NMRA Achievement Program

Documentation for Model Railroad Engineer – Electrical
By Heath Hurwitz NMRA #170698 


I am creating this web page to document with photos and videos my attempt at achieving the NMRA Achievement Program Certificate for Model Railroad Engineer – Electrical. More information on the certificate requirements can be found here, https://www.nmra.org/electrical

To qualify for this certificate you must: [complete sections 1 through 6]

Section 1

Here is a photo from my layout showing switches that control power to the tracks on the main yard. Each section has a switch to turn on and off the power enabling simple troubleshooting. Section 4 shows a lot more detail.

My layout does not have a reverse loop, wye, turntable, etc… so I will be setting up a temporary operational layout consisting of a main track and a reverse loop to demonstrate one possible wiring solution for this track plan.

Link to train running on Reverse Loop, https://youtu.be/BZjasB7W0HQ

Link to train running on Reverse Loop, https://youtu.be/BZjasB7W0HQ

I have two passing sidings on my layout, so I have this one covered.

Link to video of passing siding demonstration, https://youtu.be/BYQmanG5gSc

Here is my engine facility area. I have not installed the building yet, but this section of tracks is designed for that purpose. Two tracks inside the building and one that goes behind the building.

My yard has more than three tracks, and it is accessed from the passing siding, so i believe that I meet this requirement. The two tracks at the top are my RIP (Repair In Place) tracks and the other 5 are the main yard.

Blue tracks are a three yard section with a yard lead being the orange and pink tracks feeding the area.

I have a few different layers of protection on my layout, but this was the easiest place to photograph. The DCC Specialties PSXX is in the top center of the image.

For the “other” category, I thought I would include the ISE Motorman (automatic reversing train shuttle controller), the DCC Concepts Alpha Meter (DCC Digital Meter for Track Power) and my collection of DCC throttles (L-R, Digitrax UT6D, TCS UWT-50, Digitrax DT602D & ISE Proto Throttle). Not shown in any of these photos are my frog juicers (Tam Valley Hex Frog Juicer) and DCC distribution, which I will try to get a photo of later.

Section 2

Some photos from my layout showing the required elements for section 2.


Double Slip Switch (replacement for single slip switch)

Link to demonstration of train running over double slip, https://youtu.be/oMm6Fy8A5mA

Three way turnout

Link for demonstration of train running over three way turnout, https://youtu.be/FkQQzblkojk

Section 3

Electrical turnout position indication on a control panel or at trackside for a minimum of four turnouts.
Turnout Control with LED Indicators, turnouts can be controlled either via push button on the fascia, DCC throttles or remotely over the internet via JMRI panels.
Example image of a closeup showing the left two LED indicators as well as the push buttons on the fascia for local control of turnouts.

Example image showing additional LED indicators for the turnouts as shown in use for remote operations of the Timesaver puzzle. In this example, the turnouts are controlled by the JMRI switch panel.
This image shows the 4 LED indicators on the right side of the Timesaver puzzle.

Design, installation, and operation of animated mechanical and/or electrical displays.
PTF Designs Background flats with LEDs powered from layout accessory power supply.

Video of LEDs that also shows the operation of the BLI Thunder and Lightning Accessory, https://youtu.be/rmBU27Zm8ug

Design, installation, and operation of mechanical and/or electrical layout lighting displays.
RGB LED lighing that can be controlled via voice or through apps.
I also have white LED lighting for worklights or bright daytime scenes.

Layout with General Room Lighting

Layout Worklights

Layout RGB Lighting, set at white

Layout RGB lighting, night scene

Video demonstration of color changing layout lighting, https://youtu.be/k9AvN-6sslU

Layout Lighting Gallery of Looks

Section 4

Double Insualted gaps located between the Timesaver (Block T) and the Layout Expansion (Block A). Block T and Block A are seperated by DCC Specialties Digital Circuit breakers with buzzers on board for audible indication of shorts.

Red Wire, back rail. Black wire is the near rail. They all run to a distribution block under the layout.

Speed and Direction Control
The command station that I am using is the Digikeijs DR5000. I am using the built in WiThrottle server to allow the connection of my TCS UWT-50 throttle. Connected to the XPressNet port is the ProtoThrottle wireless adapter. Connected to the LocoNet port is a UR93 Duplex Transceiver and a UP5 to allow my to connect my Digitrax DT602D and UT6D throttles.

Electrical Switches for Main Yard

Currently installed Frog Juicers
The installed frog juicers cover all the turnouts on the mainline and the peninsula.

Current Layout

Section 5

Placeholder images, replace with own drawings. Example from https://dccwiki.com/
Turnout – Example from https://dccwiki.com/ of Peco Unifrog

More turnout examples from https://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_peco.htm

Double Slip – Example from https://dccwiki.com/

Three Way – Example from https://www.wiringfordcc.com/switches_peco.htm

Wiring for a Tortoise switch machine with LED indicators showing the direction of turnout.
I followed the Curcuitron drawing and wired my Tortoise Turnout motors per manufacturer specs

PTF Designs Background Flats with LEDs powered off a seperate 12v DC PSU. PSU is located under the Timesaver Layout and there is a layout accessory power busline that runs around the layout.

RGB and White LED Lighting
I use Govee and Elgato RGB LED Tapelight to simulate various times of day on the layout.

Section 6

On 12/9/2022, I have the opportunity to have my documentation reviewed by two Master Model Railroaders. This was done during the NMRA Twin Cities Divisions weekly Friday live stream. You can watch the video here, https://youtu.be/JUS8_SF_8LM?t=1698
As of 12/10/2022, my documentation has been submitted to my NMRA division for review and I am awaiting feedback.