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After showing Wallerawang at the 50th Anniversary AMRA exhibition at Liverpool, our group took our customary break before reconvening to work on the signals. View of the resistance soldering iron showing the front panel, carbon tip, footswitch and ground lead.
Rear view of the resistance soldering iron, showing the computer power supply, timer circuit, and automotive relay. The single-post lower quadrant signals were constructed as per the kit instructions, with a slight modification to allow wires for 1.8mm warm white LEDs to run down inside the post (the LEDs are also from Gwydir Valley Models and come pre-wired). View detailsBLOCKsignalling is a professional manufacturer of model railway electronics accessories based in the UK. One part of real-world railways that is fascinating is the signalling necessary to make operations safe and efficient. A few days ago I came across a fantastic reference by one Carsten Lundsten about how signalling is done in North America. Rather than blathering on about which rule number a signal represents or what speed limits are, these documents concentrate on how signalling systems protect trains and how they have improved over time to provide greater automation and flexibility. In order to solder some of the trickier parts of the posts together, a resistance soldering iron was made from items mostly found in the scrap box. The 5V supply rails go through an automotive (12V) relay, controlled by a timer, to the tip. The black wires go straight to the green ground post on the front panel (an old control panel for a layout), the red 5V wires go to the relay and then onto the carbon tip.

Before the introduction of coloured light signals, Wallerawang predominately had lower quadrant semaphores, with one upper quadrant signal at the Sydney end of the Up platform. Every signal arm has been made so that it can move, and warm white LEDs added to light the spectacle plates. Please study the photos.The roof fits well, although it is loose in case someone wants to add more detail. It stands 5" high, and the base which has been soldered back on is 1.75" square with germany stamped on the bottom.
I only use brand new boxes and take a lot of care with my wrapping to ensure the model reaches you intact.
A Fantastic range of Ratio model buildings that give you the finishing touch to your model rail layout. If you’re interested, definitely start with Basics of North American Signaling and Safety principles. The iron itself an old pencil soldering iron which had a brass rod inserted at the tip, tapped to suit a Scope carbon element. The double post and upper quadrant signals were built from a combination of kit parts and brass pieces, using available pictures of the real signals and scale drawings as a guideline.
I mean, just because I want to take a photo that has a train in it doesn’t make me a weirdo, does it? It appears the site was written somewhat for a European audience, but as far as I can tell it’s pretty informative for a Canadian and American one, too.

The brass was laid on top of a scale drawing of a post, and held in position with pins while it was soldered together. The brass rod also had a 2mm hole drilled, so that the Scope element can be unscrewed and a 2mm pencil lead inserted, for finer soldering work. Three signals had already been built and added to the layout, so over the course of many meetings six of the seven remaining signals were put together.
Except for a couple of dummy arms, all semaphores and counterweights have been built to operate. Apparently), but for the same reason that engineers tend to interested in almost everything: how does it all work? As an unrequited model railroader, I’ve seen plenty of articles about modelling signals, and even descriptions of CTC machines and Train Orders, but still precious little about how signalling systems, as a whole, work. A footswitch triggers the timer, which controls the time the relay stays on, and therefore the power at the tip.
The time duration is set by the knob on the front panel, and the green LED indicates when power is applied to the tip. A 3.5mm headphone plug and socket connects the footswitch to the timer circuit, which is powered by a 12V rail from the computer power supply.

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