Clinician: Marshall Abrams

CLINIC:  Using Model Railroad Switch List Software
DAY:  Friday TIME8:00-9:00a ROOM:  Berwyn
DESCRIPTION:  This clinic presents computer program used to generate freight traffic on their own railroads. Computer generated switchlists use tables of the cars on the layout, their type, and potential delivery locations. The system generates moves of appropriate cars to appropriate destinations, attempting to avoid repetitious activity. I will describe how I use the RailOp program and also address JMRI operations. 


CLINIC:  Introduction to Model Railroad Operations
DAY:  Friday TIME9:30-10:30a ROOM:  Berwyn
DESCRIPTION:  Model railroad operations simulates the movement of trains on a railroad. Like any simulation, some details are emphasized and other details are suppressed according to the objective of the simulation. There are many choices to be made in establishing the rules and procedures for a model railroad operations simulation. This clinic provides a systematic survey described by Car Forwarding and Traffic Control Systems.

     Car Forwarding can be defined as is the purposeful movement of rail cars from one location to another. Prototype car forwarding is determined by customer needs. Model railroads simulate this part of the activity to varying levels. Two methods are popular for arranging model railroad freight: Car Card & Waybill, and Switch List.

     Prototype Traffic Control is the purposeful movement of trains from one location to another, as determined by customer needs, physical constraints, and the desire for profitability. In the model railroad simulation, we typically schedule or sequence trains. In rough order of increasing complexity, model traffic control includes: Random – run anything, anytime; Sequential – trains running in a specific order; and Timetable & Train Order (TT&TO) – trains run by time (usually using a fast clock) according to rules patterned after the prototype.


CLINIC:  Signals for Operations and Animation
DAY:  Friday TIME11:00a-12:00p ROOM:  Berwyn
DESCRIPTION:  Flashing lights, crossing gates, and trackside signals all provide visual interest to a model railroad. They can also inform the operators about track conditions to guide operations. This clinic describes installing and use of occupancy detection using current sensing and optical detectors used to control crossbuck flashers, crossing gates, and trackside signals and repeaters for Automatic Block Signaling (ABS). Products and installation are discussed and available products are surveyed.

About the Clinician...

     Marshall Abrams' first train was an American Flyer set that he operated until his teen years. His first adult layout lasted about 25 years. Operations were guided by car cards from a panel at the edge of the 5' x 13' layout. When the kids grew up and left home, he took over the 20' x 22' game room. Marshall designed the layout using Cadrail and it was built exactly as designed. The layout is about 70% sceniced And operated using RailOp computer program. Marshall is part of a round-robin group, the Anachronistic Region, that has been operating weekly for about 44 years.

     Marshall has served the Potomac Division in one position or another since 2003. He is currently Publisher of the Potomac Flyer. His biggest joys in model railroading are all the nice people he has met. Marshall is Founder of the Annual Computer Security Applications Conference, where he holds the position of Treasurer.


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