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The Simple Shuttle provides model railways with an automatic control to run a train backwards and forwards along a line. There is an adjustable delay before returning. It is easily installed. The Simple shuttle is suited to slow running trains as the stops are made by the power being switched off the track. For faster trains where gradual braking and acceleration are preferred the SA1 or SA1-S can be used. The Simple shuttle can be used to automatically send a branchline train in and out of the junction station whilst you control the mainline. The Simple Shuttle can be used with IRDOT-P boards to allow trains stored in sidings to run backwards and forwards alternately.

So that the train can be stopped in the correct place it is necessary to detect when it has reached the ends of the line. Both the Simple Shuttle and IRDOT-1 have built in infra red train detection to detect the train at the end of the line. The Simple Shuttle is positioned at one end of the line and an IRDOT-1 or reed switch at the other. When the train is detected power will be switched off from the line, stopping the train. There will be a variable pause, adjustable between 10 and 120 seconds, after which the train will move off in the opposite direction. Also required are a controller (the unit will work with both feedback and non feedback types) to provide power to the track and a 12-16 Volts power supply either AC or DC.


The diagram shows the red and black wires to connect power to both units. The Simple Shuttle and IRDOT-1 can be powered from 12 to 16 Volts either AC or DC.

wiring of model railway infra red detectors for branchline shuttle

The yellow wire tells the Simple Shuttle when the train has reached the IRDOT-1 so that it can stop the train then send it back to the Simple Shuttle after the adjustable delay. The 3 wires connecting to the IRDOT-1 are shown in the photograph below.


The green wires connect the Controller to the Simple Shuttle and then the Simple Shuttle to the track. The internal connections within the Simple Shuttle stop the train for an adjustable delay then reverse the polarity to the track to reverse the trains direction. The controller adjusts the trains speed.


DC (analogue) and DCC

The Simple Shuttle reverses the engine by changing the polarity of the track. This works for analogue (DC) but not for DCC as DCC chips make engines go either forwards or backwards regardless of track polarity. If you wish to use the Simple Shuttle with DCC then you will need to isolate the Simple Shuttle track (from the rest of the DCC layout) with insulated rail joiners. The Simple Shuttle track can then be powered by analogue track power. You can use either engines without DCC chips or engines with DCC chips provided their CV value is set to Dual Mode. When Dual Mode is set engines will run with either analogue (DC) or DCC power. If you wish to sometimes run trains automatically and sometimes manually with DCC then you can fit a DPDT switch wired to connect either the Simple Shuttle or the DCC track power to the shuttle track.

Train detected LED and timing adjustment

The Simple Shuttle is fitted with a train detection LED. The long leg of the LED goes to the LED terminal and the short leg to the C terminal. This LED may be wired to a control panel. Whilst the Simple Shuttle is timing its delays the LED flashes at a rate proportional to the delay. The delay is adjusted by rotating the potentiometer on the circuit board with a small screwdriver.


By having one or more sidings, two or more trains can run alternately along the line.

The sidings are located at the other end of the line to the Simple Shuttle. At the end of every siding an IRDOT-P is used. The IRDOT-P does two jobs. Its R terminals are wired so that an arriving train causes the points to change to the next siding. The IRDOT-P operates solenoid point motors such as Seep, Peco and Hornby. When it detects a train a contact on the IRDOT-P links the R terminals together for 1 second. Secondly, every IRDOT-Ps P terminal is wired to the A terminal of the Simple Shuttle (shown by the pink connection) so the Simple Shuttle knows when a train has arrived at the siding.

Terminal B of the Simple Shuttle is wired to all the I (Inhibit) terminals of the IRDOT-Ps. This is shown with the orange connection. The Simple Shuttle activates its terminal B when trains are departing the sidings to prevent the points changing as a train is leaving and being derailed.

model railway shuttle with sidings for trains to alternate running backwards and forwards

The wiring connections to the point motors and connections from the controller to the track via the Simple Shuttle board are not shown in this diagram. The other connections are all shown. The red and blue wires provide power to all the units.


Voltage12 to 16 volts, AC or DC

Current consumption 40 m A

Length 4.9 inches 125 mm

Width 1.2 inches 30 mm