BLOG: Working signals


In the latest issue of Hornby Magazine – HM151, on sale from December 5 2019 – we feature Dapol’s new GWR lower quadrant signals for ‘OO’ and ‘O’ gauge. Like many I have been keen to get my hands on some of these to install on our layouts and in the fullness of time Grosvenor Square will be enhanced with the new ‘OO’ gauge bracket signals while the ‘O’ gauge test track will be receiving a small number of single post semaphores too.

In fact, even by the time the review samples arrived I’d already been out and bought one of the new 7mm scale signals as a next step towards the scenery on the test track. Installation is very simple and straightforward and it took less than five minutes (including finding the right 15mm drill and unpackaging the signal) to install the first one on the layout. It has been positioned on the approach to the bridge on the junction side of the layout.

The Dapol signals come with everything you need apart from a power supply. This new breed of signals from the manufacturer now use servos to drive the arm which are located in a separate clip-on control box. The control box is pre-wired for connection to a regulated DC 9-12V power supply while a pre-wired switch is also included which simply plugs in. Extension cables are being produced too.

However, as I’m using digital control (with the option to connect an analogue controller to the inner circuit) I wanted to upgrade the temporary power supply we used for testing to a digital feed. Train-Tech has just released its supporting SC4 signal control accessory decoder which has been specifically designed to work with the new version of Dapol’s signals – the older SC3 isn’t compatible with the new design. Installing the SC4 added another five minutes to the process, but uses all the existing wiring from the Dapol signal – the only extra being a pair of wires from the SC4 back to the DCC power feed to power it.

You can see the action of the signal in this brief video – Dapol has even included ‘bounce’ in the return to the ‘On’ position.

It might only be a small project, but the addition of a working signals adds greatly to the operation of the ‘O’ gauge test track and I’ve already installed a second signal on the other side of the layout to control trains leaving the loop while a third is on order to complete this area.

These small details are the start of the scenic work on the test track which is lagging way behind where I thought it would in terms of presentation. There is a section of track which needs relaying (it was laid with sectional track initially) with flexible track, but once that is complete I plan to get on with the process of weathering the rail sides in the near future and then ballast the running lines on the junction side of the layout. It might just be my Christmas present to the layout!

Keep watching here and in the Staff Projects section for more updates on Hornby Magazine’s layout projects.

To get your copy of the latest issue – HM151 is on sale from December 5 2019 – visit the Key Publishing Shop or your local newsagent to get your copy. Alternatively, you can download a digital edition from – simply search ‘Hornby Magazine’.

Posted in Blogs, Mike Wild Tagged with: , , , , , ,


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