Rail is a large HO home layout
influenced by Western Canadian railroad operations. One of
its goals is to collect, preserve and restore railroad equipment
of historical significance.
the layout last year was the British Columbia Railway
Royal Hudson 2860 which pulled a consist or British
Columbia Railway passenger cars for special tours on the
for the first time was a new semi-prototypical signal system
which monitors trains and adjusts the signals around the layout.
The signal system is controlled by the Automatic Operations
Control Centre which runs on a Windows computer using JMRI,
a model railroad computer interface. Details of how this works
can be found on the website below for those with a technical
interest. See Technical 8. Signal
in operation is a set of replica cars, based on the real
ones as they appeared at Heritage Park in Calgary 20 or more
years ago. These were kit-bashed and painted by
RHJ Rail some two decades ago. The train with
these cars shares the single-track Arrow Park subdivision with
another train which operates there the rest of the time and
automatic procedures enable the swapping of the two trains when
telegraph system permits Morse Code messages to be sent
automatically to any one of fours stations on the layout or
to a full-size, real telegraph key from a century ago. Messages
are sent automatically and custom messages can be written as
layout has areas representing all four seasons; an historical
park with rides, animation, lighting and music; several train
yards, including remote storage and staging areas; finished
scenery; many special effects; nighttime operation; a collection
of restored railroad equipment of historical significance and
many other features.
of the time recently has been spent in designing, installing
and integrating the new signal system with the layout,
improving automatic running of trains and integrating the various
systems together to provide smoother and more reliable operations.
In general, automatic operations have proven much more reliable
than manual ones, but of course when visitors are present, this
doesnt always apply!
New features are being implemented all the time, so be sure
to check the web site for the latest additions.
otherwise specified, photo credits: Richard H. Johnson