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New Member
I am planning a model railroad that will represent present day Union Pacific. I have been around real railroads for over 20 years, so I have a pretty good idea of prototype railroad operations. Im just looking for some clarification from other experienced railfans and employees.

If there is an online customer and the switch that serves their spur is close enough to a control point that while switching out that customer the train is going to be moving back and forth past the CP, will they just get track and time to use the CP, will the DS talk them by as they are doing their work, or will they have to wait for the signal to time out each time and get a new indication?

I know Ive seen this situation while railfanning in Rochelle, IL, but its been a while and I dont remember how it was handled there.



BNSF Gandy
Where I'm from, I have never heard of a train getting T&T in a situation like that. What I have heard is the train crew will tell the DS how many times they'll need a signal to make their moves. If they need it three times, the DS can set the system to automatically give a new indication three times. They'll take the signal, back up and exit that block, and the next signal pops up....repeat.


New Member
Interesting. I didnt know the CTC system could line a block multiple times automatically like that.
Thanks for that insight.


Interesting. I didnt know the CTC system could line a block multiple times automatically like that.
Thanks for that insight.

It's not really the CTC System doing, more of the Dispatch System. They will stack a route, and in this case the train will knock down the signal, and then the CAD system will request the signal again. Stacking is also done for just mainline movements so that the dispatcher doesn't have to deal with a location. They can stack several moves and once one train moves over the CP the CAD system will send the codes for the next move.

But in your original question, the dispatcher could give track and time to do those moves. Just it depends on the situation.


New Member
I plan to use JMRI, and free open source software suite to interface with my DCC system to replicate (as close as can be done on any model railroad) a CTC system. I will do some asking around to see if stacking is programmable with JMRI.
If the software doesnt support that I may have to use track & time to help make the operations "sound" more like the prototype, especially since model railroads dont usually have MofW crews building on the layout during a normal operating session. Other than my proposed scenario there would not be many other situations where we would otherwise use track and time.
Thanks for the input.


Friend of mine said he has seen situations like this where the local crew just ask the dispatcher to clear the signal each time they need it. I guess the dispatcher didn't mind having to deal with it repeatedly since this occurred on a route that wasn't very busy.


Been Nothin' Since Frisco
If the crew has track and time for the area, they might also get permission to take a dual control switch on hand so they can operate the switch to their heart's content within the track and time limits.

As far as the signal is concerned, within track and time limits, signals are "promoted" one level, so to speak. In other words, a stop signal becomes a stop and proceed, a stop and proceed becomes a restricting, and so on. So as long as they are within their track and time limits, they can operate on signal indication on the route their track and time authority covers.

In the example you give, the most restrictive indication the control point can give is stop, but within track and time limits it becomes stop and proceed.


IAIS Sub 3B(Bravo)
You do not have to have a T&T on the UP. Usually they would call up the Omaha Dsp to let them know of how many moves they will do and request a signal indication if needed.

There is one job that will go up the tracks about a couple miles to a warehouse to drop-off or pick-up cars. They call the DS when traffic is clear to request permission to make their move and the DS will give them a signal indication for their return to the yard, mostly a flashing red. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section. - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

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