Skip to main content

The 2021 project on my railroad has been installing  signals along my representation of the PRR main line in central PA circa 1952.  My objectives were  scenic and operational.   Scenic in the sense that I hope the position light signals help capture the look of the heavy PRR mainline.  Operational in that the signals will convey to our train crews (in a walk with the train environment) what rules they must follow for safe operation - like not rear ending a train in a occupied hidden staging track.

The scope includes 50+ signals mounted on signal bridge - along with a number of dwarf and pole mounted signals.  The highly detailed PRR signal masts and dwarfs came from Custom Signals.  The pole mounted ones are from AtlasO.  In lieu of using hardware driven proprietary technology, I chose to signal the railroad using relatively new NMRA standards based Layout Command Control (LCC) modules from RR-CirKits.  The boards plug into a ethernet cable in a distributed manor as it generally follows the main line track route under the layout.  The LCC bus length is approximately 150'.  My existing DCC infrastructure and analog control panels are used to run the railroad, while the LCC network monitors activity (block occupancy and route setting turnouts) and control the signal aspects per PRR rules.  The logic controlling the signal aspects is coded using NMRA Panel-Pro software running on a PC and later uploaded to the microprocessor equipped RR-CirKits LCC circuit boards.  Once the LCC configuration data and logic is uploaded to the modules the PC is no longer required during layout operation.   

The project started with a study of PRR signal practice and followed with development of a phased installation plan to fit the track plan and operating scheme.  It encompasses over 55 signals, many of which were mounted on kit-bashed Plasticville signal bridges. Phase 1 signaled the horseshoe curve/MG interlocking approach to a 5 track hidden Pittsburg Division staging yard.  It encompassed 3 signal bridge,  10 signals, 9 blocks, and 11 turnouts.  In March it went fully operational.  Phase 2 installation is in process and covers the 4 track Slope and Alto interlockings on the Pittsburgh Div. route into Altoona.  The signaling logic will be complex due to the many possible routes and blocks ahead of the interlocking crossovers.  Phases 3 and 4 will signal the Middle Div.  and its staging tracks.   At this writing all the bridges and signals are in place - but not yet wired to the controlling modules.  With continued focus I hope to complete the project by this time next year.

I've attached the following pictures of the signals along the route (east to west) to give viewers some perspective on the project.  Unfortunately the glare of LED's in the last few shots is a function of my I-phone's sensitivity - and not indicative of how the look to the human eye.



Images (8)
  • IMG_1763
  • IMG_1765
  • IMG_1766
  • IMG_1751
  • IMG_1754
  • IMG_1758
  • IMG_1761
  • IMG_1762
Last edited by Rich Melvin
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest


Very intense work. You always go beyond the norm with your efforts and your signaling system is no different. I am currently installing the same signals on my layout but have not and probably will not go any further once the signals are operating as intended.  I'm inspired every time I see your layout. Any chance we could get a tour or some run by's? Terry Terrance hasn't done any tours lately. I know he hasn't been in the best health as of late.


As a serious Pennsy Fan, I've always been inspired by your work Ed. The signaling system design is impressive!

I too have decided upon the Plasticville bridges to mount my overhead position signals. They are more delicate-looking than most offerings, (except for the costly brass versions).

I also enjoy the close up photos of your scenery.

2 photos to add - one of a 50 year old Max Gray cantilever signal bridge with a Custom Signals mast, and one of the  LCC control boards for the 12, blocks, and turnouts in the MG Tower/Horseshoe Curve  area.  I mounted the LCC components in pull our "Control Point" drawers to minimize time working under the layout.  There are 4 control points on the layout with the "programmable" LCC modules plugged in to single end to end Ethernet cat5E cable "daisy chain" .  To configure the modules a PC is plugged into the cable when needed.  The learning curve for LCC  was pretty steep but the system is powerful and robust.


Images (2)
  • IMG_1936
  • IMG_1926

Add Reply

OGR Publishing, Inc., 1310 Eastside Centre Ct, Suite 6, Mountain Home, AR 72653
Link copied to your clipboard.