DCC and Electronics  

Introduction documents the development of a DCC (digital command and control) N scale model railroad layout.  The web site is intended:

  • for those who interested in N scale model railroading and N scale trains
  • as a resource for those who are creating their own layouts
  • to show friends and family how I waste my time

The site will eventual include detailed descriptions of some of the plans made in developing the layout and techniques used in its construction as well as links to other useful sites.

The main page will be a selection of random / recent pictures. For starters, that's all the site will be. In the future I hope to have sections with more extensive photos divided into various groups, inventory of trains, scenery techniques, electrical and DCC techniques and links to other related web sites.

Current Photos

Castle and Vinyard
My layout is an eclectic combination of eras and locales that suits my taste for collecting and building anything I like.

Broadway Limited
The Broadway Limited was Pennsylvania's premier train from New York to Chicago. The Broadway Limited ran from New York City to Harrisburg PA under Pennsy's overhead electric system and then onto Chicago using diesel power. Here, in the center, a west bound section has just arrived headed up by a famed GG1 (Arnold/Rapido). An Alco PA/PB1 (Kato) waits at right to take over. The east bound train is at left awaiting the GG1 to take it onto New York.

The GG1's streamlining was designed by Raymond Loewy who also designed the Broadway Limited's light weight streamlined cars introduced in 1938. While the basic center cab and 2-C-C-2 design of the GG1 had already been determined, Loewy convinced PRR to use a welded body construction instead of the prototype's riveted body. He also streamlined and angled some critical curves as well as introducing the gold 5 line pinstripe over Pennsylvania's brunswick green color. The front end view became known as the "cat whiskers".

The Arnold/Rapido GG1 has Pennsylvania's later Clarendon font on the side as opposed to the original art deco Futura font that first Loewy units had.

As part of their Great American trains series released a number of years ago, Con-Cor produced a special edition set of Pennsylvania passenger cars in the original colors designed by Loewy for the Broadway Limited. While the paint scheme is accurate, unfortunately the cars in the set were not all historically correct. The set includes a dome car which not only never ran on the east coast but didn't even exist in the late 30's when the Loewy livery was in use. In addition, the rear end sleeper observation car in the set, the Juniata Narrows shown here, did not have the set of 20 large windows at the rear but rather six normal size windows. The large windows shown on this model were more typical of NYC's competing Twentieth Century Limited.

Out to the Hamptons

A Wall street tycoon has hired the LIRR (Fairbanks-Morse H16-44 by Atlas) to haul his guests out to the Hamptons for the weekend in his NY Central private car.


Who let the F3s out? Woof woof!

Some of America's greatest western trains were often pulled by EMD F3s. Here (left to right) is the Santa Fe Superchief, CB&Q California Zephyr, UP City of Los Angeles and Western Pacific F3's used to haul the California Zephyr on it's western most leg. The first three trains could have conceivably appeared together in Chicago as they all originated there. The WP leg of the California Zephyr began in Slat Lake City so it is unlikely that the rightmost loco would have ever been seen so close to all the others. (The Santa Fe is actually an F7 which is almost indistinguishable from an F3.)

Though the F3 was originally designed as a freight loco, the steep grades out west required the extra traction power of multiple axles and the F3s were perfect for the job. Though lacking a steam generator for passenger service in it's original versions, EMD added them to the F3 B units in later versions.

European High Speed Trains

I've got the full set of Kato TGV's - except the original orange one (ugliest anyway - though it's on the way!). Here's the others plus a German ICE (Fleischmann).

From right (front):

  • Spanish AVE, Madrid - Sevilla
  • Eurostar, London - Paris
  • Thalys, Paris - Brussels
  • ICE (Inter City Express) - Various routes in Germany
  • Not shown (still in box): La Ligne De Coeur Blue/Silver, Paris - Switzerland

I Got It!   SUBWAY!

Ever since I did my first small layout in our apartment in New York, I have wanted an n-scale NYC subway. Over the years I have purchased a couple of Japanese prototypes that are reasonably similar to some NYC subways, but not exact. (IRT cars are actually made by Kawasaki.)

Now I've finally got a real NYC Subway! And in brass!


The brass model above is very rare and expensive. The best alternative I found for a NY type subway is a Japanese model, Microace's A5160 Osaka Port Transportation System OTS series EC 6 car set.

The Osaka "subway" has excellent detail on the exterior but none (e.g. seats) on the interior. The front end is different than NYCTA trains but pretty neat anyway. Though the front coupler is detailed like a modern Japanese type, it's just for show. Between cars are Rapidos but they can easily be replaced with Kato knuckles.

The train runs well enough but not quite as well as Katos (my favorite brand).

One key detail on the Osaka set that makes it viable as a NY subway is the third rail pickup as opposed to most Japanese suburban/commuter lines which have overhead electric. This detail is reproduced on the model though the shoes are not on all trucks and the trucks with shoes appear to be randomly placed on the set. I plan to redistribute them, at least one per car on alternating sides.

As a Japanese model it may be hard to find. Try Japanese Model Supplies. The available items on the website is not up to date so if your interested, email him and ask for Microace's A5160 Osaka Port Transportation System OTS series EC 6 car set, probably somewhere $250 - $300 US.


Coals to Newcastle!

Pair of Conrail GP35's (Atlas/Kato) hauls Canadian wheat. In background, B&O 4-6-2 Semi-Streamline Pacific, "The Royal Blue" (Model Power) with 6 car 20's heavyweight train (Rivarossi/Con-Cor). Cow pasture and tunnel portal shows first section of scenery.




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