QUAKER VALLEY Railroad - 2006 CTC Panel 

Check out the newest direction for the Quaker Valley CTC panel at http://www.quaker-valley.com/CTC/QV_CTCnew.html

The Quaker Valley Railroad has been developing a CTC Panel using the Panel feature in Decoder Pro for about three years.  My original panel uses the GIF file below as a background.  This was developed using MS Paint.  I copied the background panel used by Nick Kulp which features two separate CTC panels stacked one over the other.  Nick grabbed a good color of green to represent the US&S CTC panels used in the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s.  I erased Nick's trackwork and started over using various width lines.  It was easy to add text and I imported logos for Conrail, the B&O and my own Quaker Valley that I had previously used to label car card boxes.


The upper section of the panel represents the modeled portion of my Quaker Valley line which runs north and south between Buffalo NY, through Costello and ending in Lynnsburg, a town in the hills of Western Pennsylvania between Altoona and Johnstown.  The lower panel section shows Conrail's secondary track between these two towns.  I have abbreviated the staging yard tracks on either side of the modeled lines.  In reality, the yards at McKeesport and Altoona are two ends of the Westbound staging yard.  Johnstown and Harrisburg are the Eastbound staging yard.

The QuakerValleyCTC.gif shows a screen shot of PanelPro with the small "LEDs" for block occupancy and Turnout Plates and Signal Plates for the CTC panel.  The eight turnout plates on the upper panel labeled 201 through 208 actually are live and control the turnouts on the layout.  They're hooked up to a AD4 accessory decoder by CVProducts.  The NCE BD20 block detectors are connected to the NCE AIU auxiliary input unit and are readable to the Decoder Pro program.  All but one of the upper panel detectors are working.  The upper panel indicators show an Eastbound train on the main at Costello with clearance to CP Tara.  There is also a switcher working on the yard lead.  A train is coming off the Kitanning Branch with clearance to CP Warner.


Up until now, the machines moved when you touched the switch plate. The lights above each plate also switched at the same time.   I wanted to add a code button and learn how to make the CTC panel operate more realistically.  Note on the lower panel the #2 signal lever is set for a eastbound move, but the turnout #3 is set against it, hence the red signal.  You'll note three red signal heads in the upper panel.  I'm just playing with these, as the US&S  panels only showed signal indication above the Signal Plate, either Westbound, Eastbound or no selection.

I spent some time in Paint revising the N/R turnout plates to be used as E/W signal plates.  There is also a centered toggle position.  I also created a blank position, with the three plugs for the missing lights and lever.  I added the lights above the turnout and signal levers.  Pretty cool as it is all in software.  I've dragged bits of the track diagrams around as I developed this close to final plan.  It is pretty easy to move the LEDs around to match.  Just change the X and Y coordinate in the xml definitions file.  I saw a "gate" LED on Nick's panel and plan to add a blinking Red "Alarm" whenever the gate into the layout room is open.

Sweet!  And Decoder Pro is freeware.  Thank you Bob Jacobsen, Dick Bronson and the JMRI crew!

Since the screen shot was made, I have added controls for six turnouts on the east end of the panel.  Notice that the track diagram already shows which turnouts are controlled  by each lever.  I was planning to continue to add turnout control for the rest of the Conrail line.  I got distracted with the NMRA Philly Convention in July 2006.

Check out the newest direction for the Quaker Valley CTC panel at http://www.quaker-valley.com/CTC/QV_CTCnew.html

Learn more about the JMRI project, Decoder Pro and Panel Pro at http://jmri.sourceforge.net/

Page updated 12/21/11

Bob Bucklew
Quaker Valley Software

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