Following the lead of Scalextric, another old favourite has gone digital – Hornby – with the launch of their new Digital Command Control (DCC) system, which allows up to 254 locomotives to be ‘called up’ and controlled individually without lots of messy wiring.
The digital system comes in two variations from October – Select and Elite. A small micro chip processor fitted into each locomotive communicates with the digital unit and responds to any instruction issued to it, such as to move forward, reverse, speed up, slow down or to turn lights on or off. The digital units also allow the user to remotely control the track’s railway points so that trains can be moved onto different sections of track at the touch of a button.
Both the Select and Elite Control units feature a keyboard used to programme or call up the locomotives and a LCD display to show which locomotive or accessories are being operated. Each unit has a rotary control which controls the acceleration and deceleration of the locomotive. The differences between the two units are the number of locomotives and track points that can be controlled. The Select controller can handle up to sixty locomotives and allow any ten of them to be ‘on command’ at any one time. The Elite controller can manage or call up to 254 locomotives on a track at any one time and allows any ten of them to be run simultaneously.
The Elite unit also contains a USB socket which can be connected to a personal computer and using the internet receive any future software download features for the Elite system. The Select system will sell for £70, while the Elite system retails for £140.