P19345: Model Railroad Control Panel


Project Summary Project Information

Operation of a model railroad, like the operation of its real life counterpart, is a complex system. The RIT Model Railroad club currently uses a Digital Command Control (DCC) system and a Command Station to power and control their locomotives and switches. These systems also utilize a serial interface to connect with an external computer for their open source layout control program. In order for the RIT Model Railroad club to dispatch and control their layout, members must interface with the layout via the existing cab bus or via the dispatch software on a local computer.

The goal of this project is to expand on the existing control system by including two devices performing different tasks. One device is to be designed for operations of control panels while communicating with the main control system, or the "layout brain". The other device will be designed to communicate with both the brain and the other new device, providing information about the system's current state. This device will essentially be an additional brain decoupling undesirable dependencies in the existing system. The additional brain will interface with the existing system, provide a Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) / Internet Protocol (IP) interface for a Representational State Transfer (REST) Application Programming Interface (API)/ PC dispatch panel and interface with locally installed, physical control panels. Constraints include installing the ‘brain’ with the existing layout electronics in a small footprint, high availability package to ensure a full-featured, low-cost model railroad control and indication system.

To access further detail in the project proposal, click Here.

Project Name
Model Railroad Indication & Control
Project Number
Start Term
Spring 2019
End Term
Fall 2019
Faculty Guide
Harold Paschal, hapddm@rit.edu
Primary Customer
Charles Rothbart, chrothbart@gmail.com
Sponsor (financial support)
RIT Model Railroad Club, info@ritmrc.org

Team Members

Left to Right: Kevin Bradford, Denisse Aquino, Derek Schwartz, Marianna Palacios, Rui Chen

Left to Right: Kevin Bradford, Denisse Aquino, Derek Schwartz, Marianna Palacios, Rui Chen

Member Role Contact
Denisse Aquino Facilitator dxa2824@rit.edu
Kevin Bradford Lead Engineer kjb3193@rit.edu
Rui Chen Purchasing rfc7118@rit.edu
Marianna Palacios Project Manager meg2109@rit.edu
Derek Schwartz Communications djs8010@rit.edu

Work Breakdown: By Phase


Planning & Execution

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Gate Reviews

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation (Verification & Validation)


Thank you to the RIT Model Railroad Club and customer Charles Rothbart for giving MSD Team P19345 the opportunity to expand upon their current railroad systems.
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