Our demonstration layout is there to show what computer control can do. It is not supposed to look like a finished model railway, and has no scenery. The key electronic components have been put on top of the layout in an ‘upside down' design which allows us to explain more easily what everything does.

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The layout, which uses a design supplied with Train ControllerTM software, supports a realistic range of train movements. This includes trains moving in both directions, stopping in stations and yards, and entering and leaving a small terminus.

It has a DCC controller: for computer control this could be one of many systems, but we have used Digitrax.

There is an interface from the PC to the DCC command station: this allows the PC to read and generate messages on the command station, and do anything a throttle could do.

The points are DCC-controlled, so the computer can select and change them.

There are sensors to detect train positions. These are mostly electrical (block) detectors, but some optical detectors are used as well.

Our preferred software is Train ControllerTM by Railroad and Co, but a number of other programs are available.