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April '99
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of April 1999, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
April 3

John Shriver layed down the lattice stock into the carbarn. In order to accomplish that he began by shimming the lattice stock with one WECO card at one end, and FOURTEEN at the other! This way the carbarn floor and the entrance tracks matched perfectly. Bill continued to work on the bridge at the east end of Gifford City, and the vegetable oil facility next to the bridge. He is starting the brick walls in the building. Alvar put together one of the City Classics model buildings, which was modified during the week with an extra story. During the week he also put together another building, of the same kind, but one story shorter (get the idea :-).

James continued to work on the new computer system at TMRC by adding new desktop manager options and also JAVA. The installation of Java is a good step into making the TMRC computers interface with the rest of the world, and some day we'll control the layout that way! Jeff dropped by too, and updated the TMRC clocks to daylight savings time, so next time you come to the club, you know the time is right!


April 7

John M finished weathering the rear wall sections for the roundhouse. The next step is to create the matching interior walls. Andy worked on doors and baggage elevators for the Gifford City passenger platforms. During the past few days, he has used a color laser printer to make some very nice signs for the platform area. John P installed an under-the-tracks uncoupling ramp near the baggage/express siding. He also worked on the necessary hardware and software for wayside signals.


April 10

We had a meeting! And during the meeting we agreed that there will be two dry-runs for the open house and one final check: dry-runs will be Sat 4/17 and 4/24; the final check will be Wed 4/28.

Outside of the meeting, people did lots of work. Andy worked during the week on the Gifford city platform baggage elevators and began the construction of the large boulevard across the station. Saturday he began to put together the girders for the boulevard. Bill continued to work on his oil facility by cutting out most of the front brick cover of the building, and weathering it. John P brought in a new small signal bridge, and began to put it together. Dick Lord helped out with several scenic details around Gifford City.

Alvar, James, and Jeff worked hard on the computers at TMRC. The old control computer had a dying hard-disk, with intermittent hangs all the time - a sign that the hard disk was soon to crash. Being smart, a full backup of that hard-disk was created, to save all the information contained therein. A new very large 8.4Gb hard-disk, and yet cheap, was acquired, and was installed in one of the new computers. The 2.1 Gb hard-disk from that computer was then transfered to the old control computer and the system was up and running again at 3:24am TMRC-DST. Alvar also worked on installing Windows NT on one of the new computers (the one with the big disk), which will be used to capture video and some day have live video feeds over the net.


April 17

Bill began to cut out the windows in the brick material for his vegetable oil facility. John P. continued to work on the 100th street bridge, putting down the sidewalk material. Andy worked on the Paulson Blvd bridge over P-yard, starting to put together the thru girders for the bottom structure of the street. He also painted some plugs to cover the old holes in the P-yard platform, so that he can make holes in the correct positions for the boulevard. Dick Lord began to help with cleaning up the P-yard side of the layout, so that it look nice and clean for the open house.

Meanwhile Alvar began to test System 2 and System 3 so that trains can get around the layout and that we can have not only one 'infinite loop' but also some switching around during the Open House.


April 21

John M constructed the walls for the machine shop that will be at the back of the roundhouse. Andy worked on the Paulson Boulevard over-pass that will provide the grand entrance road in front of the Gifford City station. John P worked on the final touches for his bridge next to the produce warehouse. Alvar ran a train around in preparation for the Open House 10 days hence. He encountered and debugged a number of dirty-crosspoint and other problems. More attention will be needed.


April 24

Bill began to paint his vegetable oil facility. Andy worked a lot on the Paulson Boulevard Western bridge. The support structure now has diagonals to reinforce the columns. He also painted the whole bottom section, including the supports for the bridge that go into the platforms.

James and Alvar created positive pressure inside the room, by using two fans, lots of duct tape, and garbage bags in the side door. Then, using the high pressure section of the air hose, they cleaned System 2 as thoroughly as possible. Jeff then took over, and fixed the last couple of bugs --- also due to dust, but all the way inside relays that even high pressure air could not reach out. After that he began to study the problems of Cab 2, which decides to 'overload' after just a couple of minutes of apparently good operation.

Dick Lord and Bill helped a lot with the cleanup of the layout, transforming Gifford City into an urban area, instead of a construction zone. Later on Alvar cleaned up the main working table. This sets the club quite ready for the Open House.

Finally, Jeff, Andy, James, and Alvar all helped test the track, system, and trains for the Open House. We made sure the Aaron Burr actually ran around the tracks continuously, with both the track and system behaving nicely. Both the Aaron Burr and the 50th Anniversary train will be featured during the Open House!


April 28

On the Tuesday Emergency session John P, John M, James, and Alvar all worked together in making a 4'x12' drop poster to advertise our upcoming Open House this Saturday May 1st. The poster features the TMRC wheel from the logo, a large 'tmrc' name, and all the information to get people here. Plus, its made general enough so that we can re-use it next time! You can admire the poster in the MIT Student Center stairs.

On Wednesday night John P. and Alvar continued testing the system as much as possible. Cab 1 is now working perfectly; Cab 4, the remote controlled one, is working in the big loop setup, which is what we tested, with a few minor intermittent problems. Jeff tested Cab 2 on Sunday, which appears to be working fine! Cab 3 has not had problems, but we have not had time to 'de-dust' its contacts by running trains using it (I guess we are crossing our finger it will work :-).

And, at the end of the day, Alvar ran a cable from the tower. This is a second RS232 cable that will go from the system to a computer in the tower, so that the dispatcher can in fact be in the tower, seeing the trains and layout, while creating routes and assigning trains! JP will fix the ends Friday night.



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
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