Determing block size and boundaries?

pdavidson Dec 31, 2018

  1. pdavidson

    pdavidson TrainBoard Member

    Just getting into stuff that will require me to establish blocks and I am not sure how to determine block sizes and where boundaries should be.
    When I initially built my N scale layout, I included a lot of rail gaps in the hope that it would give me flexibility when I got around to creating the actual blocks. Also did that so I could break everything up into multiple power districts. Now I am at the point where I need to mash all this together to form blocks on my JMRI panels. The driver for creation of these blocks is for block occupancy detection and to support signals. I not only need the block occupancy info for signal logic but I need block boundaries to identify signal mast placement.
    Some blocks are straight forward since my layout has every turnout electrically gapped from any connecting track. As a result, I can easily make every turnout a separate block so I am not really worried about them. I also have some long sections of track with no turnouts so it seems logical to me to make them a single block. I also have a string of turnouts end to end at a yard throat and it seems logical to make that string of turnouts into a single block as well as each individual yard track as a block. I also have multiple sidings and industry spurs that seem right for individual blocks.
    However, this still leaves me with a lot of track that has a number of turnouts close together where there is insufficient spacing between the turnouts to call them individual blocks and I am not sure how to handle those sections which have a lot of little sections close together.
    My current thinking is that I should go ahead and treat each little section of track between turnouts as a named block so I will have all the pieces named and identified. Then, for signal logic, I should plan to group some of these small (electrical) blocks into a larger (logical) block so that I can place a signal mast according to logical blocks and use the logical blocks for determining signal lights.

    Does this sound right? Other approaches?

    Paul D
  2. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    I would say that it has to do with where trackwork branches such as passing siding.

    sidings are your basic building blocks.

    Other spurs leading onto mains would have signs indicating enter/leaving CTC. I'm no expert, but you wiould likely need some kind of radio and signal permission to enter the CTC area.

    I live near a pretty heavy mainline. There are specific places with extra sidings where I actually see trains get stopped.

    I would say that your block length should be one unit, or train length. On a model railroad it just depends on how much space you have as most won't be running 100+ car length trains.

    Also, try pricing out signals and then see how much you want to add in that is extra. Signals and hardware are expensive.

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