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February '00
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of February 2000, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
February 1

Ed Drozd continued his work in the Coca-Bubblie area by building a stone retaining wall that will protect Bubblie workers' cars from errant TNP trains passing by at Mach 2 in their effort to reach Gifford City on time. Andy Miller added further touches of elegance to the Hotel Bassex by making some awnings. The awnings are hollow quarter spheres with "Hotel Bassex" along the bottom edge. Due to their purple color, they resemble portions of a purple onion, a possible name for the hotel's restaurant. John McNamara did some more work on sections of the roundhouse roof. Three of the nine stalls now have their roofs nearly finished. James Knight fueled the money/Coke machine and did some more work on the "TMRC Store" web page, coming soon to a computer near you. John Purbrick worked on a New Haven prototype concrete signal tower that is rapidly becoming quite detailed. He also mounted a KaDee coupler on the nifty Japanese caboose that Hidetoshi Katsuma gave us on his recent visit.


February 5

The day began at 7:30am for several TMRCies that made the trip to The Springfield Show. They had a very productive morning there. The day continued later on, as John P. began to work on the foundation of the signal tower that he built last week. He also did work on the siding after 105th street, since the tower sits right next to that siding. John McNamara continued his work on the roundhouse roof, putting together another third of the roof, which now only needs painting. He will have to buy a couple extra parts in order to finish the the roof, since part of it has been missing for years. Justin did operational work and then began to refurbish MIRTA's only F-7 unit.

Alvar talked with other members about his current work on CadRail, and later, with James's help, modified the design into a much simpler plan with the same functionality. It is a possibility that before March we will start construction of the new layout!

And S&P did its work late at night: James, John, Jeff and Alvar continued to design System 3. John P reported he had a new shell for the PIC processors we chose, so that they can be easily loaded via a serial port. James and Jeff began to search for communication IC's that will simplify the way the 20 or so PICs communicate with the PC.


February 8

John Purbrick added some scenery in the areas around the signal towers that he has been working on. John McNamara did some more work on the roundhouse roof and began some discussion with John P about plans for the door area on the front of the roundhouse.

Alvar Saenz-Otero recently sent an email reporting that Ms. Pickering, the MIT Museum Director, had volunteered to make a nice sign for our display window. John and John spend some time composing a possible sign.


February 15

Ed Drozd completed the second side of the retaining wall that he is building between the CocaBubblie plant parking lot and the mainline. He also did some work on a piece of abandoned siding in the parking lot, making sure it is in proper gauge. He also started adding a loading door, a project that requires careful surgery removing a piece of highly visable brickwork.

John Purbrick added scenic touches to the siding that serves the as-yet-unnamed industrial building next to the Whattahack River. He and Stefano Curtarolo also did some spiking on that siding.

Andy Miller continued his work on the continual upgrading of the Bassex House. It now features a full set of fancy awnings on the ground floor. Further, there are ornamental potted bushes on either side of the front door, and elegant chains to support the front door's canopy.

John McNamara continued his work on the roundhouse roof, which is nearly finished. Ed Drozd donated some 50-gallon drums that he bought at the Springfield show, and some have been installed as trash barrels inside the roundhouse. Turning attention to the front of the roundhouse, there was considerable discussion about adding doors, possibly operable and automated (!).


February 22

Ed Drozd continued his work adding loading doors to the Coca-Bubblie building. By good fortune, they are the same width as the windows immediately overhead, making them look like they were part of the original building. He also painted a personal locomotive (the complicated New Haven / McGinnis scheme) and a set of doors for the roundhouse.

Speaking of the roundhouse, John McNamara continued his work thereon, completing (with Ed's painting aid) two roll-up doors (non-functional) based on the EBT roundhouse prototype. The EBT roundhouse, like TMRC's, has arched doors with roll-up doors added in front. The doors in both the EBT and TMRC cases are brick red / Tuscan.

John Purbrick did some additional work on the siding to the nameless river-side warehouse and also began construction of stone top pieces for the retaining wall next to his produce warehouse.

Andy Miller has just completed a very nice set of railings for the sidewalks on both lanes of Paulsen Boulevard, the main approach to the Gifford City station. This evening, he started work on the REA / Amtrak Express building that will be at one end of the Gifford City passenger yard. In addition to its scenic merits, it will hide part of the ping-pong track that runs in front of the hallway viewing window.

Alvar Saenz-Otero stopped by to continue discussion on Phase II, after comming up with an agresive schedule that asks for the staging yard to be a reality before the end of the term! The current topic under discussion is the entrance to Tuckerton, which needs to rise about 16" from staging.


February 26

Saturday was another busy day at TMRC! Bill worked on the details of the A/C units and ducts on the roof of the vegetable oil facility. John Purbric continued work on the siding into the 'nameless warehouse' next to the river, getting half way there. He also continued work on the corner of the 105th street bridge. Andy acquired several figures to place along Paulson Boulevard in order to start populating the area. He also worked on the retention wall next to the Railway Express Agency area, which he has began to work in. Alvar brought in printouts of the railings for the Gifford City station... only to realize they were the wrong ones, oops! So Andy will work on the last details of Gifford Station next week. John McNamara continued to build the doors for the Round House, and has 4 more ready to be painted, plus another 3 almost ready (which gives the total of 9 needed!). Ed finished the holes where he is going to add two loading doors for the Coca Bubblie building and painted many details for others and some locomotives of his own.

Alvar guided the 'Phase II' design session with input from everybody around! We all came to a great design that uses 21 standard switches, with only one special 'three way switch'. Plus, the overall design is quite simple, which should make construction much faster. James, seeing the progress on the design took charge of the room organization and between him, Ed, and Alvar, moved over half the things in the way of Phase II. The only large remaining item in the way is the lumber pile / Sawmill section, which is likely to take all of next Saturday to re-arrange. James also worked on System 3, now that JP has a finished prototype of an 8-block card using the PIC processors, which we can program via a PC serial port!


February 29

John McNamara finished the last of the roll-up doors for the roundhouse (ala EBT), and Ed Drozd painted and weathered them. They will get installed next week. Andy Miller built some walls for the Railway Express Agency / Amtrak Package Service building, and Ed painted them. Ed also painted some personal locomotives. One result of all his painting was noticably red filters in his respirator, suggesting that the rest of us are getting Floquil-colored lungs when we paint, even with the fan.

John Purbrick built a very nice little railing to put on top of a retaining wall that is near his produce warehouse. The railing, like Andy's on Paulsen Boulevard, is made from N-scale "estate fencing", which scales to 7 or 8 feet in N and about 4 feet in HO. Interestingly enough, it greatly resembles the railings along Memorial Drive.

On the subject of railings, Alvar Saenz-Otero continued his computer work producing very fancy railings for the stairs that will connect to the Gifford City passenger station platforms. His file transfer efforts produced some colorful language about the nature of Microsoft products :-) Changing topics, more work went into the development of Phase II. Today the topic was 'mainline' and how it connects with staging, since we noticed that we had been very good at ignoring this important interconnection. It results that the 'final' version of the staging from last weekend must be modified in order to permit for a better helix. This improved helix should provide interconnection between Tuckerton, Berkmanville (in mainline) and the staging yard in some way TBD.

In addition to the above projects, Ed provided key tags for all of the storage space keys and an Excel spreadsheet to document the storage. Andy Miller refilled the Coke machine. John McNamara took home a power supply and cable from Ma Roto and stripped most of a set of 66-blocks associated with Ma Roto. He intends to take Ma Roto home and store her/it in his garage, BUT IF ANYONE ELSE WOULD LIKE IT, PLEASE REPLY!



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
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