The DataBeaver's Domain

Model railway

"The only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys"

I've had several different miniature railways during my life. The first was a wooden one made by BRIO. It was the late 80s, so there were no fancy features like battery-powered locomotives. Just simple wooden tracks with grooves for rails and equally simple wooden trains with four wheels per car and magnetic couplers. Nevertheless, it was lots of fun for a 5-year old.

Some years later, I got an electrified Lego railway. Being Lego, the locomotive and cars were built from pieces. It had six different speeds, although the highest one risked derailing the train in curves. I expanded it bit by bit for a few years, and at best had six cars, about 20m of track and 8 turnouts. It had rather harsh limitations - there were exactly four types of tracks (straight, curve and two turnouts), and the turnouts had a strange design with one and half curves to one direction and then half a curve back. The turnouts also were not remote-controllable.

Sometime during my Lego railway era, I got my hands on an old Märklin catalogue. I was instantly enthralled by the sheer variety of different tracks, locomotives, cars and other equipment. By the time I was able to realize my dream of getting a real model railway, the system had evolved and had digital control, supporting multiple locomotives in a single power circuit and doing away with a lot of extra wiring. Learning of this sparked the idea of adding computer control and that's exactly what I set out to implement. The other pages in this category give details on my digital railway and its workings.