New Train Construction
The new train is fully automatic.  As you can see below, I designed an entirely new train and track system.  Here's how it will work.  The track will be externally powered by a 12 volt system so don't worry about electrical shock or hazard.  This is the same voltage as in the automobile.  Here's how it will work.  At dusk, the train will automatically park at its familiar spot in front of the sidewalk.  As a car approaches and flashes it's high beam, a sensor located on the "Flash high beam" sign signals the train to start.  It will be a lot quieter than the old train so I added a realistic train sound and whistle.  As the train travels around the track, electromagnetic sensors signals various features such as lowering the crossing gate (new design), energizing the tunnel lights (new design), activating the flashing RR sign, energizing the sequential lights on the bridge (new design), activating a candy cane loader when needed (new), start dancing Santa and turning on the Candy Cane Striping Factory (new design).  

The train engine and all it's cars have been rebuilt.  Each car is lighted.  The Animal Car has been replaced with a flashing "Cocoa Car".  The "Christmas Caboose" is lighted with the animals inside a fully decorated room complete with a Christmas tree, table, hardwood floor, wainscot walls and various hanging decorations.  Two pairs of lights alternately flash red & green as the train goes around the track.

When the train stops at home position, the children are welcome to take a candy cane.  There is a sensor on the bridge that measures the amount of candy canes present in the car.  When the supply is running low, the train will stop at the striping factory location on the next revolution.  There, a movable loader will approach the Candy Cane Car and automatically refill the supply.  It won't do any good the fake out this system since the computer knows the amount of candy canes present regardless of where they are.  If too many canes are removed in a short time, the system will not refill.  Refilling will occur no less then every 15 minutes.

To prevent overheating, the train will rest every once in a while for a very short time.  At eleven o'clock the train will automatically stop at it's overnight park position in front of the house.  This will occur approximately 3 minutes before the entire display shuts down.

The train is also equipped with an alarm system and digital camera that will activate if it's removed from the track day or night.

    This picture shows the base of the engine.  Note the train sound speaker in front and the electronics in the rear.  The engine consists of an old automotive windshield wiper motor and a belt drive system.

      This is a view of the Cow plow   and engine's
                                                                                                                                                                                           independent suspension system.

 This is the view of the completed Engine.  It weighs 80 pounds.  A large light is located in the front. There is also ice blue lights located in each of the side pressure tubes.  Red LED lights line the rear engine compartment and Santa is illuminated with an interior light.

 The Candy Cane Car has been rebuilt.  Note the Green LED's that line the side platforms.  The car is equipped with a candy cane sensor that senses the amount of candy canes left in the car.

 This is a new car added this year that replaced the animal car.  As it travels along the track, lights flash in the top modules.

  The caboose lights alternate as it goes around   the track.  It is fully decorated and lighted on the inside.

 The track system consists of over 180' of galvanized steel rails and hardwood ties.  All cars are equipped with pulleys for wheels that straddle the rails and prevent the train from derailing.

       This is the primary computer and train controller.     It also houses the lap counter which measures how far the train has traveled over the years. The trains electronics is housed in back of the "Flash high beam" sign.    

   This is the drive mechanism for the "Striping Factory"   and the    completed display.  Below shows the white, red and green strobe lights that flash when the factory is activated.      


 The candy cane dispenser consists of a      computerized servo system that receives a signal from the bridge sensor.  When activated , the dispenser moves forward toward the candy cane car.  When it stops, the dispensing tube rotates and distributes more candy canes to the car.