Mar 2016

Modeling Prototype Signaling I

Today's post follows my earlier series on prototype signaling (Part I: Development and Part II: Blocks), but it's about how to capture a specific prototype environment on a model railroad. For example purposes, I'm going to look at a real-world location I plan to model, Ochanomizu station and the crossovers just west of it. This is a fairly complex case, as it involves a junction of two double-track lines. On the other hand, it's a relatively simple station without multiple platforms per track, which simplifies things a bit.

The question at hand is: how would I replicate somewhat realistic prototype signals for this location? It's an important question, as I'll eventually need to do it. And determining the right answer is a good way to clarify my understanding of the topic, so I can create similar solutions for other locations on the layout. I may or may not actually do it this way when the time comes, but working through this example now helps clarify my thinking.

But I’ll get into the detail of that in another post. For now I’m going to focus on the signals and related systems around a simple crossover (above) so that I can introduce the various pieces that make up the whole, and explain how they fit together.

I started by studying everything I could find about the real signals at this location, which I wrote up as part of my post about this line. Mostly that involved looking at photographs, although before that I'd studied the MLIT document (PDF) that defines how Japanese railroads are supposed to use signals, as well as checking Wikipedia and other sources. I cover all of that in my prototype Signals pages.