Since 1994 the hobby of model railroading had been undergoing a major revolution in terms of the use of electronics in the hobby. At the forefront of that revolution is Digital Command Control (DCC). Starting with early systems in 1994 following NMRA approval of Standards and Recommended Practices, DCC has seen rapid growth, especially with the widespread availability of locomotives designed to be DCC-ready and the availability of Plug 'n Play decoders for simple conversion. Wireless throttles add an additional touch of realism, as does the addition of sound.
The advanced DCC components now available — such as detection, transponding and signaling — coupled with commercial and/or free software allow setting up very realistic operations on N Scale, NTRAK and T-TRAK layouts.
DCC is a growing part of the hobby of model railroading, and that growth is accelerating. Click here for information on the benefits of adopting DCC for your NTRAK club.
The North Raleigh Model Railroad Club has operated with DCC at Train Shows since 1995 when one member ran DCC on the red track for a couple of hours at each show. Now, several club members are using DCC to control their home layouts (all using Digitrax systems), and almost all members have DCC-equipped locomotives. The Club now operates virtually 100% with total DCC control of the layout.
The North Raleigh Model Railroad Club has adopted the Digitrax Digital Command Control System as have about 88% of all NTRAK clubs that have adopted DCC. The bulk of the information provided on these pages is applicable to DCC systems from other manufacturers.
With the advent of larger and larger NTRAK layouts starting in 1999 it is necessary to plan the DCC setup for each layout with a view to the successful, continuous and reliable running of trains on these large layouts. This effort has evolved from writing design rules based on experience, specific testing and new DCC hardware. The latest evolution of the design rules is based on the Derby City Express Design Specification, and is available from the Table of Contents at left.
This and the subtending pages are intended to assist the Club with this transition from pure DC to a combined DC/DCC environment, and finally to a pure DCC environment, as well as to provide complete knowledge about the design and operation of NTRAK and T-TRAK layouts large and small. As such it is a continuously evolving set of pages, as new material is added based on our experience, and from information published in the various DCC-related Internet mailing lists, DCC system and decoder manuals, and other sources. We hope it will prove useful beyond the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club.