Saturday, April 1, 2017

Panel Progress

Since the last op session in early March, two more panels have been replaced. The panel at Nelsonville took a little longer than some of the others as it has two repeater signals on it. The photo below shows the new setup.

The two repeaters are for the signals facing away from the camera in the photo below. The front of these signals cannot be seen by an operator in the aisle.

The second panel to be replaced is the one at East Yard. It's shown in the photo below.

The engine terminal tracks have now been separated into four power blocks. On the old terminal, there were just two blocks- one for both tracks on the left and one for both tracks on the right. I also took this opportunity to clean up some of the wiring behind the scenes.

To date, ten of the old panels have been replaced with the new, route selection pushbutton controls. There are only three more left- but one will be a major project. The photo below shows the main panel for Hollister Yard in North Pierce.

Hooking up the RCS cards won't be that much of a challenge, but providing power routing for all of the turnouts will take some time. Changing this panel will also allow me to cut down on the size. The new panel will actually be two 8" x 12" panels and will look like this.

The smaller panels will allow me to cut the shelf back to the same width as on either side of the main panel. This will create a little more room in the aisle here. The crews have also suggested that moving the panels to the ends of the shelf and placing the car card boxes between may make it a little easier when working the yard.

But next up will be the panel at the engine terminal in North Pierce. The photo below shows the current panel. The controller for the turntable was an add-on- and it certainly looks it.

The new design will simplify the overall appearance and cut down on the size. I should be able to move the engine card boxes from the front of the fascia to the shelf with the panel. The diagram below shows a draft of the new panel. It will include four separate power districts like the current panel, and like the new one at East Yard.

The three red buttons at the bottom right will be used for the turntable controller. A rotary switch will be located in the center of the turntable and will be used for roundhouse track selection. I'm using the PTC III controller made by New York Railway Supply.

Along with replacing these panels, there are a handful of signals left to build. Once all of this is complete, it will time to start on the CTC board. And as I've said before, that's been the goal all along.


  1. This looks awesome! Lots of work. I hope to visit sometime.

  2. I thought one of the selling point of DCC was that you would no longer need control panels - that all you would need to do would be connect two wires to the track and then run trains!

    Seriously, though, good work, Tom. Nice looking panels.

  3. That is very slick, especially with the repeater signals!

  4. Thanks for the kind comments, guys.