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November '97
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of November 1997, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
November 4

This evening's major project was discussion of a tower. For those not familiar with the layout as it stands, the following piece of ASCII-art may be useful:

                      ________________________
                     /         P-yard          \
                    /                           \
                    |        _________          |
      West          |       /          \   GC   |    East
                    |      /            |  loop |
                     \     |            |       |
                      \     \            \      /
                       XX    |            ------
                       /  new \
                       | loops |
                        \_____ /
                        //     \\
                      to other parts
Construction of the area called "new loops" is now beginning. This will involve a helix structure about 6 feet in diameter. This will provide connections at various levels to the "other parts". The other parts will also include two similar loop areas, but a desire has been expressed to put a tower in the "new loop". At this evening's work session, the design details of such a tower were roughed out. The tower will be essentially a six foot circle with a small platform at one side (see XX in diagram) from which a sloped ladder will descend to the floor. It is designed for a dispatcher and one other operator. It is envisioned that most operators will be using walk-around control and/or another tower to be built later. The tower construction will use 4x4 uprights with 3/4 plywood gussets and 2x8 stringers to support the tower floor. The tower floor will be about 6 feet above the room floor due to clearance requirements for the tower support structure above the helixes in the "new loop".

In addition to the tower discussion, John Purbrick worked on tie installation at the East end of P-yard and James Knight worked on a portion of the planned Coke can recycling system.


November 11

John Purbrick has completed his work on switches at the East end of P-yard and is now working on switches at "105th street" (which will probably be re-named), which is the first station outside P-yard (about 10-15 feet out).

Jeff Birkner and James Knight worked on installing jumper cables between the System terminal strips and the layout terminal strips on the wall-mounted distribution panel. When connectors arrive, they will be inserted into these cables, and it will become possible to connect either System 2 ("The System") or System 3 to the layout.

Jon Reed added some rail to the "exhibition track" which will run in front of the viewing window. He also replaced some rail that had been damaged when P-yard was moved.

John McNamara and Alvar Saenz-Otero cut the next piece of layout plywood to shape and C-clamped it into place. Additional tie stock was also prepared.


November 18

At the beginning of the evening, Jeff, James, John, and John discussed detailed drawings of the new tower. One design calls for a square tower, offering ease of construction, but a rather "hulking" appearance. The other design calls for a round tower, offering more attractive appearance, but more complex construction. A compromise octagon design will also be drawn up and considered.

Jeff and James applied a second coat of paint to the new cable tray that James designed, and studied the lights/power circuit for future modification (including a "computer" power circuit that comes on with power and stays on until both power and lights are extinguished). John McNamara touched up the TMRC vertical banner sign outside the clubroom. John Purbrick did further work on switches, teaching some of the technigues to Tim McNerney. This evening, John quintupled the number of Tortoise stall-motor switch machines installed on the layout! (1 to 5)


November 25

John McNamara brought in tower plans that were the result of comments by various people over the past few weeks. This tower is a one or two person tower within a turning loop whose inside diameter is about 6 feet. The latest design differs somewhat from previous designs in that the tower floor is five feet above the clubroom floor (per Joe Onorato's request), and is roughly equal in height to the highest track in the loop/helix structure surrounding it. As a result, entrance is gained by climbing to a point above the tower floor and then stepping down nine inches. The advantage of this approach is that nine inches of additional headroom is gained. While the new clubroom has a high ceiling, the extra nine inches is still needed to provide standing room in the tower.

A trip was made to Home Depot and 4x4's were purchased, along with carriage bolts, nuts, and washers. By the end of the evening, the basic tower structure was completed. Using 4x4's, 2x8's, and 3/8 carriage bolts, an extremely sturdy structure has been created. Three bolt holes remain to be drilled, and additional stringers and associated bridging are needed. In addition, bracing plates to completely control tower leg position will be added within the next few sessions.



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
MIT Room N52-118
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

+1 617 253-3269
x3-3269 (on campus)
Email: tmrc-web@mit.edu
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