - as by the Swiss “Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule Zürich” (ETHZ) defined - digital current. Have a look here:
http://www.itwissen.info...exikon/Digitalstrom.html

If you want to know more and there you are able to understand German (apologize to all the others who do not) I send you 2 links to the

http://www.modellbau-wik...hienen-Zweileiter-System
http://www.modellbau-wik...hienen-Zweileiter-System

The “Modellbau-Wiki”
http://www.modellbau-wiki.de

is established and managed by the MiWuLa owners in Hamburg. Unfortunately it is only in German available – sorry again to all community members here. But it describes plenty of MRR questions in an easy and understandable way. So I want to list it here just for acknowledgement.

Long story and I lost my track to answer your question. Please le me know, if I could give you a better answer or do you still have questions. And please forget it with this provocateur or antagonistic. I am always open for arguments.
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Offline TEEWolf  
#24 Posted : 04 February 2017 21:03:14(UTC)
TEEWolf


Joined: 01/06/2016(UTC)
Posts: 2,465
Originally Posted by: Roland Go to Quoted Post
Jabez wrote:
Why does 3-rail AC still exist?


Unless we stop buying and demand a change, why would Marklin switch?


Does Maerklin really has to switch? Don't they offer already a 2-rail DC system by TRIX?
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#25 Posted : 04 February 2017 21:44:36(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
Originally Posted by: Jabez Go to Quoted Post
Or is there still some basic technical advantage in 3-rail AC operation?
I can only see a single "mechanical" advantage: The dreaded reverse loop polarity issue.

The latter is of interest for temporary layout and "Teppichbahning" reverse loops where one wants to do "quick and dirty" plug and play without elaborate reverse loop control automatisms and cabling (and for odd compulsive dogbone track design adepts as my humble being).

Offline Mark_1602  
#26 Posted : 04 February 2017 21:55:14(UTC)
Mark_1602

Luxembourg   
Joined: 24/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 704
Location: Luxembourg
Hi everyone,

Why is the three-rail Märklin system still around? Because people who use it spend more money on MRR than DC users. The evidence for this is the remarkable survival of the Märklin company despite all of the problems it has had in the last 15 years; it's more profitable than its main German or Austrian competitors, who are very eager to sell AC versions of their locomotives to three-rail users. Märklin is still rather successful in Germany, the biggest MRR market in Europe.

Where does that customer demand come from? It's not based on the performance of the current digital Märklin system, but on the simple fact that the majority of present-day customers used to have a Märklin layout when they were children several decades ago. Back then Märklin really had the better system and was the children's favourite MRR, especially in Germany; the old, robust analogue three-rail trains were much more suitable for children than DC. In the 1960s, about half of the Fleischmann production was exported, and only a comparatively small minority of children had a two-rail layout. The legendary quality and easy handling of vintage Märklin products turned many Märklin users into loyal fans who later converted their layouts and adopted the three-rail digital system.

As a child, I had a Märklin layout, but I had to transfer it to the floor of our attic, where there was a lot of dust and no heating. Only Märklin locomotives could have survived those unfavourable conditions, and they did! After university, I took up the hobby again and of course I remained loyal to the brand, but I'm not sure if I would choose three-rail now if I were a real beginner and had never had the old, reliable analogue locomotives that I used to have a lot of fun with as a child. From 1990 to 2008, I wanted digital only, but in the meantime Märklin's digital system as well as its locomotives have become increasingly complex and unreliable, so it's hard to argue that three-rail is still best. I've partially (though not entirely) returned to analogue three-rail, and I'm not the only Märklin fan who has done so.

So I'd say that the three-rail system still exists because it used to be the best when we were kids ...

Best regards,

Mark
Best regards, Mark

I like Märklin items produced in the 1960s or early '70s, but also digital locos & current rolling stock.
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Offline Moritz-BR365  
#27 Posted : 04 February 2017 23:45:49(UTC)
Moritz-BR365

Germany   
Joined: 02/04/2013(UTC)
Posts: 682
Originally Posted by: Jabez Go to Quoted Post
But now in digital operation even Marklin systems supply DC power to the tracks, or so I am told.


Sorry, but Digital current is more like AC than DC!Therefore, You should say, that the DC Manufacturer turned from DC to AC power.

Look here, this is a typical DCC current signal:

DCC Signal
Source: http://www.lokodex.de/mo/m_digital_dccprot01.htm

But, as told by others already, the DC problem with reversing loops still remains on DC rails!

Therefore, Märklin AC rails are still the more comfortable solution. And never the less, there are several users with Märklin models. They don't want to convert all there models to DC.
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Offline baggio  
#28 Posted : 05 February 2017 00:23:10(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
I keep telling all of you guys: There is NOTHING wrong in having BOTH systems. BigGrin ThumpUp

It does become a bit of a nuisance, however, to have THREE systems: AC digital, DC analogue and DC digital!!

My attempt to do both AC digital and DC digital via the MS2 was successful, but logistically speaking it may prove to be more trouble than it is worth.


Not so deep down, in fact, I think my idea of sticking to TWO systems: AC digital and DC analogue makes the most sense: I get to enjoy the sounds of Marklin digital locos (some ARE really nice), and the smoothness, SPEED and WIDE variety of locos of analogue DC. BigGrin


Incidentally, what is the big attraction of a reverse loop? It may be handy, but all you need to do is add more straight tracks and the train comes back.

Besides, by NOT using a reverse loop, one could run two trains in that space. Even in analogue, if the layout is fairly big (as mine used to be).

The cost of the extra track is truly minimal in most cases and since you can run trains a couple of inches from each other, you also do not have any real additional space problems.


Thank you, guys, you are a great sound board for my thoughts on trains. Now, do you want to hear my philosophy on the meaning of life? LOL



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Offline Roland  
#29 Posted : 05 February 2017 03:21:13(UTC)
Roland

Canada   
Joined: 09/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 333
Location: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
Incidentally, what is the big attraction of a reverse loop?


To be able to turn a train around so it can travel in the opposite direction on the same track without manual intervention.
My Layout Build | Märklin CS3+ | K-track | Merkur | Viessmann | LDT | iTrain | Modeling DB + SBB
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Offline baggio  
#30 Posted : 05 February 2017 05:27:32(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
It may be handy, but all you need to do is add more straight tracks and the train comes back.


That's the answer to a reverse loop.

Am I missing something? Confused
Offline Alsterstreek  
#31 Posted : 05 February 2017 09:16:37(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
It may be handy, but all you need to do is add more straight tracks and the train comes back.
That's the answer to a reverse loop.

Am I missing something? Confused

There was neither a question in this regard, nor is that an "answer to a reverse loop".
Offline RayF  
#32 Posted : 05 February 2017 10:13:53(UTC)
RayF

Gibraltar   
Joined: 14/03/2005(UTC)
Posts: 15,840
Location: Gibraltar, Europe
I think Silvano's suggestion is to bring the track back from the reversing loop as a parallel track instead of joining it back to the single track with a turnout. This avoids the complication of the polarity change in a two-rail layout. You could have a double track station with a single line loop at each end and potentially run two trains without them meeting, as long as you control the speed so that they don't catch up to each other.

I believe this type of layout is known as a "dog-bone", and it is the type I would choose for my layout if I ever get a space with a bit more length available.

You can also fold one reversing loop under the other to save some space. This is known as a "folded dog-bone"
Ray
Mostly Marklin.Selection of different eras and European railways
Small C track layout, control by MS2, 100+ trains but run 4-5 at a time.
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Offline Dutch Jake  
#33 Posted : 05 February 2017 10:57:26(UTC)
Dutch Jake

Netherlands   
Joined: 03/02/2017(UTC)
Posts: 6
Location: Uitgeest
The initial question was: Why does 3-rail AC still exist?
Thats very simple...because there are still people who don't use a digital system.
If hou mean: why does 3-rail still exist? That's another question wich is answered very wel above.
In a lot of cases it's historical. My dad started with Märklin before I was born and I followed in his footsteps
Later when the 2-rail marked was booming and a lot of Dutch models were made, I didn't want to sell all my 3-rail and start over.
In those days I bought a lot of 2-rail models because they ditn't exist in 3-rail. I'm still converting them to 3-raill...Blink
Now I'm stil a '3-railer' using models of all the brands: Märklin, Roco, Mehano, Liliput, Piko etc. powered by the Uhlenbrock IB using DCC for most models and Motorola only for Märklin.

Would I start over in 3-rail when my house burned down and I lost everthing? I don't think so....Unsure
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Offline petestra  
#34 Posted : 05 February 2017 12:04:13(UTC)
petestra

United States   
Joined: 27/07/2009(UTC)
Posts: 5,843
Location: Leesburg,VA.USA
Even if I were a younger man, and had plenty of $$$$, l still would not go over to 2 rail. To me, 3 rail is so much more fun. I just love it.Love

Peter Cool
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Offline DTaylor91  
#35 Posted : 05 February 2017 13:52:02(UTC)
DTaylor91


Joined: 31/08/2007(UTC)
Posts: 414
Location: Kennesaw, GA
With wiring, It's not just about reverse loops. Try wiring something like this photo in 2-rail, then you'll understand the attraction of 3-rail. And why yes, I used to be a big-time "rivet-counter". Until I started looking into laying track...

Screen Shot 2017-02-05 at 7.47.13 AM.jpeg

Those huge flanges and pukos started looking pretty good at that point! Then, there was programming all that DCC stuff, especially back when it was in its infancy. No thanks! Then, a dealer showed me something called MFX...

And folks, I do a large amount of electronics repair and DIY for extra income. All that wiring was too much like work! Sometimes you just want to run trains!
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Offline Roland  
#36 Posted : 05 February 2017 14:30:50(UTC)
Roland

Canada   
Joined: 09/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 333
Location: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
Am I missing something? Confused


Yes..

Roland wrote:
... On the same track


If the train isnt coming back in the opposite direction on the same track, you haven't actually reversed it..

Think of a Terminus station. A train leaves engine first (pulling it's cars). If you want it to return engine first, you need a reverse loop.
My Layout Build | Märklin CS3+ | K-track | Merkur | Viessmann | LDT | iTrain | Modeling DB + SBB
Offline baggio  
#37 Posted : 05 February 2017 15:30:17(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
Roland: If the train isnt coming back in the opposite direction on the same track,you haven't actually reversed it.

--- That's my point - no reverse loop is needed to have the train come back on a separate track, PARALLEL to the first track, two inches away.

Roland: Think of a Terminus station. A train leaves engine first (pulling it's cars). If you want it to return engine first,you need a reverse loop.

--- The train comes back loco first - two inches over - no reverse loop needed.


I think the real point here is that people LIKE reverse loops and that is fine; but I do believe far too much emphasis is being put on this specific advantage of 3 rail over 2 rail to support the notion that 3 rail is better than 2 rail: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. BigGrin

At risk of repetition: I like having both systems and I would not want to get rid of either. ThumpUp

Have a good Sunday, everyone.
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Offline Roland  
#38 Posted : 05 February 2017 15:44:56(UTC)
Roland

Canada   
Joined: 09/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 333
Location: Toronto, Canada
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
The train comes back loco first - two inches over - no reverse loop needed


So if you have 4 lanes in your terminus station and you want your trains to return engine first, you would increase your lanes to 8 vs using a single reverse loop? That doesn't seem like a reasonable alternative to me (nor is it realistic), but if you have the extra funds lying around, to each his own..

But just to be clear, if that parallel track ever connects to the original track via turnout even if farther down the line, you're using a reverse loop.
My Layout Build | Märklin CS3+ | K-track | Merkur | Viessmann | LDT | iTrain | Modeling DB + SBB
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Offline Roland  
#39 Posted : 05 February 2017 16:00:08(UTC)
Roland

Canada   
Joined: 09/11/2013(UTC)
Posts: 333
Location: Toronto, Canada
Baggio, a better example that might help clarify... Imagine you have an oval layout. Your train travels clockwise and you now want to have it run counter clockwise. Are you going to double the size of your layout by adding a second parallel oval? A simple reverse loop will accomplish this for you.
My Layout Build | Märklin CS3+ | K-track | Merkur | Viessmann | LDT | iTrain | Modeling DB + SBB
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#40 Posted : 05 February 2017 16:43:14(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
I think that the reverse loop / dogbone / polarity issue deserves a separate thread.

Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
I think the real point here is that people LIKE reverse loops and that is fine; but I do believe far too much emphasis is being put on this specific advantage of 3 rail over 2 rail to support the notion that 3 rail is better than 2 rail: beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. BigGrin
Amen to the latter. And I don´t believe that 3 rail is better than 2 rail.

Originally Posted by: DTaylor91 Go to Quoted Post
With wiring, It's not just about reverse loops. Try wiring something like this photo in 2-rail, then you'll understand the attraction of 3-rail.
Likewise:
reverse2017loops99.png
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Offline Mark_1602  
#41 Posted : 05 February 2017 17:06:16(UTC)
Mark_1602

Luxembourg   
Joined: 24/09/2014(UTC)
Posts: 704
Location: Luxembourg
Originally Posted by: baggio Go to Quoted Post
I keep telling all of you guys: There is NOTHING wrong in having BOTH systems. BigGrin ThumpUp


Hi,

Yeah, there's nothing wrong in having two different systems. For me it's three-rail AC analogue and digital, though the latter is now limited to DSB locos and Nohab diesels. Some years ago, I thought I should convert all analogue locomotives, but then I realised there's no need to do that. There are still a lot of people who use three-rail in Germany as well as in some other European countries, although the MRR press is biased in favour of DC.

Best regards,
Mark
Best regards, Mark

I like Märklin items produced in the 1960s or early '70s, but also digital locos & current rolling stock.
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Offline midwestbls  
#42 Posted : 05 February 2017 17:38:10(UTC)
midwestbls

United States   
Joined: 04/06/2012(UTC)
Posts: 76
Originally Posted by: TEEWolf Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: Roland Go to Quoted Post
Jabez wrote:
Why does 3-rail AC still exist?


Unless we stop buying and demand a change, why would Marklin switch?


Does Maerklin really has to switch? Don't they offer already a 2-rail DC system by TRIX?


Yes. Trix = Marklin for 2-rail.

And 3-rail is EASIER to use. Period.
ETE - Swiss Era III - BLS - Brig Station
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Offline AlexandrS  
#43 Posted : 05 February 2017 18:05:54(UTC)
AlexandrS

Russian Federation   
Joined: 07/05/2010(UTC)
Posts: 6
Location: Moscow , Russia
Hi to All !

Yet ! , There is another reason for choosing Maerklin. Practically all Maerklin' locos have minimum radius for operation ( 360 mm )

Little thing , but nice ...BigGrin

Take ROCO BR 01, 03, 42, 44 , 50 ..etc. on 360' radius - what happens ?

I had Noch 81500 , it used 360 curves and switches . Using DC ROCO sistem I had the above disappointment .

Edited by user 06 February 2017 07:09:22(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

AC/DC Maerklin Central Station® I Reloaded
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Offline baggio  
#44 Posted : 05 February 2017 18:14:03(UTC)
baggio

Canada   
Joined: 21/09/2012(UTC)
Posts: 1,729
Location: Toronto
Originally Posted by: AlexandrS Go to Quoted Post
Practically all Maerklin' locos haveminimum radius for operation ( 360 mm )


I have not noticed any problems with 2 rail locos going over R1 curves. Even the Roco Ice Train 2 was able to negotiate R1 curves.

In fact, even K track R0 curves can be negotiated by both sets. M track R0, as I recall, was a problem for the Marklin My World loco (pretty long).

(By "R0" I mean the smallest curves Marklin made - no longer offered in C track but still made for K track; these are the curves I use for the AC/DC small oval I have.)
Offline Alsterstreek  
#45 Posted : 05 February 2017 18:44:22(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
Originally Posted by: Alsterstreek Go to Quoted Post
I think that the reverse loop / dogbone / polarity issue deserves a separate thread.

Done:
https://www.marklin-user...Dogbone-et-al#post539419
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Offline H0  
#46 Posted : 05 February 2017 19:00:33(UTC)
H0


Joined: 16/02/2004(UTC)
Posts: 15,277
Location: DE-NW
Originally Posted by: AlexandrS Go to Quoted Post
Take ROCO BR 01, 03, 42, 44 , 50 ..etc. on 360' radius - what happens ?
They can all go through a 360 feet radius.
Many of them will even take the 360 mm radius. My Roco BR 50 does it without problems.

My Märklin BR 10 needs a minimum radius R2. Therefore I have very little R1 in use, and only on sidings for freight trains.

Yes, most Märklin locos are compatible with the 360 mm radius, many can even take the industrial radius. But this is not an advantage of the three-rail system, just a design decision by Märklin. Also applies to two-rail models by Trix.
Regards
Tom
---
"In all of the gauges, we particularly emphasize a high level of quality, the best possible fidelity to the prototype, and absolute precision. You will see that in all of our products." (from Märklin New Items Brochure 2015, page 1) ROFLBTCUTS
UserPostedImage
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Offline jcrtrains  
#47 Posted : 05 February 2017 19:58:41(UTC)
jcrtrains

Canada   
Joined: 31/10/2009(UTC)
Posts: 597
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Reverse loops in DC are a non-issue. These have been solved simply for ages using the following type of reverser. I have used them on previous layouts and they are less than 10$ as shown below

Atlas reverser
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Offline Webmaster  
#48 Posted : 05 February 2017 20:34:00(UTC)
Webmaster


Joined: 25/07/2001(UTC)
Posts: 11,162
For me, it's was no-brainer since I was a kid...

Then I could take 2 M locos, place them front to front at some distance and crash them into eachother - very fun back then... Try that with analog DC... BigGrin
Nowadays I prefer the 3-rail since it's easier to wire, also in digital, since you know what you get - The logical "+" in the middle and the "-" in the rails...

And - digital is not AC, it's DC with overlaid signals at constant +/- levels... It's an own kind of current/voltage - "Digital DC voltage"...
Juhan - "Webmaster", at your service...
He who asks a question is a fool for five minutes. He who does not ask a question remains a fool forever. [Old Chinese Proverb]
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Offline Alsterstreek  
#49 Posted : 05 February 2017 20:46:41(UTC)
Alsterstreek

Germany   
Joined: 16/11/2011(UTC)
Posts: 5,688
Location: Hybrid Home
Originally Posted by: jcrtrains Go to Quoted Post
Reverse loops in DC are a non-issue. These have been solved simply for ages...
Thanks for the source.
:o)

I could agree to " neglectable", but for me it would only be a non-issue if none of these devices were needed. In my case, I have seven crossovers which were "polarity"-affected in an 2 rail environment, while currently my cabling consists of a red and a brown cable between the Central Station and the tracks with decoders mounted directly under turnouts and fed by the track. That cabling situation qualifies for me as a non-issue.
;o)

Edited by user 06 February 2017 10:47:20(UTC)  | Reason: Re-counted

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Offline MaerklinLife  
#50 Posted : 06 February 2017 05:20:41(UTC)
MaerklinLife


Joined: 03/02/2016(UTC)
Posts: 490
Originally Posted by: jcrtrains Go to Quoted Post
Reverse loops in DC are a non-issue. These have been solved simply for ages using the following type of reverser. I have used them on previous layouts and they are less than 10$ as shown below

Atlas reverser


Märklin's own reverser (yes, there actually is one):
http://www.maerklinshop....sArticle/2/number/T66846

It is dead easy to wire such a module.

Basically you get all the ease of use with Märklin in Trix. The Trix C track turnout has a built in switch/jumper to power the turnout frogs. Simply move the jumper and the frog is powered. No complex wiring needed.

I have a friend that has the Trix C track and he does not have any problems worth mentioning. I some times envy him a bit because he does not need to deal with pickup shoes.

If 3-rail was invented today, I am pretty sure it would not sell one bit. Nostalgia and history is what keeps it going. Same thing with the English OO scale, why? Answer: Because it is there, has been for decades, and people are invested.
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