So I realised that while I've done six posts recently about my trip to Barrow Hill Live, as yet I haven't shown you a single model railway! So this post will show a model railway, but something a little out of the ordinary.
Model Electronic Railway Group (MERG) display stand. Now I've messed about with some electronics on this blog, but my efforts pale in comparison to those on show here. What you can see in the photo is a DC layout (no fancy computer control) which is fully automated by the stack of electronics in the centre. Essentially the track is broken down into a large number of independent blocks each of which is controlled by a MERG SuperBloc board which ensures that two trains can never try and occupy the same piece of track, as well as controlling the signals and updating a layout diagram running on the laptop (from the discussion that was all the laptop was used for given that the system was DC and not DCC).
It was great fun to watch with trains running at different speeds being held at signals until the next block was clear, and the guy who had built it was happy to explain and demo how it all worked. I probably spent no more than a few minutes in front of each of the actual layouts on display, but nearer half an hour talking to people on the MERG stand. No surprise then that I've become a member!
If I ever have enough space I do have plans for a large layout that would require block level control due to the track plan so I can see me a) building a number of their kits and b) asking for advice on the forums when my limited electronics knowledge runs out. Hopefully I'll be able to give back by helping more on the software side of things.