The use, installation, and operation of signal systems on the prototype or our models

Signaling your layout with DCC for control/operations

A discussion of the fundamental processes and steps necessary to design and build/install a successful layout railroad signaling system - basic to advanced.

Presentation will include the methods and hardware variations (options) needed to install and operate various prototype signaling systems. Included will be our experience and lessons learned having done/assisted/advised on several layouts in the Pacific Northwest and west coast. Time will be allotted for questions and answers during and following the presentation.

Day Time Room
Wednesday, Aug 26 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Sellwood
Saturday, Aug 29 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Mt. Bachelor

Designing a signaling system with cpNode (CMRI on Arduino)

Chuck and Seth will describe their experiences designing and implementing Model Railroad Signaling Systems and how they have used the cpNode system they developed, to streamline the process.
They will discuss power distribution and detection topologies, setting up signal locations, dividing the layout into blocks, cabling, cost optimization strategies and much more.

Day Time Room
Thursday, Aug 27 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM Three Sisters
Saturday, Aug 29 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM Three Sisters

Cumberland West layout infrastructure


The materials and methods used to support MRR operations. Topics include Hybrid NCE/Digitrax DCC, multi-line phone system; Color Position Light signals; computer controlled interlocking towers; automated running and integrated operations paperwork.

Day Time Room
Friday, Aug 28 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM Mt. Saint Helens

Railroad Flagging - Visual communication on real railroads.


How the real railroads use visual communications past and present. Add these to your model operations to have more fun.

Day Time Room
Friday, Aug 28 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Mt. Bachelor

Layout design for signaling


The use of signals will enhance any layout. This clinic will discuss how signals can be used on a layout, from what signals do to where they are placed, and how they interact with segments of the layout.

Day Time Room
Friday, Aug 28 8:30 PM to 9:30 PM Sellwood
Saturday, Aug 29 1:00 PM to 2:00 PM Mt. Bachelor

CATS: A CTC panel that grows


This clinic is an introduction to the Computer Automated Traffic System (CATS). CATS is open source software built upon JMRI for creating and operating a modern looking CTC panel. The clinic will open with creating a CTC panel for John Armstrong's "minimum-size loop-to-loop" layout, and operated as a magnet board. It will progress to demonstrating how to add occupancy detection, turnout feedback, turnout control, and signal control, in a simulation mode. The clinic will demonstrate other features built into CATS, including train tracking, session recording, train status display, crew management, and rapid CTC panel development for module groups. For a preview, see the August 2010 NMRA Magazine or

Day Time Room
Monday, Aug 24 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Weidler
Tuesday, Aug 25 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM Sellwood

Basics of signaling and automating your layout


The essentials to consider when planning to add Signals or other Automation to your Layout. Includes information on the various kinds of signaling used by the prototype railroads, signal types, and manufacturers. Includes information from the LDSIG panel discussion; "Planning for Signals" presented at the 2009-2011 NMRA Conventions. Introducing The NMRA LCC bus for Signals and Automation.

Day Time Room
Sunday, Aug 23 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM Sellwood

JMRI overview and current status

JMRI (Java Model Railroading Interface) is a "state of the art", open source program for model railroad hobbyists. JMRI is a suite of tools distributed via a single download. The presentation is targeted to show you the areas that JMRI may help you. Ken will briefly cover DecoderPro, PanelPro and Operations so you get a clear idea of the many features the software may provide.

Day Time Room
Tuesday, Aug 25 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM Sellwood

Signaling your railroad - Parts 1, 2, & 3


Part 1 - Fundamental Concepts - Prototype and model

Bruce expands upon Signaling Made Easier series in MR and the Railroader's Application Handbook to cover adapting prototypical signaling to model railroading. ABS, APB and CTC signaling are discussed along with their impact on railroad operations. Clear differentiation is established between block and interlocking signals and speed versus route signaling. Signal placement, compatibility with DCC and how to drive different signal types are addressed. Bruce explains how to use the SMINI card coupled with the power of the computer to reduce layout wiring and system cost while maximizing system flexibility and prototype fidelity.

Part 2 - ABS, APB, turnout control, and grade crossing systems

Bruce explains optimized block occupancy detection and its application to Automatic Block Signaling (ABS). Then, Bruce clarifies how the prototype utilizes "Traffic Sticks" to determine directional movement across block boundaries to set up Absolute Permissive Block (APB) signaling thereby providing protection for bi-directional operation on the same track. The importance of "traffic sticks" in setting up grade crossing warning systems is discussed along with its utilization with a new Prototypical Grade Crossing Control (PGCC) card. Additional coverage includes prototypical turnout control and protecting hand operated switches in signal territory.

Part 3 - Centralized traffic control systems

Bruce explains CTC operations and how it can smooth traffic flow on your railroad. Typical operational scenarios are explained. Straightforward programming techniques make it is easy to "cut-paste-and-change-numbers" to set up a highly accurate C/MRI-based CTC system for any model railroad. Utilizing a standard set of callable subroutines makes the programming easy while maximizing prototype fidelity. Additionally, setting up entrance-exit interlocking plants is discussed along with using dynamic graphic interactive displays to emulate modern dispatching operations.

Day Time Room
Tuesday, Aug 25 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM Mt. Hood
Thursday, Aug 27 2:30 PM to 5:00 PM Mt. Bachelor

Interfacing a computer to your model railroad


Bruce explains how easy it is to interface a computer to your model railroad. Focus is on the Super Mini-Node that greatly improves I/O distribution and significantly reduces system cost. Up to 128 nodes can be distributed all around your layout making wiring a snap. Simply connect any device directly to the nearest node. Only wiring between nodes is a single 4-wire cable. Applications focus on reducing layout wiring, prototypical turnout control, broad range of signaling systems, staging track control, lighting, animation, automation and interfacing to DCC. The result can greatly increase your railroad's prototypical realism and hobby enjoyment.

Day Time Room
Tuesday, Aug 25 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM Mt. Hood
Wednesday, Aug 26 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM Mt. Hood
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