Dr. James Caristi
Arts and Sciences
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
This research project sought to find general track formations that allowed battery operated locomotives to traverse the entire train track in both directions infinitely. These formations allowed for any number of track pieces from TrackMaster Thomas and Friends sets by Fisher Price. The research looked at start position of the train and presetting of the switches as well as what is necessary to have a complete track with no dead ends. Surprisingly, there was found to be only one track formation that allowed for entire traversal of the track in both directions. This layout was termed a "dog bone" and consisted of two switch pieces connected at the ends with the tips of both switches connecting to themselves on the same switch. A proof that this layout is the only layout that satisfies the conditions is given.
Struss, Breanna M. and Hamilton, Seth, "Designing a Self-reversing Track Layout with TrackMaster Tracks" (2015). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 477.