The Superintendent




Welcome, my name is Bob Frey and my “U.P. & WESTERN” HO scale model railroad layout is located in a 30' by 40' basement in a suburb of Milwaukee, Wisconsin known as Greendale. A significant amount of switching is done between these two model railroads.  The Union Pacific is in one 30' by 26' room, and the Western branch line railroads (10' by 12' layout) is in another room. The U.P. layout began in 1978, the Western layout was started by my son Steve Frey in 1988, and was published in Model Railroader, Feb. 1990 Page 128. To keep the two layouts busy, a computer generated preprinted switching operation by Railroad Management System for Windows is used. This is a computer program, better known as RMS3 by Sonora Software of San Diego, CA.  This program doesn’t just move cars around; it moves freight from point to point based on the products shipped by the industries the railroad serves. With ten cities, there are now more than 140 Industries that could be switched from two main yards, and two small city yards. Many of my Industries are named after my model railroading friends. To help new Switchmen, there are maps on the side of my layout with the City name, the Industry names and their track location.

Digitrax Radio Throttles are used for main line running, and the plug-in Throttles are used for switching and yard operations. The two Railroads are basically a loop to loop system, with a 250-Ft. main line and seven passing sidings.

Running a train from east to west, the names of the cities a crew would visit on my layout are: Laramie, Walcott, Baxter, Bryan, Big Island, Alchem, Granger, Ogden, Winton Jct., Steveville, Hill City, Richfield, and Lake Jct.  Both Laramie and Lake Jct., have a reverse loop. When a train enters the reverse loop, the train number is changed. (Eastbound trains are even number and Westbound trains are odd numbers.) At Ogden, there is a closet for staged trains. These passenger or freight trains can come on to the layout, run loop to loop and return to the closet. This provides more of a challenge to the DISPATCHER and the other switching crews trying to do their job.

My railroads had signaling before DCC was added. With two or more Digitrax Boosters, BOTH rails must be completely isolated between each DCC boosters.  Since both my layouts had a signaling COMMON wire all my BLOCKS, I designed a special block detector circuit to solve this problem. This is a “BLOCK OCCUPANCY with 100K Isolation”. This makes for 100K isolation between my signal COMMON any of my five Boosters.  It was published in the NMRA Bulletin, March 2001 page 46.  (See Electronics, Picture 3B). I also use a dark activated circuit for my stage trains to enter the layout from hidden sidings. (See Electronics, Picture 4A). For a very simple circuit, see construction of a “Switchman’s Uncoupling Lantern”. (Electronics, Picture 2C)

This page was last updated 03/18/16