Signals and Turnouts

For the “Big Railway”, this topic would be entitled “Signals and Telecoms” (or, in an earlier era, “Signal and Telegraph”) and would include the control and detection of switches as well as signals, and the detection of trains by track-circuits or other means. This is all interlocked so that conflicting and potentially hazardous moves cannot be set up.


Having spent my working life as a railway civil engineer, I simply had to get all of the visible details right for each of the engineering disciplines. Thus the railway will be properly signalled with working semaphore signals. Colour light signals have not arrived in my world.

When I started writing this account, very few layouts featured working semaphore signals, especially in 4mm scale. However, several articles have now appeared in the model railway press about employing servos to work signals.


The S&T department is normally only concerned with the part of the turnouts that move – the switches. Although initially operated by hand, I plan to have them operated by servo motors in due time.


Civil EngineeringIndexTrain Control