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

John Purbrick added yet more track to the staging yard. He and Jeff discussed electrical issues concerning the yard, and Jeff began work on hooking up the principal switch (48) that will connect the staging yard to the rest of the layout. By the end of the night Staging had four functional tracks connected to mailine!

John McNamara created a replacement cover for the wiring access hatch that is in the middle of the turntable bridge. He also glued up two more of the roundhouse doors that had fallen (due to the use of double-sided tape to secure them). Ed Drozd continued his work on the fence that will be installed behind the barbershop building. In the same area, Andy Miller continued work on the parking lot railings for the REA/Amtrak Package Express building. Jared Jonas and Vicki Steinberg worked on an Amtrak passenger car that Jared is donating. They replaced the truck-mounted horn-hook couplers with body-mounted Kadee couplers. Jared also did some additional work on the garage building he plans for the trolley loop, and partially resucitated the TMRC high-rail van.


August 5

Ed began the construction of a large tank for the CocaBubblie plant (we would guess its for CO2, right?). Plus, he brought in several undecorated locomotives that will become part of TMRC's fleet, courtesy of Ed! Jared continued to work on his garage, while he awaits delivery of the battery pack for the X10 camera.

Alvar, Bill, and Ed worked to finish the design of the ladder out of staging and into the helix/turning loop/Berkmanville cut-off. All the lattice stock is now in place up to the end of the ladder... next the bit turning loop! Alvar will order several switches and track parts needed to finish the ladder. Meanwhile JP worked hard on laying down more track. About 70% of the large U-turn is now finished. John Shriver did his part of the trackwork by completing the troley loop and breaking up the inmense short they were forming originally. Theoretically, but plugging in a power supply, we could now run troleys in infinite loops around Gifford! Mark Stiles supervised all the work and helped find the few last shorts.

James, Jeff, and Alvar prepared the computers for the new network connection to MITNet, which will soon provide with a full server directly at the clubroom (tmrc-www.mit.edu). This will allow the club to begin streaming video of the new Cabs-Eye-View that Jared and Vicky are putting together.


August 8

Another great milestone! Jared Jonas and Vicki Steinberg completed work on the flatcar-mounted color television camera that will be used during Activities Midway less than three weeks hence. With the addition of some software that Alvar Saenz-Otero and James Knight will configure, this camera will enable prospective members to see the layout "live" on the Internet as a train progresses around the layout. It is hoped that this combination of model railroading and interesting technology will encourage sign-ups. Making dozens of trips around the layout, the car tracked perfectly. Transmissions were very clear, with only occasional very brief glitches. Evidence of electrical interference was completely lacking.

In the meantime, progress continued on the staging yard with John Purbrick, Malcom Laughlin, and Stefano Curtarolo adding both track and switches. Ed Drozd sanded a CO2 storage tank for the CocaBubblie building and experimented with paint colors to use on the barber shop fence. He also participated in the historic video event, as it was his locomotive that pushed the camera car. Jeff Birkner hooked up a TV monitor so that we could all watch the cab's-eye video on a larger screen. When Jeff needed an RCA-to-BNC converter to do this, one of the visitors present volunteered that he had one in his car! Jeff also did some additional wiring. John McNamara re-attached three more doors on the roundhouse. Alvar Saenz-Otero downloaded a video server program that will assist in putting the cab's-eye video on the net.

Former-TMRCie Bruce Bardes (after whom the Bardes Tower in P-Yard is named) visited with his wife and another couple. Andy Miller subsequently reported, "I did nothing all evening, and it's all Bruce's fault." A good time was had by all.


August 12

Alvar designed a support structure for the Sawmill, which is now placed on top of the 'helix supports'. This puts the Sawmill in a safe high place and gets it out of the way of the Staging Yard loop. Once the Sawmill was out of the way he was able to finish layout down all the latice stock and track to close the Staging Yard loop around the helix area. Stefano, Malcolm, and John B. worked on closing the loop on the inside of the yard. By the end of Saturday three tracks were finsihed!

Alvar, Bill, and Ed discussed the entrance to Gifford side of the ladder, which we want to change to allow all trains from Staging to turn around the loop under the tower and end up in any track of staging. A solution was found... which requires the use of a single-slip switch. Alvar had the switch on hand, so pending confirmation by MoW that the plan is reasonable, the changes are likely to place place within a week!

Ed also continued to work on the large tank for the outside of the Coca Blublie plant. Bill continued to work on the details of the Vegetable Oil building.

John S. continued work on the Trolley tracks. Today he installed the two poins for the switches into the ladder, allowing a trolley to run in an infinite loop around Gifford! He had lots of 'fun' with fitting the switch machines under the layout, since the bottom side under the trolley switches is already quite packed!

Jared continued to work on the Grandson-of-cabs-eye-view car. Ed brought in a flat car with very low flat section, and painted it TMRC red. It shall become the replacement fro the standard flat car currently being used. Jared, meanwhile, tested the placement of the receiver to maximize the singal-to-noise ratio. The current best spot appears to be above the tower, on the ceiling. More work still to be done. We could not do any recordings today due to the lack of time to read the manuals for the video capture software, but new videos will be on the web by month's end.


August 15

Ed Drozd continued his work on the CO2 tank for Coca-Bubblie. He also decorated a damaged TMRC 50th Anniversary car with a TNP Cushion Service decal and added decals to the double-stack chassis that will be used for the improved-clearance camera car. Andy Miller did some more work on the platform stairs for Gifford City Station, adding some really neat brass handrails. John Purbrick continued laying track and switches in the staging yard.

JP, supplemented by John McNamara and Alvar Saenz-Otero, discussed the relative merits of double-slips versus simple crossovers in various track plans between the tower loop and the staging yard. The conclusion: we will install the double-slip and test it for a few months. If no problems present, we win; if we have problems with it, replacing the double slip with a simple crossing will be trivial, and operation will not suffer greatly (we don't loose anything we have now, we still gain operation!).

On Tuesday, for the first time, a train passed around the staging loop under its own power. Because the two blocks which form the staging loop (16 for tracks 1-5 and 17 for tracks 6-8) aren't linked in the system, the train had to run from one block into the other and be re-assigned in the System. Efforts by Alvar and JP to fake out the system to connect the blocks proved to be fruitless due to missing connections on the MDF...


August 19

Alvar finished the modifications to the Gifford City entrance, after JP had installed the double-slip switch during the week. Alvar also fixed some track that he got wrong last week while fixing an 'S curve' problem with the three way switch, hopefully the last fix ;-). John B. continued to install the general track of staging, only two pieces missing!

John S. began to wire the trolley system! He got the feeders for all the tracks in the carbarn area installed today. Also, he began really nice documentaion for the new trolley system.

Bill continued to detail the vegetable oil facility. Andy painted several personal cars, which someday he'll run at TMRC :-).

and...

Ben Frantzdale (making a last visit to TMRC before he goes off to school in California), Alvar, and Malcolm produced a new version of the Grandson of Cabs Eye View!!! Of course, this was thanks to the hard work by Jared and Vicky, who go the hardware and installed all of it! You can find the new video in our Videos page.


August 29

The Activities Midway occurred this evening and featured a LIVE cab's eye view from a train traversing the layout. This was broadcast over the internet to a monitor at the Midway. A second monitor at the midway displayed a tape from a cab's eye view previously recorded at the Building 20 layout. Nifty posters and handouts completed the Midway presentation.

Ed Drozd, Jared Jonas, James Knight, and Vicki Steinberg represented the club at the Midway, while Jeff Birkner and (later) John McNamara monitored camera car activity at the clubroom. Ken Terrell provided some decorative motive power and equipment for the sidings.



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

+1 617 253-3269
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Email: tmrc-web@mit.edu
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