16 monthly update ????
Just over 16 months ago I started a blog for my L&N RR layout with every intention of posting regular updates. Hopefully I can get that part back on track starting with this post.
So what has happened in the layout room over the past year and some? I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of what I am doing with the layout.
Currently the Locomotive Roster stands at 66. A few more that I had intended, but sometimes a bargain comes along. All but 4 are DCC equipped. There are also a few DC only loco’s that could go to a better home.
21 Cabs make up the fleet. Mostly in L&N Early scheme Grey with Red lettering, Red with Yellow lettering and Family Lines Grey with red and yellow stripes. A couple of red Southern cab for the transfer trains from the Southern and an Orange Clinchfield cab which lives on the breakdown train.
Signals and CTC.
After seeing a Rod Warren convert his Santa Fe Southern Division layout over to a fully signaled CTC controlled layout I decided to have a look at it myself.
I always wanted to have signals on the layout and was going to just connect them to the turnout switches. That would only give a basic indication of how the tracks were set. I designed a small protection circuit to add to that to give red signals to trains about to head around the end of the peninsula if there was a loco coming the other way. Designed but not built as there were other things to do.
After looking at how the signals operated and how that made the layout take on a new life I knew what i wanted to do. I looked at my track plan and decided to cost up adding Tortoise motors to the turnouts on the main line, but only for the main turnouts at each town. There were only 15 turnouts to give the level of automation I wanted and that would only need 2 Digitrax SE8C boards to connect them. Also 2 boards would be enough to connect the signals to and I would have 16 inputs for train detection. Nice work. All the numbers balanced. time to order.
With the order placed I started to look at this a little more. I could really use more than 16 detection blocks, so I had a good look at what I needed to detect and decided, after some help from Brendan Dennis, that I needed to get a RR-CirKits TC-64 Tower Controller I/O board. Now I had 64 inputs. Some of these will be for track occupancy detectors and some will be for Turnout indication for manual turnouts on the main line and in several passing tracks.
All of this to be displayed on a JMRI CTC panel for a dispatcher to take control. Here is the current CTC panel using Layout Editor in JMRI. Currently I only have a black background, but I will make the Typical USS CTC panel with all the switches on the Green sections.
I have moved the 2 15″ PC monitors up to the valance at the end of the operating area so the train drivers will be able to see the fast clock and a small track diagram.
In these photos you can see the Dispatcher Panel and the overhead screen that will show the Fast Clock and track Diagram for the Drivers.
I still have a fair amount of work to do to get all of this done, but I am expecting to have all the Tortoise motors and local switches installed before the 2013 Australian N-Scale Convention in April. Track occupancy detection and indication on the CTC panel might have to wait until later in the year.
Building signals will also be done as time permits, with only 40 or 50 to make.
If you are attending the convention I hope you can have a look at the layout on the Saturday Bus tour.
Time to get back to it. hope you enjoyed this update. Hopefully the next update wont take 16 months to get posted.