RHJ Rail is a large home layout and is a freelanced model railroad influenced by western Canadian railroad operations. One of its goals is to collect, preserve and restore railroad equipment of historical significance.

Features include:

  • Around-the walls design with one peninsula and large viewing area
  • Present-day western Canadian theme with restored historical equipment
  • Double-track main line over 2.5 scale miles long
  • Custom backdrops all around
  • Areas with all four seasons
  • Winter village with operating cable car, operating skating rink, music, Santa Claus
  • Historical park with operating amusement rides, lighting, music, sound effects
  • Downtown street with burning building, emergency vehicles, many details
  • A police helicopter dropping in to Tim Horton's for coffee and donuts
  • Special lighting effects including illuminated moon rising in the east, back-lit mountains in the west
  • The occasional flying saucer, hot-air balloon, and other flying objects (one is red!)
  • Automatic train control and special effects
  • Manual running of trains as required

RHJ Rail is a busy main-line railroad and its operations frequently include long trains as necessary to keep up with customer demands.

In order to handle the busy traffic, an automated control system has been developed over the last three years or so to allow the scheduling and running of several trains in sequence or at the same time.

The design and implementation of RHJ Rail's Automated Operations Control Centre (AOCC) manages the rail traffic on the layout and also provides the ability to incorporate automated special effects into preplanned schedules or to activate them manually as required.

Using DCC (Digital Command Control) and JMRI (a computer interface), the layout does have many special effects including automatic train control, lighting, sound, animation and an historical park with rides and music. Rail fans might even get a glimpse of The Canadian in its classic form complete with a couple of kit-bashed tourist sleepers in the consist.

In operation, trains automatically traverse the layout, stopping at various locations, and the AOCC activates special effects as appropriate, including playing seasonal music at different locations when the Christmas Holiday train makes its annual visit to the layout.

Trains may also be run manually whether or not the AOCC is in operation. Experience has shown that automated operation generally has less catastrophic implications than when trains are run manually (although when visitors are present, this observation might not strictly apply!).

And, yes, there is an app to run trains from your iPhone!

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RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
© Copyright 2020 Richard H. Johnson