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April '00
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of April 2000, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
April 4

John Purbrick continued his work on the warehouse siding, installing very fine scale L-shaped pieces of wood that will model flange-way guards when the siding area is black-topped. John McNamara made yet more filler strips to insert in the roundhouse doorways - enough for another three doorways. Ed Drozd added ventilators to the building adjacent to Coca-Bubblie and began the design of a sign for the top of the building. The sign will be letters-on-steel-frame sign. Stefano Curtarolo painted an N-gauge turntable pit of his and worked on a downtown Gifford City building.


April 8

Phase II continues to grow with a lot of help from a lot of people: Alvar, Ed, Howard, and Jeff all worked on setting up the support structure for the Staging Yard. At this point all the walls and 'heavy' work is done; the next step is the plywood base.

The rest of the layout also saw lots of progress. Bill finished another wall of his building (with only two more missing :-). Andy has now paved both sides of the Railway Express Agency. He also worked on two small buildings that will be at the edge of the layout on the street that sides the REA. John Shriver connected the impressive carbarn ladder to the rest of the track, now that the main section of the ladder is complete. Stephano painted the building he has been working on since last week. Elma put together the front of a third building that was worked on today. Ed, appart from helping in Phase II, continued the details of Coca Bubblie. John Purbrick entratained several visitors who came to the Boston Trolley Tour event, and visited TMRC now that they had the chance!

Charlie Robinson, the orginal building of MITCO (TMRC's street car system, with working overhead), came around to visit, and see the progress to keep the streetcars alive.


April 15

Phase II!!! Yes, Saturday was full with Phase II work, and lots of it. All the structure and plywood bed is set for the first half of the staging yard. This is the main section we'll work on before the Open House. After the Open House we'll continue with roadbed, track, and more structure. Alvar directed the construction, with lots of help from Bill, Howard, Jeff, and James.

Meanwhile Andy and Ed worked hard on pavement; Andy on the Railway Express area and Ed on the Coca Bubblie area. The goal is to have everything fully paved before the Open House, to show Gifford City at its best.

James, Jeff, and Alvar also worked until very early in the morning in order to make the TMRC Store fully functional. The store is now open to the public, so go ahead and endulge yourself with TMRC 'stuff'. In there you will find our first club car, the 50th Anniversary car. You can also get TNP/TMRC T-shirts and Hats.


April 18

Alvar Saenz-Otero started the Great Clean-up in anticipation of the upcoming Open House. He also did some repair work on a wall at one end of P-Yard. Andy Miller assisted in the clean-up and painted the plywood black in areas where the streets will go, thus giving visitors an idea of the future street plan. He also worked on a building which the manufacturer claims is a TV repair shop. John McNamara was the third member of the clean-up crew, while also painting the hinge inserts for the roundhouse doorways. Ed Drozd continued his work in the area of the Coca-Bubblie plant by smoothing the surface of the parking area that he had constructed last Saturday. John Purbrick applied scenic mud and weeds to various spots around Gifford City.


April 22

The great cleanup continued: the Sawmill section is now 'presented' at the current end of the staging yard (instead of packed). The old f-yard and the module created by Bill and Daniel still in building 20 now form a viewblock between the back east/west ends of the room. This puts them out of the way without having to hide them. Also, all the random parts were put ontop of the plywood pile. Now the only remaining items are lots of chairs and stuff on the tables. Alvar, Ed, Bill, Howard, and John McNamara all helped.

And Gifford City also continued to grow. Ed continued to pave the area around the Coca Bubblie plant; he also put together and painted an antique car that sits behind the Barber Shop Andy finished last week. Andy meanwhile added more details to the Railway Express agency, including a swapable (magnetic) sign that is for either the original 'Railway Express' or for 'Amtrak'! He also worked on the 'TV Repair Shop' on the other side of the street of the Barber Shop. John McNamara finished the installation of the inserts for the turntable hinges, as well as the installation of the rolling doors... the turntable seems scaringly close to being finished! Dick Lord helped to glue the retaining wall at the west end of Gifford City into place, and then John Purbrick began the scenic details for it. JP also worked on the pavement around the siding for the large nameless factory on the side of the river.

The following a great summary of the rest of the night and Sunday, as put by John P.:

Around midnight on Saturday, Treasurer Knight came into the clubroom with a heavy box of mixed coins from the Coke machine. While this was welcome from the viewpoint of ensuring our financial status, it meant significant work (as always) for some of us in sorting and rolling the coins.

As we (James, Alvar and I(JP)) sat down to sort coins, I asked the question, meaning nothing much, "Why does the machine separate the coins to test and count them, but then dump them into the same bucket so we have to sort them again?" Governor Saenz-Otero promptly left the table, opened up the machine and removed the coin-counter mechanism. As I continued sorting coins (Andy Miller came and helped) the Governor and the Treasurer dismantled the counter, had a series of quick conferences, and soon were performing surgery first with knives and files, and then with a Dremel tool. As I wrapped quarters, all I could do was protest weakly, "Guys, is this a smart thing to do?" Around 1:00am I left for home, with the coins all wrapped and the surgical team still at work.

Sunday evening I came back with trepidation, thinking the machine might be sitting dark behind an "Out of order" sign. What foolish fantasy! No, it was humming cheerfully in its place in the hallway. I got the keys from the clubroom and looked inside, and noted a new chute, made of styrene, beside the existing metal one feeding the coin box. In the coin box I saw a few dollars in quarters. And under the styrene chute was a large plastic cup containing five dimes.

The session really continued until Sunday night, when JP and Alvar worked hard to get our 10' poster for the infinite corridor and on the design of posters to put all over campus during this week, to advertise our Open House (ok, take a breath now :-).


April 25

Ed Drozd, Jeff Birkner, James Knight, John McNamara, Andy Miller, John Purbrick, and Alvar Saenz-Otero participated in general cleanup and layout operational testing in preparation for this Saturday's Open House. We also entertained two visitors.


April 29

Open House report. It went great! We had at least 75 people visting TMRC this Saturday, with many kids, parents, and students. Everybody had lots of fun, and although there were substantial psitons around, the catastrophees were quite minor. System 2 behaved pretty well, the trains ran almost constantly, and everybody who knew about electronics was impressed with our System 3 start. Plus, we had lots of good sales of t-shirts and hats, plus our first 'local pre-sale' of a TMRC 50th Anniversary car.

And, we even had some progress happen... in the middle of the confusion James tried to get the telephone system working, so that we could communicate the tower and P-yard easier. Well, there wasn't enough time to finish, but the project was begun, and maybe before the end of the term we'll have 6 telephones around the clubroom. A giant THANKS to Micheal Newman for giving TMRC a 'NetPhone' system that will make this project much easier.



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

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