Guide to Signals and Interlockings

Dave Abeles
Item #12824

The first-ever signals & interlockings book from Model Railroader!

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Follow along with experienced model railroader Dave Abeles as he delves into signal systems and interlocking plants. Guide to Signals and Interlockings, the newest book from Model Railroader, will give the reader all the information they will need to tackle this complex project with confidence.

This 144-page book includes:

  • Explanation of how signal systems work
  • How different systems can be applied to layouts
  • Detail on both automatic and more complex systems
  • Most up-to-date methods for replicating these systems
  • And more!

Great for modeler’s who are building or planning a layout with the goal of adding prototypical signaling and control systems!

Author: Dave Abeles
Size: 8.25 x 10.75
Pages: 144
Author Bio
Dave Abeles is a civil engineer and manager at a major northeastern passenger railroad. Dave models Conrail during the mid-1990s on his HO scale railroad, the proto-freelanced Onondaga Cutoff, where his working CTC signal system and NORAC rules takes center stage in operations.
Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - Prototype history and development

Chapter 2 - Signal system basics: knowing your options

Chapter 3 - Getting started with a manual signal system

Chapter 4 - Train detection: The signal system's foundation

Chapter 5 - Wiring signals for your model railroad

Chapter 6 -The interlocking and your layout

Chapter 7 - Controlled signals for your model railroad

Appendix and Bibliography



In this 144-page softbound book, author Dave Abeles has brought together an immense amount of information on railroad signaling systems and interlockings, how they operated in the past and how they’ve changed on today’s modern railroads. Since prototype railroad signaling can be somewhat of a mystery unless you have studied it closely or work for a railroad, this seven-chapter introduction can help you more fully understand signaling both on the prototype as well as in model form.

The book begins with prototype history of train movements and signals and their development, including train orders, ball signals, employee timetables, train order boards, block systems, semaphores and more. Each section of the book is complemented with numerous black and white and color photographs and diagrams to help the reader visualize the signaling processes. In Chapter 3, readers are encouraged to generate a manual signal system on their layouts as the best way to analyze which signal system to use and how to develop it. Later chapters detail how to wire signals and block detectors, how interlocking works on a model railroad, how to add signals, centralized dispatching, and replicating control of trains on a model layout by centralized traffic control (CTC). An Appendix at the back of the book explains how to scratchbuild a mechanical interlocking device and signal controls.

The book also lists various commercial companies that can help supply you with model railroad signaling and section systems. This is an excellent overview book for the beginner, and the latter chapters will please the more advanced modeler. 

—Don Heimburger, Heimburger House Publishing Co.

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