Signals are finally complete on the Chilli Sub!
With extensive help from Mike Burgett of Control Train Components, JLC Enterprises and Tomar Industries, the entire Chilli Sub is 100% complete with full CTC, Detection and Interlocking Protection! It was a 14 month project, but well worth the time, money and effort.
I've been working since December, 2004 installing the system and it's now complete, Mike has been busy consulting, designing and programming. We've both learned a tremendous amount about CMRI (Computer Interface Model Railroad). The system is absolutely phenomenal! It will virtually do anything and everything. Since Mike, a Signal Engineer in real life for Canadian National, every little detail, specific to a Union Switch and Signal (US&S) system has been incorporated. Timers, locks, route storage, you name it, we got it!
Tomar Industries was contracted to design special hooded signals which signify new signal installations on the Chilli Sub. I took their basic signal and had them specially build, altered versions to my specifications and then I incorporated them into bungalows for the new intermediate signal sets. The signal bridges are modified IHC bridges, with special Tomar bridge mounted signals added.
Thanks to Mike Burgett of CTC Components, the BNSF Chilli Sub is probably one of the most complex, prototypic installation of CMRI in the country!
Absolute Searchlight Signals: NJ International 3 Head Searchlights with top head removed, mast shortened, finial re-soldiered and re-wired with Tri-Color L.E.D.s. The signal in the left photo is displaying "Approach" and the right hand photo is displaying a "Stop" in the siding and "Clear" on the main.
Intermediate Signals: Modified Tomar hooded signals, mounted in Grant Line bungalows. Note presence of number board (mile post). Intermediates are permissive, in other words the worst indication you can get is a 'stop and proceed". With DCC, this is finally possible! The double track intermediates are displaying "Approach Restricting" (bottom flashing red).
Cantilever Signals: NJ International Bridge Searchlight Signal, heavily modified and re-wired with Tri-Color L.E.D.s. Mounted on stock built NJ International Cantilever bridges, built by Eric Kretz of Bluffton, Ohio. Clear signal, track number one!
Signal Bridges: Modified Tomar hooded bridge mount signals. Mounted on IHC Four Track Signal Bridges, shortened for 2 and 3 tracks. Here we see a "Clear" (left side) on number two track and a "Diverging Clear" (right side) on track number one.
CTC Panel: I built this panel years ago, but never finished it. Now it's complete and is the heart of the traffic control system. The magnetic board is to keep track of 57 staging tracks and their occupancy/availability.
Some things to consider with CMRI:
1. You had better know a Q Basic programmer and he better be a close friend!
2. The system, though very prototypic, is very, very expensive! My original estimate has doubled. A typical OS section will cost between $750 and $1000. A complex OS or Junction may cost $1200 or more. This estimate includes signals, wire, CTC panel, hardware and computer.
3. Do lots of research and design on your layout and keep it's track plan and signal layout simple. The less signals and less complicated the track plan, the better off you'll be.
NOTE: The above items are not to be construed as negatives, I'm simply spelling out some facts before embarking on the most extensive and expensive project you will undertake for your layout.
Above is one of the CVP RF1300 throttles and signal chart (cheat sheet), attached to each throttle.
The best throttle and DCC system on the market today! If you've never tried Easy DCC (CVP) you don't know what you're missing. The throttles are simplest out there, no fancy stuff, just reliability.
See my links page for all the great products and services to add signals to your layout!