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DCC Information pages

Control Systems fascinate me, whether they control a power station, water works or a central heating system.

I've worked with them for most of my career, and model railway controls combine my favourite elements; Trains, Electronics and Computers!

Automated controls can provide supervision over very complex operations; for example, preventing a nuclear power station from becoming a large glowing hole in the ground! However, other than exhibition layouts, or shuttle style operations, full automation they has few applications on the average layout. The prototype, whilst running to timetables, has to accommodate the unexpected (leaves on the line, driver unavailability, and the insertion or lateness of services), this is the primary reason why very few rail systems in the world are totally automated. All but a few have human operators located within the system. Even those that are are of course monitored by real people! Of course, in all systems, automated checks and controls (the most elegant being the mechanical interlocks located in signal boxes, which have existed since 1843 on the South Eastern railway) in order to prevent human error.

The model rail enthusiast faces unique problems however, there is no human operator between themselves and the locomotive(s) on the track. It is solely up to them to ensure safe and correct operation (though the penalty of an error in this case is merely an affront to one's pride, or at worst, a dent in the wallet!. However, our goal as modellers is to emulate the efforts of a complex system involving billions of pounds of equipment and the skills of thousands of individuals - Quite a task for the average evening!

This is where controls enter, whether it's a humble Hornby rheostat controlling a simple oval, or an integrated system of sensors, computers and decoders operating across the internet, they all enable us to drive towards our aim of REALISM.

By browsing through the following pages, we hope you will gain an insight into how and why we have chosen our portfolio of products, which we designed to integrate and compliment each other: