- 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
- 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
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
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 :-).
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
- 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.