I Picked up a Sensor Switch from Lowe's the other day, and I've been doing some testing night and day to get the optimum operation in different variations of angles, positions, amount of light, and how much of the sensor can be covered up.
The main drawback being that it's an off-the-shelf part is that the setting don't work with what I need. It's got intervals to set the ON timer to; 5 seconds (Test) 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 20 minutes. A 20 second interval would have been perfect, but I can't ask for too much out this little switch. 5 seconds would work if the entire train was picked up by the sensor (which is rather odd, only the locomotive trips the sensor and non of the cars, even if full daylight. I guess it's the motion of the side-rods).
So right now I've got it set to 1 minute, and the train trips the sensor just before the first balancing rock column and the motion of the rocks stop when the timer expires just as the train comes to a stop at Rainbow Ridge (that's if I run it at minimum speed, 1" a second). It actually works surprisingly well in the dark, which is good for when I do night time operations.
The only other drawback I have with the sensor is I need to wire a couple of "night light" bulbs to it to "soak up" the extra current going through, otherwise the rocks would still turn slowly even when the sensor isn't in ON mode.
Despite that, hopefully the sensors keeps the wear down and lets my rocks run a little longer before they need another refurbishment.