Our track plan is a 6 scale mile point to point single track mainline (with continuous loop section) with 5 passing sidings, 2 large stub end yards, 3 interchange yards with 2 branch lines . Yard and spur trackage totals about 25 scale miles of track to operate on. Our Eastern most point of the layout starts in the town of Palatine IL and the Western most part ends in Madison Wisconsin. The layout was converted to Digital Command Control (DCC) in 2001. We use Digitrax DCC radio throttles to control and program our trains. In early 2016 the layout underwent JMRI / Computer integration with the addition of block detection and Digitrax signal system. The mainline and sidings are all signaled with ABS control with the ability to convert over to CTC when operating with a dispatcher. A computer in our office is used by a dispatcher to monitor train movement,switch position, signaling, and freight car movement. Scenery on the layout is modeled in the 1930s-1950s transitional period of U.S. railroading. A time when steam power was changing over to more efficient diesel/electric power. The layout has approx 500 era appropriate freight cars that are staged 24/7 for use with the operations. At any one time members can come down and perform 20+ different switch lists to "move freight" like a real railroad would. We hold large operation sessions a few times a year with other groups that enjoy the operations side of the hobby. The minimum mainline radius is 44 inches. The maximum mainline grade is 1.25%.
This is what the current track plan is with the names of towns. The overall mainline is the same but town names have changed thru the years as well as some industry changes. The eastern most point is Palatine IL and Western most point is Madison WI. Its a point to point track plan but we use the Monona loop for continu
Here is a real world map of the railroad. its about 200 miles from Palatine to Madison. We condensed this down to about 6 scale miles on the layout.
We use JMRI panel pro to monitor and control layout operations. A dispatcher can sit at the computer and see where trains are located and control train movement around the layout. our signal system operates as ABS most of the time but we also run it as CTC when doing operations.
We use Digitrax Se8C with JMRI for signal aspect display/train detection and turnout feedback/control. As trains move around the layout or switch position changes the signal aspects reflect just like the prototype does.
We use JMRI Operations to generate switch lists. This computer program allows us to move "freight" around the layout similar to how a real railroad does. We have over 500 freight cars and 70 spur tracks to ship and receive car loads. The operator simply grabs a switch list and he follows the printed instructions to what cars he is to pick up and drop off at each location.
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