We’ve started upgrading our system, if you keep up with The Big Train Project, then you are up to date with all the additions and changes to the TOP of our train layout…but what’s going on underneath?
I took a trip inside our mountains to meet Brian Kienlen, the head guy behind our system upgrades! The old computer system running our trains was completely built from scratch by our volunteers, after running well for 6 years, the maintenance has become problematic. When something wears out or breaks in the system, it has to be fully repaired by hand, since you cannot go out and purchase replacements for the hardware or components.
Above is a photo of a panel of our old system waiting to be upgraded, vs. the photo below of our new system. This new system allows us to have MUCH more room for expansion! With the new computers we can add more animation to bridges, sounds, and everything else on the layout, along with being able to run more trains on a single track than before. The computers are even able to learn the behavior of the trains and know when something is running out of sync and adjust the speed back to normal.
One of the biggest improvements is the feedback that the new system can give us, instead of scouring the layout in search of stopped trains, or having guests tell us a train has been derailed, the sensors on the track in conjunction with this new system can even send a text message to our train staff and let them know when and what train has just stopped!
To see all theses changes for yourself, anyone is welcome to take a behind the scenes tour we offer with our train master!