Model Railway Computer Control Centre
by Stephen and Mark Parascandolo
Model Railway Computer
Control Centre (MRCCC) is a Windows software application created to provide
a user interface and interlocking for the model railway that closely replicates
real modern UK signalling practice. MRCCC is designed to be the signalbox
- it does not attempt to control the trains or allocate controllers and
traction power feeds. However, it is a flexible system and complex additional
logic can be built up if required using any of the signalling states, which
MRCCC knows about.
The software is freeware
and can be downloaded from this website free of charge. The source code
(MS Visual Basic .NET 2003) is also available. MRCCC
is not intended to be a commercial product and as such help and support
are limited but I'll always try to help.
The software will only
currently work with MERG RPC hardware running in RS232 mode. However the
structure of the code is such that it would not take much additional work
to code alternative hardware platforms or communications protocols. MRCCC
looks and behaves like a real VDU based signalling control centre.
Some essential simplifications
have been made - overlaps, approach locking and sectional route locking
for example are not required for model railway use. Equally detail like
point and signal identities are not required on the screen. The aim has
been to recreate the appearance of a real system but without reliability,
safety and availability features essential on the real railway.
Screenshot of Model Railway Computer Control Centre Software
- VDU control of Model
Railway signalling on a PC.
- User Configurable
screen layout and interlocking conditions. Configuration is via Windows
dialog boxes, which should be understood with a little signalling knowledge,
and not with any kind of scripting language requiring computing knowledge.
- Full and comprehensive
validation of all user configured data with feedback at each stage on
exactly why a layout is invalid or what is wrong with an entry just made.
- Test Mode provided
for offline testing (without connecting the layouts) of the full interlocking
including the ability to simulate user and layout inputs and monitor all
states within the system.
- Entry-Exit (NX)
route setting by mouse, calling all points as required.
- Auto Working buttons.
- Full automatic aspect
sequencing for 2-, 3- and 4-aspect colour light signalling. (only basic
sequencing provided, e.g. no flashing aspects)
- Point Keys.
- Call On/Shunt Exits
buttons and position light aspects.
- Shunt Signals and
- Facilities for slots
or Emergency Replacement controls.
- Real time display
of track occupation, aspect and point position (detection not provided).
- Train Operated Route
- Route Release (simplified).
- Full interlocking
of conflicting routes or occupied track circuits with comprehensive feedback
to the signaller of why the interlocking has rejected a command.
- Multi-User support
for large layouts.
- Automatic Requests
for routes, mouse clicks or point keys based on RPC Inputs, or internal
Downloading and Installing
1. Use the Link
to download the .NET Framework version 1.1* (20Mb download
2. Use the Link
to download the .NET Framework ver 1.1 Service Pack 1* (10Mb
download from Microsoft)
the MRCCC Installer (1Mb download)
4. Run the MRCCC Setup application
* If required (will also run with .NET framework ver 2.0)
This will result in
a Model Railway folder on the Start Menu containing the MRCCC Application,
the MRCCC Client, and the three technical bulletins covering the software
and the Horton application.
The default directory
is \Program Files\MRCCC and a \samples sub folder will contain the Horton
Layout, and a simple Examples Layout that may be useful to learn from and
MRCCC is built using
Visual Basic .NET which requires the .NET framework to run. Microsoft recommends
the following for the framework (I have used slightly less): -
- 133MHz Intel Pentium
or AMD Opertron, Athlon64 or better
- 128Mb RAM " 150Mb
Hard Disk space (including 40Mb during installation only)
- 800 x 600 resolution,
256 colour graphics
- Mouse or compatible
- MS Windows XP, 2000
SP 4, ME, 98, NT4: SP 6a or Server 2003 operating system
Experience has shown
that the MRCCC application works best on a faster PC (2GHz or above with
256Mb RAM) especially when a large layout is being operated at speed. Slower
PCs, providing they can handle the .NET framework are more than adequate
for data preparation or use as MRCCC Clients.
The software supports
up to 1280x1024 resolution layouts. It is easier to run layouts which fit
wholly on the screen without having to scroll.
TB G16/85 - MRCCC Product Overview
TB G16/86 - MRCCC User Guide
TB G16/81 - RPC Application on Horton
TB G16/87 - Computer Assisted Cab Control (CACC)
Project Report - MRCCC started life as a Brunel University Final Year
Project and has been developed further since. This is the Final Year Project Report that accompanies
the software with a thorough explanation of Design Process.
Slides from presentation to MERG Nov 2005
Release 2 Source Code VB.NET 20/11/05
Release 1 Source Code VB.NET 30/5/05
me if you intend to modify the code. You may find that I can offer support,
and/or advise. In any case, I would like to know what development work may
be going on.
30/5/05 - Release 1 (MRCCC ver 3.3b, MRCCC Client ver 1.0)
20/11/05 - Release 2 (MRCCC ver 4.1, MRCCC Client ver 1.0)
- Read Release Notes if upgrading
and for details of changes.
The RPC system was designed by Gordon Hopkins of MERG.
It uses a simple serial system to connect inputs and outputs.
For kits, the latest information and copies of documents for RPC modules
join MERG and order the kits from Gordon Hopkins.
RPC System Overview
RPC PC Interface Specification
RPI PIC PC Remote Panel Interface
RPI RSE Remote Stack Extension System
RPI SRI4 32 Inputs
RPI FTC 8 Floating Track Circuits
RPI SRO4 32 Outputs
RPI DPR 8 Double Pole Relays
SD4 Multiple Aspect Signal Driver
PMR1 Solenoid Point Motor/Relay Driver
Electronic Railway Group
Technical Webpages - Railway Signalling
No responsibility can be taken for the contents of external
Mark's Telephone: +44 (0)7764 947 832
The Late Stephen
S.J.Parascandolo. This website is my personal website, produced as a hobby
and by me as an individual. Any
views, opinions and information on this website are my own, and not those
of my employer, or any other individual, company, or organisation unless
explicitly stated otherwise. All signalling elements of the MRCCC software
have been designed and coded by myself using publicly available information
on prototype operation.