A question about the history of MRR

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by ezdays, Mar 8, 2008.

  1. abutt

    abutt Member


    I had a friend years ago in Mass. He ran the "Keystone Canyon", 'O' Gauge, outside third rail, powered by huge batteries that I believe were submarine batteries. His name was Phil Bridges, and he goes way back. A good friend of Frank Ellison's, even ran Delta Line engines and rolling stock. Now, this would have been DC, right? I have many pics, even showing much younger me running the railroad. I don't recall the pics showing under the layout and the batteries, but I'll look more carefully. The amount of work Phil did blew my mind...the transitions across turnouts were as smooth as silk. We were running before 1950.
  2. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    If batteries were involved, it was almost certainly DC.

    The difference between AC & DC is that AC provides a constant potential difference (voltage) while AC goes up and down...with the reported potential difference being the average of these alternating peaks and valleys. For AC, the motor fluctuates (60 peaks per second in North America, 50 in Europe) up and down...just like a DC locomotive operating on a DCC layout...this is why a DC engine hums on DCC track...quite similar to my old stratocaster.

    That old 3rd rail on the side DC sure was a cool way to run trains. Here in Cincinnati, our power company (Duke, previously CG&E) has assembled a large O scale layout like that in their lobby every year at Christmas for more than 60yrs. The have 3 B&O 2-8-8-4s as well as 4-6-2s, modern diesels, and Thomas the Tank Engine...all fitted for that old system.

    Speaking of old layouts...how's this...1912...sorry the layout's out of focus...my worst day of photography in the past 2 years occurred at the York's NRM...being that my last name is York...it is so appropriate to have the largest rail museum in the world in York :mrgreen:...

    Attached Files:

  3. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    I would not call Astrac DCC. There wasn't anything Digital about it. If I recall correctly, it used different AC frequencies. Each loco had a bandpass filter for its frequency, and then rectified the signal to drive the loco. I'm not quite sure how they dealt with direction, perhaps each "decoder" was tuned to two frequencies? I will have to try to find out!

    I thoought a bit more about this, and what I recall. I think there was a main AC freqeuncy to proviode the power, overlaid with others to provide the control, in other words to control the rectifiers.
  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    Check November & December 1963.

    There was also a brief article on it in MR for June 1999.
  5. baldwinjl

    baldwinjl Member

    There was a fairly large section in the "Complete Book of Model Railroading", from the 60's. I think I can find it later.
  6. e-paw

    e-paw Member

    :genius2:I believe there was an early version of a command control system called "0 1" that came from great Britain. I don't believe it worked the same as dcc or had the same options, but it was a starting point for that type of control . I think it came out around the 1970's or early 80's. does anyone else remember this system?:confused:
  7. The book is By David Sutton and the last chapter is about Astrac-(automatic simultaneous train control) basically is intermediate-frequency radio waves on a carrier control basis. Very similar to model plane but using intermediate instead of high frequency. DCC is quite different. Astrac runs in AC at about 16 to 20 volts.
  8. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    01 was Hornby's command control system. It was done in by DCC and lack of other manufacturers.

    6V batteries are still available. In the RV world there is discussion of the virues of 2 x 6V vs 12V batteries.
  9. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There's a show on tomorrow night on the HISTI channel on the history of Toy Trains... I think it's called Voyages. It's on once in the morning and once in the afternoon, so I'm recording it on the DVR. Maybe they'll fill in some of these blank spots.
  10. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I'm sure it won't cover any of our model trains, for we all know that they're models and not to be confused with toys:twisted:
  11. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I have a December 1980 issue of Model Railroader and they were starting a series on CTC-16 which was a type of "command control".
  12. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    Well, you're just about 100% correct. The show was informative, but it was really about the history of Lionel. I did glean a few dates out of it, but I found them all on the Internet anyway.

    Bottom line: I didn't use too many dates in my article, just some generalities to give a sense of order of things. You can read the finished article in the April edition of The Mountain Signal if you happen to be around Tehachapi, CA, or I'll add it to my blog sometime in May. My blog here is a collection of all the articles I've written for that newspaper.

    Thanks everyone for your inputs.:thumb:

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