|A sign of things to come...medium clear!|
Therefore, one of my life-long modeling goals has been to have a working, dispatcher-controlled signal system on my model railroad. For me, that means scale, functional, NYC-style searchlight signals. Exactly like the one above, manufactured by Integrated Signal Systems. But there were always questions: first, how does that work? Second, once that works, it needs a full-time dispatcher. How then can I have the signals work as an ‘automatic’ signal system for the times when I am running the trains myself?
Digitrax users have the benefit of the fact that Digitrax has a fully functional signal system to choose from that simply couples in to the Loconet cab bus. For us NCE users, we pay for the easier interface that NCE provides by having to use other’s signal components, since NCE does not yet have a working signal control board. In fact, while I am depending on NCE for block detection and layout control, I am depending on Digitrax for future turnout control and for signal control.
The link between the two systems is provided by the Java Model Railroad Interface, or JMRI. JMRI is an open software package available online for no charge, supported by a group of modelers that use it daily. This software allows for computer control of the DCC system and model railroad. It allows a computer interface to program decoders, speed tables, consists, effects, and also provides a pathway to link NCE to Digitrax via a USB cable so that my NCE layout can use the full Digitrax signal system. Plenty to come on this amazing project!
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