Train-Tech are always working to come up with ideas to change the model railway hobby for the better; their aim is to produce items that are innovative and cost effective. One of their new releases for 2017 is particularly good; Sensor Signals in OO Scale. This system might sound complicated but it is in fact an incredibly easy way to get a working (and automated) block signal system, with an overriding system that you can add to your mimic panel. You can either have full control over your signals, or leave them automated. Sensor Signals can be used on both DC and DCC layouts.
The Sensor Signals work exactly like a real signalling system; the train passes the first signal, which will automatically change to red. As it passes the second signal the first signal will change to amber, and the second signal to red. However, if you stop your train between the first and second signal the first will stay red until the train has cleared the section. If you have a single branch line on you layout and you run in the opposite direction, all the signals down the line will automatically change to red - working exactly like a block system on the real railway network.
How do the signals know when to change?
This system uses a simple one wire operation to join every signal, crossing lights and accessories together. Because of the wire link between them, the parts of the system speak to each other and work together.
Are they easy to install onto my layout?
This system doesn’t require any soldering. Installation will take a very short whole, adding signals to your layout and then linking them up. Each signal has two prongs on the base with contacts on it. On DC layouts these are connected to a 12-16V DC supply, and on a DCC layout they slide between the track sleepers and connect to the track that way, much in the same way as some power connectors. All of the electronics are contained within the signal, so there is no extraneous setting up - just plug it in and it is ready to go.
The automated function can also be overridden by a Mimic Switch, alternatively they can be linked to Mimic Lights to show.
The range includes everything you need to install signalling on your layout. In the range are 2 Aspect Home, 2 Aspect Distant, 3 Aspect Home/Distant, 3 Aspect Distant, 4 Aspect Outer Distant and also a range of Right and Left Hand Feather Signals and also Signals with Theatre Indicators. There is also a handy Starter Set containing four signals, a mimic switch, and a reel of wire.
Below is a video produced by Train-Tech, showing the Sensor Signals in action on a DCC layout.