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New Signals & Interlockings Book

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New Signals & Interlockings Book
Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Monday, April 19, 2021 6:49 AM

For those who may not know, there is a brand new Kalmbach book that looks to be very handy, Signals & Interlockings by Dave Abeles.  This is an extra long book at 144 pages that I stumbled across at my LHS last week.  I paged thru it and it looks like a great resource.  I added it to my birthday list!

https://kalmbachhobbystore.com/product/book/12824

 

Andy

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 8:57 AM

Yes I've had mine a couple of weeks now, I preordered it when Kalmbach announced it. I've only skimmed through it at this point but it looks very good. I like that it has goes into detail about using a computer to control detection and signalling via JMRI.

Stix
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Posted by richhotrain on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 9:18 AM

Stix, is this book intended for DC users, or DCC users, or both?

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 10:18 AM

wjstix
Yes I've had mine a couple of weeks now, I preordered it when Kalmbach announced it. I've only skimmed through it at this point but it looks very good.

It the book all-new material, or a collection of old articles?

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Saturday, April 24, 2021 3:02 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
wjstix
Yes I've had mine a couple of weeks now, I preordered it when Kalmbach announced it. I've only skimmed through it at this point but it looks very good.

 

It the book all-new material, or a collection of old articles?

-Kevin

 

Good question.  I was waiting hoping someone would know.  It's ALL new to me since I'd been out of the hobby for so long before 2019.  So I will be getting the book irregardless but others might like to know if you are on to something with your question...

Andy

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, April 24, 2021 3:25 PM

Here is a review, I haven't had time to watch.

Henry

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Posted by Harrison on Saturday, April 24, 2021 3:33 PM

For those who don't know, Dave has a blog and talks more about the book here:

 https://onondagacutoff.blogspot.com/2021/03/the-book-has-landed.html

 

Harrison

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 7:09 AM

BigDaddy

Here is a review, I haven't had time to watch.

 

Thanks for the link, Henry.

This is a 13 minute, 18 second video that covers the book, chapter by chapter. The narrator does an excellent job of going through the book in a professional manner.

Watching the video will be worth your time. It is highly informative.

The narrator even provides some critique about the book's shortcomings, namely some misplaced photos and some grammatical errors, but these shortcomings are slight.

The narrator compares this book to Andy Sperandeo's book on Freight Yards in terms of a significant contribution to the hobby of model railroading. That is quite a statement in my opinion.

Rich

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, April 25, 2021 3:10 PM

richhotrain
The narrator compares this book to Andy Sperandeo's book on Freight Yards in terms of a significant contribution to the hobby of model railroading. That is quite a statement in my opinion.

If you are referencing his comments at 10:50

I didn't come away with the same conclusion. I thought the reviewer was saying that the editors dropped the ball by letting a few small mistakes slip into the final copy. He says the Freight Car book, unfortunately out of print, one of his favorites, typically well edited as are other Kalmbach books.

I found a copy at a discount book seller so I'll check it out first hand.

I really enjoy seeing "functional" signals on my layout.

Regards, Ed

 

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Posted by nealknows on Sunday, April 25, 2021 3:19 PM

I know the question was asked and I don't remember seeing a clear answer. Is the book a comilation of old articles from MR or Trains, or is it all new material. I'm interested in getting the book, but waiting to see what others have to say besides the one review, which IMO, may be a paid promotional video..

Neal

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 3:35 PM

gmpullman
 
richhotrain
The narrator compares this book to Andy Sperandeo's book on Freight Yards in terms of a significant contribution to the hobby of model railroading. That is quite a statement in my opinion. 

If you are referencing his comments at 10:50

I didn't come away with the same conclusion. I thought the reviewer was saying that the editors dropped the ball by letting a few small mistakes slip into the final copy. He says the Freight Car book, unfortunately out of print, one of his favorites, typically well edited as are other Kalmbach books.

I found a copy at a discount book seller so I'll check it out first hand.

I really enjoy seeing "functional" signals on my layout.

Regards, Ed 

Well, this may be a question of interpretation, Ed. 

The narrator specifically cites Andy's book on Freight Yards as a "great reference" book, and it is the only other Kalmbach book that he mentions by name.

True, those comments are embedded within a reference that the narrator makes to misplaced photos and some grammatical errors in the Signals and Interlocking book (which I mentioned in my earlier reply). But the comment that the Freight Yards book was a "great reference" book was clear and certainly not made simply to make a point that the Freight Yards book was better edited. 

Rich

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Posted by richhotrain on Sunday, April 25, 2021 3:38 PM

nealknows

I know the question was asked and I don't remember seeing a clear answer. Is the book a comilation of old articles from MR or Trains, or is it all new material. I'm interested in getting the book, but waiting to see what others have to say besides the one review, which IMO, may be a paid promotional video..

Neal 

I cannot answer that question. The narrator did mention some shortcomings in the Signals and Interlockings book, so he had a chance to comment on old articles and photos but he did not do so. But, your concern is valid.

Rich

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Sunday, April 25, 2021 6:30 PM

Either way (rehash of old articles, or new material), there must be enough people out there exploring this topic for the first time that the book is now sold out on Kalmbach's site.

One clue that makes me think this is new material: the author notes on his blog that it is his first book.  Ever.  And it's based on a lot of experience and research.  Sounds to me like it's not a book that simply collates a bunch of old articles.

Andy

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Posted by gmpullman on Sunday, April 25, 2021 9:29 PM

Having an informative book is a good step in the right direction but if there aren't decent, affordable signals and hardware available the budding modeler is going to be in a tough spot.

Over the years I've gathered much of what I anticipated I would need to have a fair representation of signals. Most of what I have is no longer available today or if it is it commands a budget-wrecking price.

One of my sources for reasonable and good looking signals in HO is products from Oregon Railway Supply. In fact I'm currently assembling PRR position light signals for a four track bridge with eight heads on it.

 IMG_2679 by Edmund, on Flickr

This is another Oregon bridge kit:

 IMG_2666 by Edmund, on Flickr

 LED_Signal-head-1 by Edmund, on Flickr

Another bridge was finished up last week with three-color SMD heads.

 Signal_DB-west by Edmund, on Flickr

My favorite control is the Signal Animator from Logic Rail. For about $25 each you can have three indications and detection through IR LEDs imbedded between the ties.

This is a "temporary" (needing clean-up) assembly for the three-head, two direction bridge. I also tie these into the turnout and also proviide a direction-of-traffic switch. Nothing worse than seeing a green signal with an opposing train approaching.

 IMG_6236 by Edmund, on Flickr

Other manufacturers, NJ International, BLMA, Model Memories, Atlas, Tomar have spotty availability at best. Anyone just starting out may have a tough time rounding up supplies or they may have to hone scratchbuilding skills. Shapeways may be a good source for heads and trackside structures, which is a plus.

 IMG_2728 by Edmund, on Flickr

 Signal_11-21oh by Edmund, on Flickr

 NYC_6103_GP20b by Edmund, on Flickr

 IMG_8220 by Edmund, on Flickr

Good Luck, Ed

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, April 25, 2021 10:03 PM

The signals look good Ed!

Dave

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Posted by nealknows on Monday, April 26, 2021 8:57 AM

Ed,

You've done a superb job on your signals, especially the PRR ones you show here. While I run modern, I'm still a fan of Pennsy signals and had some custom made for me to install on the layout.

I agree there's a shortage of signals out there. Nice you have the skillset to make them. I enjoy installing them and having them working as I dispatch trains so the signals are controlled manually at the panels. Building them from a kit or 3D is above my pay grade.

Please keep posting photos, I enjoy seeing your work!

Neal

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Posted by wjstix on Monday, April 26, 2021 9:32 AM

As I said earlier, I haven't had a chance to sit down and read the book cover to cover, but it doesn't look to me like it's one of those 'collection of previous articles' books. It starts out talking about the history of prototype signals, then adding a manual signal system, then discusses the various detection methods like infrared, track detection, etc., then how to integrate the detection system you've set up into a computer-based signal system using JMRI. Only thing I saw that looked like a previous MR article was the last chapter (actually an apendix), which went over building a working interlocking system using scaled-down manual interlocking levers.

Stix
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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, April 26, 2021 5:14 PM

If it was a compendium of articles, the author would have to give all the previous authors credit and perhaps royalties.

Henry

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Monday, April 26, 2021 7:32 PM

BigDaddy

If it was a compendium of articles, the author would have to give all the previous authors credit and perhaps royalties.

 

Another good point.  Abeles also says on his blog that the book is based on his own experience with his layout.

Andy

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Monday, April 26, 2021 8:21 PM

So I watched the video, which is hard for me, and I read the info on his site.

I might pick up a copy just because it looks well done, but I seriously doubt it would change the way I build my CTC or signaling systems.

After reading everything about signals published in MR or RMC, and reading a number of other books and articles, I developed a signal system largely based on Bruce Chubb's original relay based signal system before he developed CMRI.

But, I took the advice of several other modelers, and I only model the interlocking/control point signals, and I do not fully model "yellow" or "approach" aspects. and I do not model any ABS functions between control points.

So, an "absolute stop" at one interlocking does not produce a "yellow" at the next interlocking behind. It does produce a yellow "approach" for an approach signal half way between the two interlockings.

And of course "yellow" indications are used at interlockings for speed restricted routes.

My CTC panel is simplified, no full blown CTC levers with multiple actions required.

Lighted pushbuttons set routes, and assign routes to throttles, which clears the signal if occupancy is clear. So moving a train along to the next block or two only requires pushing a few buttons, wihch lightup to show routes and assignments.

All the logic is done with detectors and relays, the same relays that operate the turnouts have extra contacts for the signal logic.

A simple logic chain of relay contacts:

Detector relay contact - in the block available?

Turnout relay or relays  - is the route set conecting the two blocks?

Authority test - are the connected blocks set the the same throttle?

When all three test yes, the signal goes "clear", other wise it is "stop"  

The dispatcher sees detection indications, and so will operators around the layout on several "statis panels". Hard or imposible to see signals will be repeated on panels, impossible to see signal heads will not be lit but will just apear on panels - kind of like cab signals.

IF there is no dispatcher on duty, the layout can be run locally from the local towers, and the signals will act as if the dispatcher was controlling them.

Since the Railroad is freelance, I decided on simple color light signals, no targets, no position lights.

Detection is Dallee inductive current sensing detectors, with their carrier system for stopped trains (this is a DC layout). All trains have lighted/resistance cabooses/last cars, there are no resistance wheel sets as the Dallee system is not that sensitive. But being inductive it is totally isolated from the propulsion power.

No need for computers, processors, sensors. Just relays clacking, just like in 1954.......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by wjstix on Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:02 AM

BigDaddy

If it was a compendium of articles, the author would have to give all the previous authors credit and perhaps royalties.

 

 
Kalmbach books that are made up of old articles always say that in the front pages of the book, "A collection of articles previously published in Model Railroader magazine" or something along those lines. I believe those books also have an 'editor' rather than an 'author'. 
 
In any case, this is NOT a collection of prior articles, except the one in the appendix at the back on building a scaled-down working manual interlocking system, which I believe was in MR maybe 10 years ago or so.
 
(BTW since MR/Kalmbach is publishing the book, if it were a collection of previous MR articles, I don't know that they'd have to pay royalties to anyone? Most magazines say when they buy a photo or article that they own the right from that point on to use it however they see fit.)
Stix
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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 10:43 AM

I couldn't resist. The book sounded way too interesting, so I bought it and Amazon delivered it yesterday.

I plan to start reading it in detail today, but I did spend some time yesterday skimming through the book.

It is 144 pages, divided into seven chapters, the titles of which I can paraphrase as follows:

  • Prototype History
  • Signal System Basics
  • Manual Signal System
  • Train Detection
  • Wiring Signals on a Layout
  • Interlocking 
  • Controlled Signals

There is no rehash of old articles. This is all new original content written by the author. The text is augmented by black and white photos from the past, current color photos of the prototype as well as selected layouts, and a host of diagrams and drawings which appear to be excellent.

One chapter that particularly interests me is the chapter on interlocking, something of which I know very little. The chapter distinguishes between and compares interlocking and junctions. The coverage is excellent on controlling and signalling interlocks.

There is a brief Bibliography at the end of the book that cites books, periodicals and websites. There is also an Appendix on scratchbuilding mechanical interlocking and signal controls. This Appendix can effectively be considered Chapter 8. One thing that really caught my attention is the scratchbuilding of a miniature working interlocking machine, complete with miniature levers. Let me at it!

Rich

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Posted by BigDaddy on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 11:44 AM

Someone used to sell those little levers but I think they are out of business.  I did watch the video, Ron does a good job.  His day job is a pastor.

Henry

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 11:45 AM

The photo on the cover reminds me of something:

Signal heads are not installed aligned with the adjacent track.  They are aligned with the line of sight of approaching operators.

Here's a pretty good example:

https://www.wsws.org/asset/8d405fd9-728d-48e2-b581-e7d699f91a2J/rail-signal.jpg?rendition=image480

 

It's pretty unusual to find signals placed on curves on the prototype.  I had a bit of trouble finding the above example.  My recollection is that there's some on the Cajon Pass route.  Winding trackage STILL needs to be signaled.

But.

Model railroads have a LOT more curved track than real railroads.  So you might be placing a signal on a curve.  As I have.

 

 

Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 12:08 PM

wjstix
In any case, this is NOT a collection of prior articles

Thank you for the answer.

I am going to buy the book.

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 12:17 PM

7j43k

The photo on the cover reminds me of something:

Signal heads are not installed aligned with the adjacent track.  They are aligned with the line of sight of approaching operators.

Here's a pretty good example:

https://www.wsws.org/asset/8d405fd9-728d-48e2-b581-e7d699f91a2J/rail-signal.jpg?rendition=image480

 

It's pretty unusual to find signals placed on curves on the prototype.  I had a bit of trouble finding the above example.  My recollection is that there's some on the Cajon Pass route.  Winding trackage STILL needs to be signaled.

But.

Model railroads have a LOT more curved track than real railroads.  So you might be placing a signal on a curve.  As I have.

 

 

Ed

 

Yes, rare, but I have seen prototype signals set farther away from the track on curves and angled to be seen from farther back down the line.

I think I might have to spring for a copy of this.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ROCK MILW on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 1:55 PM

I just picked up that new Kalmbach book and am looking forward to reading it. I'm just about through a 1979 General Railway Signal 'Elements of Railway Signaling' book that is chock-full of cool information on the relay designs for wayside signals, cab signals, ATC, ATS, crossing flashers/gates, and more. Fun stuff.

 

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 2:26 PM

I've started reading it now, I'm a couple of chapters in. Lots of good information.

BTW the Appendix on building a miniature mechanical interlocking says it's from Jeff Wilson's The Model Railroaders Guide to Junctions, although it seems to me it had been an MR article at some point in the past too(?)

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Posted by The Milwaukee Road Warrior on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 7:38 PM

richhotrain
One thing that really caught my attention is the scratchbuilding of a miniature working interlocking machine, complete with miniature levers. Let me at it!

Yes I thought the same thing!  What a cool idea.  Would be a lot of fun to have on a layout - for people without little kids and/or cats.... (Ed)

Andy

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 8:36 PM

richhotrain

I couldn't resist. The book sounded way too interesting, so I bought it and Amazon delivered it yesterday.

I plan to start reading it in detail today, but I did spend some time yesterday skimming through the book.

It is 144 pages, divided into seven chapters, the titles of which I can paraphrase as follows:

  • Prototype History
  • Signal System Basics
  • Manual Signal System
  • Train Detection
  • Wiring Signals on a Layout
  • Interlocking 
  • Controlled Signals

There is no rehash of old articles. This is all new original content written by the author. The text is augmented by black and white photos from the past, current color photos of the prototype as well as selected layouts, and a host of diagrams and drawings which appear to be excellent.

One chapter that particularly interests me is the chapter on interlocking, something of which I know very little. The chapter distinguishes between and compares interlocking and junctions. The coverage is excellent on controlling and signalling interlocks.

There is a brief Bibliography at the end of the book that cites books, periodicals and websites. There is also an Appendix on scratchbuilding mechanical interlocking and signal controls. This Appendix can effectively be considered Chapter 8. One thing that really caught my attention is the scratchbuilding of a miniature working interlocking machine, complete with miniature levers. Let me at it!

Rich

 

Interlockings really are the heart of how trains are controlled on the big railroads.

And, just my opinion, it is the only part of signaling we really need on our model layouts.

We don't have long runs of track thru the country side where multiple trains will follow each other for dozens or even 100 miles.

We are lucky if we have a scale mile between logical junctions/interlockings/control points. 

Anyway, I'm getting ready to order a copy to add to my extensive library on signaling....

Sheldon

    

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