The National Train Show was held in July 2010 in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Association's 75th annual convention. This year I was able to talk to many of the manufacturers at the show and got some audio for everyone to hear with their new announcements. Unlike the Trainfest episode last year, this episode has all of the audio in one long chunk. This episode is about 5 times longer than usual, but here it is.
For this episode of the podcast, we're going to focus on model railroading and save the prototype history and data for a later show. It's October, and now that the days are getting colder and the nights longer, that means that model railroad season is well under way in North America. Model railroaders are home from summer vacations and are getting together to build, operate and just talk about their layouts with each other. Also, model railroad shows are increasing in frequency as we head toward the end of the calendar year. Last week I spent some time asking exhibitors at the Green County Model Railroad Club's annual model railroad show here in Wisconsin for their favorite model railroading tips.
There are many reasons to choose one control system over another, but this picture shows one of the primary reasons that I'm building my own model railroad with DCC. The control panel shown here has one DPST switch for each 10-inch segment of track in the layout's engine facility. Just moving a single engine out of the engine house on this layout could require the operator to turn on as many as ten separate power blocks as well as aligning four or five track turnouts. Using DCC removes the need for the separate power blocks as you simply select the locomotive (or multiple unit lashup) that you want to control; and if you've got stationary decoders on the turnouts, you can also align the route automatically with your controller by selecting just the route.
When you're building a multilevel layout, run the bus wires above the backdrops on your lower levels so you can still get to them if there's a problem. The wires that you run behind the backdrop are the ones that will develop problems; but then again, Murphy was an optimist.