Signal help!

Started by 1936ace, April 09, 2012, 01:09:31 AM

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Hi currently still at track laying stage but following my track plan. I have a stack maybe 60 or more of the ratio signals and a few coloured signals(going to have a auto section where i can have some trackside workers installing this new tech stuff). I wont be modelling protypical as i just want to play trains with my son(im not skilled enough plus i've got two rivot counters at work and there is nothing worse then someone saying your layout is wrong) but would like it to look realistic. How do i find where to place the signals so it looks right. thanks heaps in advance


Semaphore signalling seems to be a difficult subject to get into without things getting over-complicated.  There are several books, but I can't recommend any personally because the one I learned from is now well out of print.  You could try (look under "signals"). 

Or you can just post a track plan on here and someone will probably advise.  If you feel really brave then post on RMweb, but you will probably end up starting a vicious argument on some obscure signalling rule, as that seems to be where simple signalling questions on there usually end up!


Thanks for that, you are right about the experts. I asked the two rivot counters today and it went a little too far for me. I want the feel to right as Zac is only three and if people do visit i hope that they will just enjoy playing trains. I will try and get a plan here, not too sure if i can get it on here but will give it a go, might have to ask one of my crew on shift as he is pretty switched on with computer stuff


In truth you can't accurately signal most train sets, because signalling is designed to allow and protect (ie avoid unfortunate cockups with) the train movements designed to occur, and not necessarily arbitrary actions.

In addition signals (even distants and starter signals) are well spaced so in scale terms often one in your layout room and the other in the house next door !

For a kids layout I'd start with signals at places that are operationally fun and obvious to work (eg at the end of platforms to set trains running), or at a junction. If the rivet counters come back then remind them that the curves are way too sharp and the train isn't running on real steam. If that fails buy a Thomas The Tank Engine loco!

There is a place for rivet counting and finescale modelling but I've also met some really annoying people who insist on pointing out stuff when it makes no sense. Strangely they've usually never done any finescale modelling in their lives !


"Knowledge has no value or use for the solitary owner: to be enjoyed it must be communicated" -- Charles Pratt, 1st Earl Camden


From what I've learned about semaphore signalling there are three basics:

Starters - like at the end of a platform.

Distants - which warn you what the next starter is set at so you know if you need to slow down in advance of them.

Shunting - to release trains from sidings onto the mainline, or to allow trains to reverse on the mainline.

I'm sure a mixture of the above will be a good compromise between satisfying your rivet friends and making your layout more visually interesting to operate as well :)


I Allan, totally agree there is a place qand i wish i could model scratch build like the best but i cant and being realistic dont have the time with a young family and working away from home at the fire station efvery four days so i do the best i can and enjoy playing trains even if they are not weathered
thanks everyone for your advice i feel i should be ok but will post a track plan once i work out how to do it


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