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Phil and Lin Spiegelhalter
Solent G-Scale Group
Welcome to the New Year - which we hope will have good weather and opportunities to enjoy railways, model railways and model making.
This website is not a 'text book' instructing anyone how to make YOUR model railway:
Visiting Garden Railways and Model Railway Shows soon demonstrates that there are many ways of achieving whatever interests the builder.
So what follows are simply examples of what we chose, (and why) for our layouts, at the time.
Some ideas may work across all scales and gauges but others less so, or may appear to be of historic interest but hopefully stimulating new ideas.
Ilfracombe MRS 2022 Still Pictures
Scandinavian Still Pictures and Calendar pictures from 2019
Hollycombe Model Weekend 2019
Somewhere in Scandinavia-Skandi2 Original Scandi Demo 1a/b
new Scene-break Ro-Ro Train Ferry under construction
A Bi-level Train Elevator - Similar to a Canal Lock
NEM pockets - updating my Model Rail Article written in March 2006
Malmsbanan at Hollycombe for Christmas 2013
A Guide to Our G Scale Modular Layouts
Our G Scale Garden Railway + Guides
Isolation-Shift for Analogue CAB control layouts
Lynton & Barnstaple 'Atmosphere'
2D Thomas Watercress 27th August 2012
Ohsabanan Railway in Sweden 2014
2D Brosarp with Steam 6th Aug 2014
Steve's Hambleden Valley - Live Steam Slow running
Anten Grafnas Railway - Sweden 23rd July 2018
Solent G Scale - Wickham Show November 2022
Malmsbanan 4-door layout at Henfield 2013
Cathedral Mountain Railway
Ralph's own 'CMR' videos are available on YouTube
- search for 'Ralph Pitcher' or 'Cathedral Mountain Railway'
| Or Click for:
|G Scale Garden Layout
|G Scale Portable Layouts (mostly seen at Hollycombe)
|Double-deck portable Scandinavian H0 Layout
Beechingless was first started, in 1976, as an 'analogue' CAB Controlled layout using 'Isolation Shift' (see below)
Digitol Gemini Mk4 Pulse Width Modulation Controller with Inertia and Brake Simulation (16Vac 50Hz based)
Back in the mid-70's I designed a simple 'Isolation-Shift' CAB control system in which POWER was applied to the 'Token Block' Sections between stations using mechanically-interlocked 'RADIO BAND' switches for each section: any of the controllers could control one or more sections:
Pressing the controller's button for a section gave it the Token (and power) and simultaneously released any other controller from that section.
[In 'those days' analogue radios had Band Select Switches for LW, MW, SW [ and then FM ]
The terminolgy is still used for Software Buttons with '1 of many' selection.
Click here for a fuller explanation with more drawings about 'Isolation-Shift'.
More on Zero-1 will be linked from here later
Meanwhile, here is a Wiki Link to a US-based summary of zero-1 as a part of the History of Digital Command Control systems
A Selection of our Early DCC Controllers from...
Massoth Dimax Navigator handset = Cabled or 2-way wireless, with images of locos. Controls 2 locos and Accessories
ZTC 411 'Console' style Central Controller - Analogue, Zero-1 and NMRA DCC modes
ZTC handheld (cabled) controller - 2-digit display and 4 buttons restricting ease of use
Expressnet communications adapter ( Din, Mini-din and RG plags used by different manufacturers )
DECT Phone - used via a Lenz adapter provided an early wireless handset
Roco/Fleischmann/Z21 Multimaus - (Red or grey = cabled, blue = Zigbee and now Black Z21 wireless LAN) Loco, Accessories and Graphic displays
Now with Smartphones, Android and iOS tablets offering loco and accessory controls with illustrated displays
With wireless handsets we can operate our layouts when standing behind visitors watching the layout, and also encourage operation by them: aided by the intuitive and easy to hold Multimaus, and a Joystick-controlled Crane for shunting and loading / unloading wagons.
Even if not using DCC for loco control: using the 2-wire bus for controlling all the accessories makes wiring much simpler and especially makes any future changes easier to implement than 'traditional one-to-one wiring from a central control panel'. With modular-layouts using the dcc bus for accessories greatly simplifies the inter-board wiring! [ We use Track dcc, Accessory DCC, 12Vdc and historically 16Vac ]
Accessory decoders are available with outputs for 1,2,4,8 or 16 devices to help keep wiring simple and local; and nowadays, many items like TrainTech Colour Light signals are fully DCC integrated ...
When combined with other developments for controllers to have a wireless remote throttle can offer much of the flexibility of going fully digital. New options also include Hornby's 6000 and 7000 series with Bluetooth.
A Link to our Modular G Scale Layouts
- also check out the Solent G-Scale pages or via the G Scale Logo top right.
Maximising Continuous Running of Multiple Trains
Five or more trains can be running continuously with others operated on a shuttle basis: Upper, Middle and Lower level Standard Gauge loops shown, with Narrow gauge on the upper level and 2 trains in the 'sink hole' within the helix.
A 'Swiss Incursion' of H0m shuttles up to the 4th level, and H0f in the Quarry. [Until about 1973, half of Swedish railways were narrow gauge]
Each level is fed via a PSX intelligent circuit breaker - coping with start-up surges and attempting automatic resets every 2 seconds after a fault.
The 'Test'/Tourist loop in the 'Sink Hole - which can be driven by visitors - is normally operated from a separate DCC system; allowing reprogramming or testing during a show without stopping the main DCC layout.
Clockwise or Anticlockwise Trains can change level without hindrance by using the helix, and then exit in either direction via the triangular junctions
The dcc phase ( called 'polarity' by some, as if it was dc! ) of the middle level and helix is 'fixed', but the phases of the Upper and Lower levels
depend on their 'exit' point settings ( 35a+c on the upper level and 29abc on the lower level )
With the points located on the Helix module, but the power distribution on a different board; a DCC-controlled relays provide the required route-based phase switching; avoiding reliance on Auto-reversers and short-circuits triggers as well as offering 'unlimited' lengths of train.
[ 4 dcc busses are distributed to all modules: Upper, Lower, Middle-Helix and Accessory Bus with 12Vdc and [historically] 16Vac.
The longest operable train is a 3.5metre LKAB Iron Ore Train limited by the length of its hidden siding, and not the size of the helix.
Similarly, while the Test Loop is normally independently powered, the 'Test Loop Access Points' [30ab] have a relay 30c which swaps the source of power to the loop - allowing trains to be driven on/off to the main layout.
Link to 'Skandi Demo' and Skandi2: Somewhere in Scandinavia'