|General Information||Technical Information||Neat Ideas|
|Occupancy Detection & Signaling||More things to look at||Crossing Gates|
|Making the Backdrop||Dwarf Signals||Operations & Freight Forwarding|
|Building Down — Steel Frame Construction|
This is the second ARE. The first lasted for 22 years. It was a 5 ft × 13 ft rectangle, closely packed with lots of track. It featured a rapid transit district that was partially elevated, partially on grade, and had an underground stub-end terminal. Views are available.
The current ARE is a free-lance layout; that is, it doesn't model any specific prototype. Nor does it represent a specific time. I say it models the anachronistic era. I designed it using CadRail. It is built almost exactly as designed. The physical drawing is from CadRail. The place names are locations important to my family. Many industry names are puns or personal references. You may want to view the track plan and schematic to follow the place names.
operated to simulate the
movement of cars carrying loads among industries on and off the
layout. There are several schemes for determining the
cars. We used to operate
to simulate the movement of freight among industries. Now we're using
computer-generated train orders. Both systems are described
under freight forwarding.
run from Babel Yard to industries and towns and back to Babel. Local
serve Vienna and Carnegie, interchanging cars with the locals from
Through freights run between Babel and Marshal Yards. Marshal, in turn,
interchanges freight cars with the world beyond the walls via the
Railroad and the Providence & Worcester Railroad. The
interchange track is connecting to Marshal Yard and serviced by a local
locomotive provided by the Westmoreland. The Providence
is a staging track. Both Westmoreland and Providence &
hidden tracks visible from Marshal by a mirror hung from the
Train control is by Digitrax Digital Command Control (DCC). (Click here for information about DCC.) Operations are walk around with the engineer following the train. Jacks to plug in the throttles are located around the layout. Any throttle can control any train. In general, the address the Digital throttle uses to address the locomotive is the first two digits of the engine number.
DCC automates polarity change for reversing loops/tracks. The ARE uses one booster (component that powers the tracks) for the main line and a second booster for Babel Yard (which is a reversing track) and two other reversing tracks: (1) the track from Carol Gardens to Hoboken and (2) the track from the Silver Spring Tunnel to Schenley. Look at the ARE schematic to see where these tracks logically connect.
Two kinds of switch machines are used. Tortoise slow motion machines are used in Marshal, Carnegie, Carol Gardens, Bergen, and New Rochelle. They are activated on the control panels with a toggle switch. The handle of the switch indicates the direction the turnout is thrown. LEDs confirm the setting, powered through the stall motor. Twin coil switch machines, Kemtron and NJ International, are used elsewhere. They are activated by push buttons on the panels with LEDs showing the setting. More information in neat ideas.
The ARE operates as part of a round-robin group, that we call the Anachronistic Region, located primarily in Montgomery County, Maryland. Some of the operating rules apply to all layouts in the Anachronistic Region, while other rules are specific to an individual layout such as the ARE. We meet every Tuesday night at a different layout. If you're interested, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
may be of
to other modelers including
independent loconet power, mounting
under the layout, control panels, vinyl
house siding to
hold car cards or train orders, cut-away
section) tunnel, trackage in the
street, backdrops made using pictures
from the Internet, track
flats, and LED headlights.
Operations & Freight Forwarding
Freight forwarding direct the movement of specific cars to specific destinations, performing the basic function of a railroad. Train orders provides the information the operator needs to run the train, such as train name/number, where it originates, what it does, and when it does it, and where it is supposed to end up at the end of the run. A freight train order identifies the cars on the train, and which industries they are coming from and going to. Movement of trains on the ARE used to be directed by car cards. Click here to see an explanation and example cards. The ARE now uses computer-generated train orders; click here. A clinic describing many aspects of operating sessions on the ARE is available; click here to see it in a new window.
Detection and Signalling
Although the ARE first used track warrants to control occupancy of single track sections, this proved unsatisfactory and was replaced with occupancy detection and block signaling. DCC block occupancy detectors made by by Richard Napper, MMR were installed along with signals kits from Oregon Signals. A clinic about Occpancy Detection and Signaling is available; click here to open the clinic in a new window.
Dwarf signals are used when there isn't room or clearance for a full-sized signal. They are mounted close to the ground and are used as a low home signal protecting the entrance of a route or block of track, for minor trackage within interlockings, as starting signals in passenger terminals, and in yards, sidings and other places so as not to be confused with block signals. The ARE uses dwarf signals to indicate how a turnout is thrown. Click here to open the clinic in a new window.
I've always wanted an operating grade
with flashing lights on my layout. This article describes what I did to
annimated feature. I assembled a set of components. It turned
to be more complicated than expected, but I'm very satisfied with the
here to read all about it.
Making the Backdrop
The ARE has unique backdrops made using pictures that I selected from the Internet. I have written a clinic on how to make your own backdrop. Click here to open the clinic in a new window.
Building Down — ARE Headquarters — Steel Frame Construction
The ARE was built leaving several large gaps, or holes, for future imaginative scenicing. I decided to take advantage of these openings to build down as well as up! I don't think I've ever seen an excavation on a model railroad, so that's what I decided to add. Click here to read all about it.
More things to look at
(opens in new window)
(opens in new window)
(pictures of places and things)
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