Forget about trains for a moment and watch this video first!

(and maybe this one too)

This is the home page of an N-Scale (1:160) model train layout in Texas featuring the railroad in the northern half of Namibia. TransNamib provides the rail service in Namibia today over more than 2000 km of Cape guage (1,067 mm or 3 ft 6 in) track. This layout, the TxNamib (TXN), will only model the track north of the capital city Windhoek through the Namib desert to the ocean at Swakopmund and Walvisbaai and also branching north from Kranzberg to Grootfontein and Tsumeb (thru to Oshikango) including the part from Otjiwarongo to Outjo that is not in service any more. 

The main objectives of the TXN is to a) have fun, b) provide a little more focus on 'operations' (this is where we pick up and deliver railroad cars with some kind of purpose vs running trains around without goals) c) show the operators and friends a little bit about Namibia, what it looks like and to practice some weird sounding town names (say Karibib, Wilhemstal and Okahandja quickly) and d) again, to have fun!

So we have a dispatcher to control the main line trains (on the single main line) between towns, yard masters to make up and break up trains, and last but not the least, the operators running the trains, all across the long main lines, the branches or in the local towns.

We are using DCC from NCE (North Coast Engineering) to run trains and a very inexpensive set of WiFi nodes, now called mqTrains, home built CAN bus sensing trains in the blocks and controlling the signals, turnouts and other accessories, (somewhere between MERG's CBUS and the almost NMRA standard from OpenLCB) connected to a computer running  JMRI. With of course the secret magic controlling the rail car demand with something better and less expensive than RFID (more when it is finally up and running) displaying the requests for car movements on Wi-Fi connected touch tablets. Which of course will also assist in controlling the turnouts.

Using JMRI, allows the use of your smart phone (iAnything or Android), if you do not appreciate the wired throttles, to run your train. [the owner, a EE by trade, does not like batteries and wireless devices. (But, for the layout, Wi-Fi has a 10,000 fold bigger user base than any wireless RS232/485 implementation AND your smart phone has a way better battery recharge system than managing AA's or 9V batteries)].

Back to the railroad, here are the real maps of Namibia and the ground the TXN covers:

The linear layout map is shown on the dispatcher page.

Of course, the photos you might see on this website is already 5 years behind, but for some that might still be in the future. (I did not mention Gobabis at all, you honor)

For the RRRduino clinic in the ZoomTRAK meeting, here is a link to the zip file with the presentation and all the code needed for the clinic:

On the github page, click the download button on the far right to download and then unzip the .zip file into your Arduino folder indicated by File->Preferences in the Arduino IDE