Essex Belt Lines – First operations Day

EBL Signalling Project, Meets

The EBL team held the first formal operations session at the June meet. The team used the recently commissioned CTC signalling system, a full suite of prototype style train order paperwork to authorise movements and for some trains car cards and waybills to direct the movement of individual rail vehicles.

This was a challenging but enjoyable day. it did highlight some development needs to help us achieve the best from the layout, these will be developed as we run more operations sessions.

Signalling Project Update

EBL Signalling Project, Uncategorized

Since late 2014 the Essex Belt Lines has been upgraded to incorporate a full CTC signalling system, with dispatcher control of mainline turnouts using JMRI installed onto a Raspberry Pi 2. In addition to the signalling upgrade this also provides for wireless control of trains using the WiThrottle and Engine driver Apps for iOS and Android.

Upgrades include an accessory bus using a Sprog 3 to drive Harman DCC SC1 signal decoders, along with track occupancy and turnout position feedback using MERG DTC current based occupancy detectors and Heathcote Electronics IRDOT-1 modules connected to Littfinski Datan Technik (LDT) RS-16-O-B and Paco RS-8 feedback modules.

Some modules have been upgraded to use servos and Harman DCC SC2 decoders to control the turnouts.

The Terminal Belt Railroad module also incorporates a local control panel, in the style of a US&S panel, using the new Lenz LW150 input module

Further additions planned include local control panels, to ensure control is available when the computer is not running. To complete the upgrade to the entire layout plans are being drawn up to upgrade the staging yard to include DCC control of the turnouts, detection of track occupancy and signaled departure from all tracks.

Photographs and further details to follow.


For more information of the technology used in this project please see:

Harman DCC :


WiThrottle :

Engine Driver :

Sprog :


Paco RS8 :


Heathcote Electronics :