The layout is modeled in the transitional period of U.S. railroading. A time when steam power was changing over to more efficient diesel/electric power. This time frame took place between late 1930's and late 1950's The layout is modeled as a single track 360’ point to point mainline with six passing sidings, 2 branch lines, 2 large yards and 3 interchange yards. We are also set up for continuous running for open house events. This gives us 5.5 scale miles of mainline running and about 25 miles total of Branch line, yard and spur tracks. The mainline is signaled with ABS control. with the ability to convert over to CTC control for operations sessions. in total there are around 60 signal heads of tri color or searchlight style signals on the layout The layout was converted to Digital Command Control (DCC) for train operation in 2000, We use Digitrax DCC to control trains. In early 2016 the layout underwent JMRI integration to control the signal system and train detection. It was completed in 2017. The layout has approx 400 freight cars that move freight to and from our 45+ industries. We use JMRI operations to control car movement around the layout. At any one time members can come down and move freight like a real railroad would. We hold large operation sessions a few times a year with other groups that enjoy operations side of the hobby. Bench work is of L-girder construction. Homasote is used as a railroad base. Parts of the layout have hand laid track and hand built turnouts (switches) built in code 83 rail. Code 70 is used in yards and sidings with a few sidings in code 55. The layout has 149 turnouts of which 50 are controlled electrically. There are 3 off mainline staging yards and 3 interchange yard points on the layout. The minimum mainline radius is 48 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 5.5 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 for signal aspect display,train detection and turnout feedback/control. as trains move around the layout the signals change aspects to protect each block. Here we see a stop aspect as a train is in the block its protecting.What's something exciting your business offers? Say it here.
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 400 freight cars and 70 spur tracks to ship and receive car loads. The operator simply grabs a posted list and he follows the instructions to what cars he is to pick up and drop off at each location.
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