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Indicators in Blocks - RR & Co - Getting You Started. - Your Model Railway Club
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 Posted: Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 08:39 pm
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John Dew
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Now I have finished sailing and a (minor) operation is out of the way I thought I had better make some more progress on the tutorial

I have posted this in the general forum for comment before polishing (?) it for the tute.

Save money by using a virtual contact!

Until recently I had considered a virtual contact as a one off device to allow a loco to be tracked into an already occupied block.

In fact it is a much more powerful tool. I have a a number of industry sidings on Granby which I had automatically wired up with contact indicators at a cost of about $30 per siding.

Provided I have two indicated blocks in front of the siding fan none of the sidings in the fan need indicators......all the movement into and out of the sidings can be controlled by a virtual indicator. You can not only finish a schedule in a block with only a virtual contact......... you can start a different schedule from the block as well.

You have to adjust the memory settings of the virtual contact to ensure it remains active while the block is occupied..........typically turned off when the contact indicator for the intermediate block is activated.

I have now set up 5 of the shunting sidings on Granby like this. Used the savings to buy two more panniers:roll:......you can never have too many pannier tanks on a GWR layout. 

Where there is no intervening block you can use a flagman as the sole indicator in a block, using the contact indicator from the preceding block as a trigger...................however

A Flagman Indicator in a destination block will not be triggered if the Contact Indicator in the start block remains activated

When we were working on Max's shunting puzzle this situation didnt arise. The start block contact indicator was deactivated by the loco leaving and thus the flagman indicator in the destination block was triggered.

However, as I found to my cost,  it will not work if the start block remains occupied.

For reasons I will post about separately, I have started putting resistive wheel sets on some of my stock. So when my relief loco left the parcels spur the contact indicator remained activated by a Siphon and PBV.....the loco moved smoothly into the bay.....and continued moving.......no flagman.....therefore no stop marker

I have tried all manner of work arounds but to no avail.........it kind of makes sense

Stop Markers are activated by a time and distance computation based on a specific event caused by a specific loco

Contact Indicator.........loco enters block and activates indicator

Virtual Contact............loco enters preceding block....activates indicator and measurement starts

Flagman......................loco leaves preceding block and measurement starts from moment indicator is deactivated 

 

Any ideas welcomed

Sorry for the rambling email but I wanted to get my thoughts in some sort of order.



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 Posted: Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 09:21 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Hi John

Every vehicle on my layout has resistive wheel sets, because the boxcars all have decoders in them.  I can think of several Schedules in which start while the Block remains occupied.  For example, the loco enters the Block and hooks on to the first of two box cars, which uncouples from the second.

It makes a Train with the loco and the first boxcar and separates the second from the Train.  The next Schedule then starts and the new Train moves out of the Block, leaving the second boxcar behind.

Is that the scenario you are describing?



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 Posted: Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 09:57 pm
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John Dew wrote: I have now set up 5 of the shunting sidings on Granby like this. Used the savings to buy two more panniers:roll:......you can never have too many pannier tanks on a GWR layout. 


 

:thumbs  Spot on -  My favourite "kettle"  - I suspect because of my memories of train spotting with my grandfather at Plymouth North Road watching the panniers shunting while waiting for the occassional main line train - normally a Castle but sometimes a King. 



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 Posted: Mon Oct 3rd, 2011 11:09 pm
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John Dew
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MaxSouthOz wrote:
It makes a Train with the loco and the first boxcar and separates the second from the Train.  The next Schedule then starts and the new Train moves out of the Block, leaving the second boxcar behind.

Is that the scenario you are describing?


Yes  thats it and that part of it works fine......................but how does the new train moving out of the block stop in the destination block of the new schedule (S2)

Some boxes to tick to exactly replicate my problem

Is the destination block of S2 already occupied?

If so what type of indicator activates the stop marker

 

 

 



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 06:36 am
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MaxSouthOz
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It is occupied sometimes, John.  If the Schedule is more than two Blocks long, the VC stops it and if it's only two Blocks long, the Flagman/timer stops it.

I'd have to open it up to explain more, but I have to go out soon as our band has a gig tonight.

Have you still got my latest Track Plan?  It should be an attachment to my thread.

Edit:-    It's in here, John  . . .

http://yourmodelrailway.net/view_topic.php?id=8959&forum_id=151


 



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 08:37 am
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John Dew wrote: Now I have finished sailing and a (minor) operation is out of the way ..............................................
Hope it wasn't too serious John - the "op" I mean, not the sailing ............:roll:



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 03:56 pm
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John Dew
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Thanks Peter......I didnt intend to make a fuss it was very minor compared with some of our other members health issues. Basically it was an attempt to deal with my chronic sinusitis (my lingering Liverpool accent isnt solely derived from my place of birth!)..........it did have the effect of making me pretty comatose for a week and for a while I felt as though both nostrils had been excavated by a rather incompetent JCB operator....................on the plus side  however I found a channel with all the Rugby World Cup Games and was able to watch guilt free:lol:

 



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 04:06 pm
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John Dew
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MaxSouthOz wrote: It is occupied sometimes, John.  If the Schedule is more than two Blocks long, the VC stops it and if it's only two Blocks long, the Flagman/timer stops it.


Its the two block schedules I am interested in primarily,if not all, centred on Block 12.......when you have a minute if you could point me in the direction of the schedule that leaves a car in block 12 where the next schedule is one block long and the destination block already has a car in it.

I have a feeling by luck or good management (surely the latter) you have avoided this scenario......I woul love to be proved wrong

Hope the gig went well and your short skits were well received:mutley

 



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 09:04 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Ah, I see now what you mean, John.  I'll have another look, but I think you are right. I was forgetting Block 5.   :oops:

I was wondering if anyone read those things.  Well spotted.  :lol:



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 09:48 pm
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MaxSouthOz
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Now I think more about it, John it sounds like the problem I was having in Schedule 39.

It will be well worth our while to figure it out - not the least so I can go back and tidy up the Track Plan for that operation.



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 Posted: Tue Oct 4th, 2011 10:28 pm
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John Dew
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Its not 39 Max

Both 39 and 40 (39s successor) are 3 block schedules

41 is a 2 block schedule but I think the destination block (11) is empty



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 06:24 am
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MaxSouthOz
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39 was a two block Schedule, John.  I had to change it to a three because I couldn't get it to work.

I thought that it was a timer issue, but it might be the same problem as you're having.



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 10:37 am
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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 01:30 pm
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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 03:34 pm
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John Dew
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MaxSouthOz wrote: 39 was a two block Schedule, John.  I had to change it to a three because I couldn't get it to work.

I thought that it was a timer issue, but it might be the same problem as you're having.


I think that would be it Max...................I tried a number of permutations to get the flagman solution to work when the start block would be left occupied to no avail................Sadly I concluded TC had no means of starting the time distance computation

Not good news.......but worth remembering 



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 04:11 pm
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John Dew
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brianpr1 wrote: John, a thought on your problem with the pannier, the siphon and the PBV.

Would it be possible to shorten the start block (the spur), so that current drawing wheelsets passing over the new short section, either entering or leaving, would trigger it, but vehicles in the old and now undetected part would allow the detector to switch off?

I haven't followed the whole of the discussion, but if we're talking of a dead end it should work.  If the engine stops on the short detected section then that section would switch off as the engine leaves, giving the change of state that you need. If the section is short enough the engine could stop beyond it but the block would continue to be reserved because the engine would not be detected anywhere else. Then the section would switch on as the engine left and could trigger a VC directly. B&S markers for the incoming engine or train would still stop it as now, even beyond the short section.  It would also give the trigger you need to join engine and train to move the vehicles out.

I don't know the exact layout so the suggestion may be impractical, but if the track layout is as I think it is then it could possibly work.

PS: What is a PBV?

Thanks for the suggestion Brian but I am afraid it will not work. My explanation wasnt very clear

This photo should help

 



 

On the left are three bays for Suburban Passenger Services. To the right of the main line exiting the bays, you can see the entrance to the bay head shunt which accesses the loco service area. Next are two relief locos waiting their turn in the loco spur and finally the parcels siding with a LMS Passenger Brake Van (PBV) and a GWR Siphon ready for loading in the Parcels Depot.

P! in the foreground also serves as a head shunt for the Parcels siding.

I have two ways of effecting the loco exchange........either the relief loco couples to the recently arrived carriages and draws it temporarily into a head shunt releasing the arrival loco before returning the carriages to any of the bays.......fine for off peak but not so good for rush hour........second method relief loco couples with incoming train immediately departs.

I found it was taking too long to get the relief loco from the spur and in the case of P1 the entrance to the Bays became a choke point so I had the relief loco stabled at the end of the parcels siding.......you can see the empty track.......worked like a dream.............B Set arrived in P1 and the moment the schedule was finished and the route released another train could arrive in P2 while at the very same time the P1 loco exchange was taking place

Then I decided I needed resistive wheel sets (see next post) and put them on the two parcel vans.......so the parcels siding is virtually always occupied.......................and for reasons I now understand the exchange routine  using a 2 block flagman indicated schedule will not work.

The solution......that I effected yesterday........split the parcels siding into two detected blocks.................I got the detector for the new block from one of the two that I "saved" when I converted the brewery sidings to virtual contacts:roll:

Hope this was no more rambling than usual!

 


 



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 04:46 pm
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John Dew
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brianpr1 wrote: Your set up of two blocks before a fan of sidings sounds to be much the same as mine, so I am hoping your solution can apply to my yard, too, possibly for the purpose of moving parcels vans etc. between the goods shed and a train in a platform road.

Provided you are running a three block schedule both the start and destination blocks can be already occupied....the essential pre-requisite is that the middle block is clear

I shoul make it clear that I have tested this theory and it works but I have not as yet carried out intensive shunting in multiple sidings.......but I am confident enough that when I start building the goods yard the 5/6 sidings will rely on virtual contacts

(the 5 I have converted so far are 2 in the brwery and 2 in the dairy (unbuilt!) and a branch coal

I assume that you use five VCs as indicators for five blocks in each of five sidings, with five schedules each starting in the headshunt to put a train in any siding and each VC has a schedule dependent condition.


I believe those assumptions are correct......you would have to be very careful with the memory settings to ensure that the VC was deactivated correctly.......I guess you could use that as a schedule condition.
It would be neat and very useful to use one schedule with five end blocks and use train length to control entry, but at this stage I have absolutely no idea whether or not that is just fantasy.
I am a long way behind Brian in  using multiple destination blocks......I am just putting my toe in the water with the Passenger Bays.........but I am sure you idea is not a fantasy.......... .there are so many different combinations of conditions that can be used to exercise a preference

What I don't understand is how you control where the VC timer is triggered. If some of the vehicles have resistive axles then, as I see it, the VC will trigger when the first detected vehicle enters the middle block. Could this be anywhere in the train or do you always have a detected vehicle as the first?  Even if it is the first there is the same old problem of stopping the front of the engine over the magnet.


I think the VC must be triggered the moment the train enters the centre block

When you set up a car you can tick the contact box and tell TC the measurement distance......typically about  1". On a train that is being shunted typically  I detach and attach in pairs with an indicator on the front axle of one and the rear axle of the other.

If I stick to my plan of all goods vehicles remaining undetected and I use a vehicle length of zero then the VC would calculate from the front of the engine and the job would be easier, I think.


Absolutely.......by far the easiest way of doing it.............there is an argument that I dont need them on my shorter trains but I came to the conclusion it was better to be consistent.

TC would have no knowledge of the other wagons.......the train would just consist of the loco......the length of the train would be the loco length........you can start the measurement from the front, middle or rear of the loco

Hope this helps

 

 



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 07:37 pm
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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 09:46 pm
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John Dew
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Hi Brian

Many thanks ........You have got me thinking

There are two quite separate routines

[1] Relief Loco leaves Engine Park and hooks up with carriages in P1

[2] 4-5 Car Parcels train enters P1 and backs partway into Parcel Siding to attach or detach

My original solution was a two block schedule using a Flagman Indicator (rather than a VC) to activate the stop marker in the already occupied destination block.............................if the rolling stock doesnt have resistive wheel sets this solution works like a dream................the problem with a 2 block flagman solution is that it will not work if the start block remains occupied

Hence my solution to create a third indicated block in the centre and use a 3 block VC schedule. Incidentally the new centre block is about 15" long so length isnt an issue......I will typically be using Panniers

However thinking about it the right hand block.....the parcels siding........ doesnt need a contact indicator......I can activate stop markers using a VC activated by the contact indicator in the new central block.(engine park)............so I think I have solved the problem without needing another $30 contact indicator after all.

Going the other way ie Parcels to P1....... I can either initiate a 3 block schedule from parcels using a VC in P1 or a two block schedule from the engine block using a flagman

Brilliant................I think:brickwall 

Anyway I will give it a go and report back......does look as though I have saved an indicator for the goods yard.......I owe you a pint:thumbs

 



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 Posted: Wed Oct 5th, 2011 10:31 pm
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John Dew wrote: ................the problem with a 2 block flagman solution is that it will not work if the start block remains occupied

I just spotted this, John.  I have at least one like this, I think. 

The loco enters the Block where two boxcars are waiting, makes a Train, Separates the far boxcar and then pulls the near boxcar into the adjacent Block, where it stops - using a Flagman.

In pulling the boxcar out of the Block, the Schedule starts from an occupied Block, leaving a resistive car behind.  It travels through the double slip into the new Block and stops, using a Flagman.  Both Blocks remain occupied at all times.

Is this what you mean - or have I confused myself?



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