Audio Episode

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Jim Martin: Jim's radio broadcasting career includes both the private sector and the CBC, Canada's national network. During his many years on air he was a reporter, announcer, news director, talk show and news magazine host, and his favorite part, interviewer. For many years he was also the book review and video review editor for Canadian Railway Modeller. More recently he has been writing articles for Railroad Model Craftsman. He also enjoys presenting backdrop painting clinics to local groups and train shows.

Trevor Marshall: Trevor cut his teeth in radio at Standard Broadcast News, a national radio newswire service in Canada. The radio news writing style has served him well in his current profession as a freelance writer for clients in the transportation, life sciences, and government sectors. Trevor's articles for the hobby press have appeared in Model Railroad Planning, Model Railroader, Railroad Model Craftsman and other publications and he regularly presents model and prototype railway clinics on a variety of topics. He finds everything about the hobby interesting, but is particularly interested in the process that goes into a well-thought-out, prototype-based layout.

Chris Abbott is our Technical Director. Jim and Trevor would still be talking to each other without his help.

Otto Vondrak is our Creative Director. That awesome badge and banner on the site? That's his doing.

David Woodhead is our Music Director. If you find yourself humming our theme song, well - you're not alone. Jim and Trevor have had it stuck in their heads for weeks now. Well done, David!

Life, The Universe and Everything – Including Model Railways

The Model Railway Show

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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.