Some of the significant recent developments are things you really can't see!

The new telegraph system is set in the present day but was designed to emulate operations of a century ago so the wires are underground and, as was then the practice, the devices are inside the stations. But there is a real telegraph device on display (not in a station) and it works (with DCC)!

Improvements in automatic scheduling are not visible when the layout is static, but when trains and special effects are operating, the extent and flexibility of these become readily apparent.

And you probably wouldn't notice the new lighting system unless it is pointed out.

Telegraph System

One of the most interesting things added to the layout recently is the new telegraph system. This permits Morse Code messages to be sent automatically to any one of four stations on the layout. As RHJRail is a contemporary operation (with many preserved and historic components), the wiring is underground.

A comprehensive explanation of Morse Code can be found on this excellent website: http://morsecode.scphillips.com/translator.html

Quoting from the above website:

"If the duration of a dot is taken to be one unit then that of a dash is three units. The space between the components of one character is one unit, between characters is three units and between words seven units. To indicate that a mistake has been made and for the receiver to delete the last word, send ........ (eight dots). "

Additional features of the RHJ Rail system include the ability to encode specific messages and set the speed (words per minute) and other factors in the messages sent. For ease of understanding, these have been set relatively slow.

And just for fun, there is an actual antique telegraph device attached to the system which can be used to receive messages. However, the volume on this is somewhat louder than that in the HO stations

The device used on RHJ Rail is shown in the photographs below:

KOB means “key on board” or “key on base”.
A KOB includes a key and sounder.

The technology is not very sophisticated
but this was patented c. 1882.

The whole system is controlled by the RHJ Rail Automated Operations Control Centre (AOCC) using a Windows computer, JMRI, Digitrax DCC, and a number of custom-designed gizmos, many of which are based on mobile decoders.

In fact the Morse Code dots and dashes are generated by flashing a lighting function on and off using a Digitrax decoder. It is unlikely that this could be done using a handheld throttle because the response speed is just too slow. It turns out that computer-generated commands can be sent over Loconet quicker than commands sent from a throttle.

Technical details can be found at Technical - Page 6


New Overhead Room Lighting System

This sounds dull but if fact it is really bright! It includes all new LED bulbs (34 of them!) and LED dimmer switches. It is an attempt to show the layout in a new light!! Anyway, you probably wouldn't notice it if wasn't pointed out.

New Trains

RHJ Rail is always interested in acquiring new trains to run on the layout. There are some and they are being integrated into the automatic control system.

Improvements in Automatic Scheduling

The development of overlapped master scripts has been a major innovation as part of the Automated Operations Control Centre (AOCC). This means that many trains and special effects can be run automatically without having to wait for the previous one to finish.

If you want a bit more detail, see TECHNICAL - Page 7.

If you still don't understand it, then you're not alone. If you're still interested, contact RHJ Rail for further information.


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RHJ Rail is owned and operated by Richard H. Johnson
© Copyright 2016 Richard H. Johnson