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Summer 1971 - Page 43


c urrent was fed through the rails of the track; not to power or stop the trains lik e o ur mo dels, but to actuate the trackside signals and a similar signal in the cab of the locomotive to warn the engineer that t he track ahead j ust might be occupie d by another t rain. This system, and other more sophisticated systems to follow, took the control of more than one train from t he hands of individual engineers and signal tower operators and placed it in the safer hands of "fail safe" mechanical and elect ronic devices. Most of the new systems used giant electronic relays of the type used to ring house d oorbells and to co ntrol the e lectric circuits on "a utomatic" model r ailroads. The electrical circuits devised by t h e real railroad's engineers are remarkably similar to those used by

model railroaders to allow them to control two or mo re trains at the sa me time. The o perator of a model railroad has little need for trackside signals or indicator lights o n a control panel b ut t hey do lend an air of action and authenticity to the model e m p ire t hat makes it j ust that much mo re exciting. The electrical circuits and switches needed to control the o peration of two trains and to simulta neously actuate trackside signal lights and , like the prototype, even flip t he track's switches for auto matic route control are too complex to illustrate on these few pages. There are several excellen t books and booklets o n the subjects of multi ple train control, signal, and route interlocking. HOW TO WI R E Y O U R M O D E L R A I L R O A D , at $ 2 .0 0 , offers the most complete reference on the

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