News & New Products

Model Railroad Automation & Animation

Model Railroad Automation & Animation

We believe live action brings out the best in any model railroad design.  In the past, it was enough to just watch the train run around the track.  The hobby has been in steady decline for years.  We believe it is mostly in part to the quickly advancing technology our children come into contact daily.

Watching and listening to the children who come to the train shows we have learned a lot.  1, 2, 3, " I'm outta here!".  Their attention span at best is 3 laps of the train around a motionless city or farm.  Sadly, many kids today rely on action as a stimulus rather than pure imagination as us old folks had to. 

We saw one nice layout that did have (some) animation.  But the kids quickly pointed out the visible wires that created the action and became quite critical.

Kids today love their phones and computers to play games that challenge their wits.  Model trains just doesn't cut it.  UNLESS they are challenged.

We talked to the people at C & C Automations and shared our findings with them.  They had a simple one word reply. "Duh!"  Yep, guess they already figured that out.  They showed me some animation items they purchased from well known model railroad suppliers overseas.  All were operational. but next to them was a duplicate they had produced.  In appearance,  they looked much the same - EXCEPT ONE THING - animation with NO visible wires!   In addition, their items were for the most part, dead silent.  No grinding of gears and motors.  ( that I could hear) Just silent motion.

On their display shelves, one sees items from well known names like, Viessmann, Walthers, Faller and a few others.  Next to each of these, is C & C's version.  "We have great respect and admire these companies.  They maintain great reputations for quality." A  C & C spokesperson told me.

It would appear that their issue was more about cost and ROI for the customer.  "ROI, (return on investment) is speculative at best as each hobbyist has different expectations concerning animation.

Animation is both relatively expensive and time consuming.

A good example I noticed on their shelf-

A knelling HO figure with his arm moving up and down appearing to be laying bricks.  The invoice below it shows $40.00 for the item + $15.00 shipping.  Total - $55.00 for a figure standing about a 1/2 inch high.  C & C's version doing the same thing -  $13.95 + $4.00 shipping.  Total - $17.95

C & C's R & D Department-

Photos were not allowed - 

Ok, let's make this clear, I am no electrical engineer.  But I do know to pass an electrical current, you need both a (+) positive & (-) negative wire.  That being said,  I am looking at an HO Scale flying saucer being supported by a SINGLE 2mm clear rod.   I understand the clear rod allows the ship to rotate slowly, but how does it light up?  I peeked inside.  Only 3 led lights wired to what appears to be a computer chip of some type.  No power supply, nor battery of any type could be found.  They assured me there are no batteries involved.  No wires traveling up to a moving and lit flying saucer?  Too cool!

Perhaps their latest and what will most likely be their number 1 selling product will be available beginning January 11th 2020 at the Deland, Fl. Trainshow.

Project - ASP (Animation Sharing Protocol ) 

C&C Automations

ASP is a 2-part animation system.  Designed to allow model train hobbyist a quick and easy way to change animation scenes in 3 minutes or less.

Part 1 is what they call the "Activator".  This is the heart and brains of the system.

Part 2 is an assortment of "Scenes".  These scenes range from children's playgrounds, skateboard parks, motorcycle racing to cowboys and Indians and more being added weekly.