North River Railway is a "heads-up" model railroad where the
engineers can give their full attention to running their train instead
of worrying about routing power via a control panel. Three
wireless walk-around controllers allow the engineers complete freedom
to follow the train wherever it goes worrying only about the speed and
direction of travel.
Trackside switch machine control operates the turnouts
right at the switch so the train crew doesn't have to hunt on a distant
panel for the correct control. Admittedly, some machines are too
far to reach conveniently in this manner so some switches can also be
operated from push-buttons on the table front.
Control is by a computer controlled block system.
Tracks are wired as if for a conventional block system so that any
unmodified engine will operate without the installation of receivers of
any kind. The computer uses photo cell detection to detect the
approach of a train to a block to turn the blocks on and off as the
train progresses on its route. Signals display the correct track
occupancy so as long as the engineer doesn't run red a signal, two
trains can pass where sidings permit.
The turntables are also fully automated with alignment
accuracy ranging down to about ten mills (0.010 inch). Pressing
the -CW- button twice will cause the table to index clockwise past the
first track, slow and lock in place to the second and put power to the
appropriate stall track(s) without any intervention from the crew.
Track, turnout and other power
systems are protected against shorts with an alarm that sounds when
shorts occurs. The computer will periodically recycle and
attempt to re-start the system until the short is removed.