Seth is a modern-era modeler whose home layout features the Union Pacific in the San Francisco Bay Area in 1999. He is an avid operator and hosts regular op session on his “UP in Niles Canyon” as well as being a regular operator at many Bay Area layouts and attending visiting ops meet around the US and Canada.
Seth specializes in communications systems for model railroads, having developed telephone systems for several operating layouts and having presented clinics on the subject at many model railroad meets, including NMRA regional and national conventions. He also designs power distribution, DCC, signaling and other electronic controls for model railroads. Seth, along with Chris Drome, has implemented Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) on his layout to generate switchlists. Most recently Seth and Chuck Catania have founded “Model Railroad Control Systems” which is an open source clearing house for Arduino based model railroad applications including Arduino based C/MRI modules compatible with Bruce Chubb’s C/MRI system.
Seth is a founding Director of both the Operations Special Interest Group (SIG) and the Layout Design SIG and Past President and President Emeritus of LDSIG. Seth holds NMRA achievement certificates as Electrical Engineer, Chief Dispatcher, Model Railroad Author and Association Volunteer. Seth also belongs to the Santa Fe Railway Modeling and Historical Society, the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society, the Union Pacific Historical Society and the Western Pacific Historical Society. He has written articles or presented clinics on the following topics:
- DCC for Dummies (1995-1997) with Ed Loizeaux
- MoPac Roofing Granules Hopper (1997) (in the MOPAC Historical Society)
- Tips for the Visiting Yardmaster clinic and article in the Dispatcher’s Office (2002)
- A Comparison Of Two Layout Designs (2003) With Mike Birmingham
- Modeling the “Occupied Western Pacific” in the East Bay (2003)
- A Day In The Life Of A Modern Short Line (2004) With Rick Fortin
- Advanced Yard Operations (2004)
- Yard Design as part of the Layout Design Boot Camp at several NMRA nationals
- Model Railroad Communications (2004 -> 2014) - clinic and 3 part article in the Dispatchers’ Office 2011
- A South American Narrow Gauge Line (2006)
- Planning for Signals - clinic and 2 part article in the Layout Design Journal, 2011
- Signal Repeaters Layout Design Journal, 2011
- 3D printing - making that unavailable detail - PCR Branch Line 2012
- Feeders for Hollow Core doors - Layout Design Journal 2012
- RFID in Model Railroading (2013), with Chris Drome - Model Railroader, Dec 2014
- The Case for CMRI on Arduino (2014) with Chuck Catania
- A chapter on Model Railroad Communications in the forthcoming Operation SIG book on Practical Operations.
Chuck is a transition era modeler with strong family ties to the Southern Pacific Coast Division. Chuck enjoys applying prototypically authentic operating rules and practices to model railroad layouts. His own Chittenden, Pajaro and Coyote depicts the Southern Pacific between Watsonville and San Jose and uses C/MRI with full ABS/CTC signaling in compliance with the prototype in that era.
As the principal designer of the cpNode system, Chuck specializes in the C/MRI protocol for layout device management using various software environments. Working with Dr. Bruce Chubb, MMR, Chuck wrote the draft for CMRInet for submission to the NMRA as User Group Specification LCS-9.10.
Intimately familiar with DCC command systems and various software development environments on both Apple and PC platforms, Chuck has created a wide variety of solutions to specific client requests while working on consulting engagements. He has fully designed and implemented many signaling and layout control systems using JMRI on multiple OS platforms and digital command systems.
Chuck has presented clinics on practical signaling of model railroads using Arduino at regional and national meets and enjoys the challenge of studying and learning new signaling systems. Pre-1950 North American railroad signaling equipment, practices, and rules are of particular interest and focus. As a working crewmember on various Bay Area layouts, Chuck applies prototype signaling techniques and methods to these model railroad environments.
Chuck is long time member of the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society and was the project manager in charge of the restoration of the Southern Pacific interlocking tower at Santa Clara.