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Life, The Universe and Everything – Including Model Railways
In this episode…
Don Goodman-Wilson, member of the group developing protocols for NMRAnet.
John Landis, builder of the Illinois Tunnel Company Railroad in 7/8n2.
Next generation layout control
The popularity of DCC really took off after the National Model Railroad Association adopted a protocol to allow any DCC system to work with any decoder, regardless of who manufactured it. This made it possible for locomotive manufacturers to install decoders at the factory, confident they would work on any customer’s layout.
Now, the NMRA is working on NMRAnet – a protocol to govern other aspects of layout control, such as signalling, switch machines, layout and room lighting, and more.
The protocols that will be adopted for NMRAnet are being developed by The OpenLCB Project – and one of its members, Don Goodman-Wilson, joins Trevor to explain NMRAnet, how it’s different from DCC, and what it will enable layout owners to do.
Don points out that NMRAnet Working Group has a newsgroup that allows interested model railway enthusiasts to keep up to date on the development of the protocol. He also notes The OpenLCB Project is always interested in hearing from modelers who want to help develop the protocols, and runs its own newsgroup for that work. And he discusses some of the NMRAnet-compliant products that he offers through his company, Railstars.
Railroading Under The Streets of Chicago
John Landis dug deep for prototype inspiration for his layout – 40 feet below the streets of the Windy City, in fact.
John’s 7/8″ scale, two-foot gauge model railway captures the fascinating, but little-known, workings of the Illinois Tunnel Company Railway – an electrified line that delivered packages between major buildings and key railroad freight houses in Chicago, away from the congestion at street level. This unique line also delivered coal to heat these buildings, and hauled away the ash for disposal.
John’s layout has been featured in several publications, including the Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette. He joins Jim to discuss why he decided to model this line, why he chose 7/8n2, the challenges of modeling a prototype that never saw the light of day… and future plans for his layout.
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Episode 42 (mp3)
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Next time on The Model Railway Show:
Trevor talks to Marty McGuirk while Jim speaks with Joe Giannovario, as The Model Railway Show investigates the future of high-volume manufacturing for the model railway hobby.