When it comes to types of control systems for your model railway, you have two options. Either Direct Current (DC) or Digital Command Control (DCC).


DC controllers change the amount of current supplied to the track, which in turn changes the speed and direction of your locomotives. All trains on the same track will be fed power at the same rate.

The pros of DC are that it is very easy to set up. Just put the track together, attach the power, and away you go! 

The cons are that you can’t move one train at a time on the same track. Additionally, every locomotive motor uses power at a different rate, so they will all move at different speeds.


The DCC system uses small computer boards, known as decoders, to control each locomotive directly. The power is always running to the track and the decoders determine the amount of power the motor receives, and how fast and the direction a locomotive will go. The decoders are linked to a command unit, which sends signals to tell the locomotive what you want it to do.

The pros of DCC are that you can control any train easily, and even run multiple trains on the same track. The decoders can also talk to speakers which you can install in your locomotives. This allows you to access all kinds of sounds, such as steam chuffs, diesel engines, whistles, horns, and many more!

The cons of DCC are that it is more complicated to set up compared to DC, as power needs to be sent to all tracks all the time. It is also more expensive, as the equipment has greater features and functions. The decoders also add cost to each locomotive.