The second test before sawing the tables is to try the layout in TrainController (TC).
TC is a Windows program for control and automation of digital model railways. It has a simulation mode which makes it possible to already test a layout before it is physically there.
TC uses block control. Every block has an entry sensor. These can be reed switches operated via a magnet under the train, or current measurement, or other. The sensors tell TC when a train runs into a block.
If it has to stop in this block, the brake marker is the point where the train starts to slow down, until it reaches the stop marker. Distances between the sensor and the brake- and stop marker are user specified.
Once the layout has been divided into blocks, ‘Schedules’ can be defined. These specify which trains will drive where. Once the train reaches the end point of the Schedule, TC selects a new Schedule from a list of ‘successors’. This way fully automatic traffic is created, while it still is possible to drive trains manually, in between the automatic traffic.
The test is performed to see if traffic keeps flowing, if there are no hiccups, or deadlocks, or if there are blocks where no train ever comes. All went well … so … it’s time to start sawing the tables!
— 0 —