Model Railway control Systems

hi,
I'm wondering what people would think about a model railway system
which controled trains like on out british standard gauge railways.
What kind of features would you want to assist the simulation
(fail-safe etc)?
Thanks all
Reply to
UKTrains
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Um, er, ah, well, look around you, and see what people are actually doing to simulate actual operation. It can be very realistic, depending mostly on the amount of money and time available to the modeller.
Digital Command Control (DCC) can do pretty well everything, except perhaps the "dead man's switch" on the locomotive. There are even commercial signal-turnout interlocking and automatic train-control systems available (some are non-DCC, actually.)
Or are you thinking of a computer controlled system? If so, google on "computer software model railroad" and see what is out there. Software for controlling layouts through a computer-DCC interface is quite well advanced, to judge from some comments I've heard.
Fully automated model train control systems that simulate all actual train movements, signalling, route-control etc, have been around for a long time. In the olden golden days, they required loads of relays, which were widely available after WW2 as war-surplus, and then again in the 70s and 80s as telephone companies converted from electromechanical to solid-state switching systems. I've found such layouts fun to watch for 15 minutes or so - then I want to get my hands on a controller. :-)
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
I think there are ways to implement dead-man controls with DCC, and perhaps even simulate vigilance controls such as what RailCorp has fitted to all our Sydney suburban trains in the blind belief that it solves all the problems of trains going out of control when a driver becomes incapacitated... 8-)
I don't think the hardware side would be too tricky - it just comes down to designing and positioning of appropriate switches and actuators for them.
The software side might be a bit trickier since there needs to be a way to first of all interface a pushbutton of some sort then a way to integrate that with the command station firmware to shut down a train if the button is released when the train's 'master controller' is not in the 'off' position.
Vigilance would be similar, and be a lot more of a software approach since it involves timers, etc.
DCC throttles could easily be designed with one or two extra buttons - one for a deadman feature that needs to be held in at all times otherwise the train being controlled will stop, and the other for vigilance when needs to pressed within a predetermined time period or the train will be stopped.
The deadman switch would need to be something easy to depress but set up in such a way that the simple action of releasing the handgrip around a handheld throttle drops out the switch. the VC switch can be a small pushbutton somewhere.
Regards,
Craig.
Reply to
C. Dewick
C. Dewick wrote in news:d4m87c$jbo$ snipped-for-privacy@yoda.apana.org.au:
Now let's imagine how this might work in practice. I've got a Digitrax 400 type controller which has throttle knobs for two locos but can actually run many more simutaneously by dialing one up, setting the speed, then dialing up another loco on the same knob. SO, two throttle knobs, 10 function buttons for all those nifty sound effects, and now we add 2 deadman buttons...looks like I'll have to grow some extra digits or hire a former accordion player to run my trains! Methinks our quest for realism can easily get out of control (no pun intended).
Reply to
Norman Morgan
Well i've seen pictures of one 'nut's layout where he obtained the entire cab assembly off a real locomotive, complete with control stands and wired that up to the layout.
Obviously the thing to do is not modify you existing hand held throttles - but to do it properly. Get the entire control desk from a modern locomotive with all it's usual controls including the vigo, and wire them up to your layout controls. You will need an entire computer to interpret the signals from the control desk and convert to your desired layout control system (DC blocks or DCC doesn't matter), so you can implement all sorts of simulation features in that interface computer. Get it to drive actuators to shake the cab - give realistic vibration and shocks to the operator. Drive a multichannel sound system to make the right engine noises. Put large displays up in 'windows' and feed in a live camera feed from the model down on the layout....
Heck, go the whole way and buy a million dollar train simulator, or probably the best, just sign up and drive the real things :-)
Reply to
Matthew Geier
LOL! An interesting suggestion, Matthew. I suspect that many modellers would quickly lose their interest if they had to run trains for a living!
All the best,
Mark.
Reply to
mark_newton
It's easier (and cheaper) to get MSTS or BVE. You can even drive virtual trams along Blackpool Prom!
Reply to
MartinS
Methinks if you are trying to control multiple locos independently in this way, you're not actually driving any one of them :-)
========================================================== John Dennis snipped-for-privacy@optusnet.com.au Melbourne,Australia Home of the HOn30 Dutton Bay Tramway and the Australian Narrow Gauge Web-Exhibition Gallery Dutton Bay URL:
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Reply to
John Dennis
Good point. I've known VERY few 'real' railroaders that model railroads (a FEW, but not many). I HAVE known several model railroaders that became 'real' railroaders, largely because of their interest in trains. NONE of these are still active model railroaders, though a few continue the interest via railfan photography, etc. From this admittedly small sample I conclude, with reservations, that being a 'real' railroader often kills the desire to model trains.
I think this is similar to the several persons I have known that decided to start a 'basement' hobby shop. Their idea was to make their work their hobby, and PLAY all the time. What really happened was that they made their hobby their WORK, and had to WORK all the time. After a few years all either gave up the business and went back to the hobby, or dropped BOTH, and are now doing something altogether different. It's another way to kill a good thing.
Most of us, IMHO, are model railroaders to escape from other facets of our existence. A change of 'scenery' is often good. Too much of anything is seldom good.
Dan Mitchell ============
Reply to
Daniel A. Mitchell
I agree, this working for a living is a royal pain {;^)
Brian
Reply to
Brian Smith
He's just running several units in MU mode. The lead unit controls all the rest. Not common in UK or Europe, I know, but S.O.P over here.
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
Ummm, I don't think so. It seems to me that he described several locos operating independently, selected, put in motion and left to run, while another was selected and treated in the same manner.
Not a good way to operate your models, unless you can multitask at warp speed.
Reply to
Ocean Springs
The context is Norman's remark was "consist", I believe, which means two or more locos run as a unit. But you may be right. Maybe he meant running two or more trains on independent routes. Hey, Norman, what were you thinking?
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir
>Maybe he meant running two or more trains on independent routes.
Reply to
Jon Miller
Ocean Springs wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@news.east.earthlink.net:
And in case no one noticed, that bulge in my cheek was caused by pressure from my tongue.
=========================================================== Norman Morgan
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I wake up grumpy. Other times I let her sleep. ===========================================================
Reply to
Norman Morgan
Wolf Kirchmeir wrote in news:SwQbe.7284$ snipped-for-privacy@news20.bellglobal.com:
I guess I'll have to resort to a new pair of HTML tags when I post something like that: ......
I was actually referring to the ability to run multiple, independent trains from such a controller to point out the silliness of simulating a deadman switch.
Reply to
Norman Morgan
LOL! I would do that if it weren't for the fact that I tend to get bored easily, and then life becomes more expensive.
Brian
Reply to
Brian Smith
Actually my new layout is designed to run a train or two that's not attended by the operator. It's in an area where there won't be other operators so I have a passenger train running in the background while freights are also running. I have a panic button if things go wrong. Even in my setup 4 would be an absolute maximum.
Reply to
Jon Miller
What DCC does poorly, without endless supplies of money, is operate a model railway. The whole intent of DCC is to link one controller to one locomotive so that it, and every locomotive on a layout, can be driven individually.
Suitable new TTL drivable relays are available in the UK at 78p each. What you continually overlook with your "haha" joke is that automation can operate those parts of a layout that you can't, while you drive 'your' train, thereby simulating real railway operation whenever you want to.
Reply to
Greg Procter
Ah, yes, when we don't have tone of voice and facial expression, subtle jokes are hard to recognise.
How about (hah!) ?
Reply to
Wolf Kirchmeir

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