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January '01
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of January 2001, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
January 3

Ben FrantzDale visited from his undergraduate work at Harvey Mudd College in California, accompanied by his friend Molly. Suffering an attack of ambition after a meal at Royal East, he painted the tower! Andy Miller continued his work on the Caveat Emptor department store, and John McNamara continued his work on the roundhouse restroom. Malcolm Laughlin finished the "grading" into Berkmanville and commenced installation of roadbed lattice stock. John Purbrick installed switch machines in the helix area, developing special configurations to provide adequate vertical clearances for tracks that passed under the switch machines. William Smith, a friend of Jeff Birkner, visited and assisted Ben.


January 10

John Purbrick brought in and tested a slightly changed version of System3 software. He also added some of his new pictures to the website. Alvar Saenz-Otero brought in new blades for the bandsaw and installed one. Alvar and John discussed some of the design/construction issues involved in the Phase II helixes. John McNamara replaced a wall and installed fogged glass in the roundhouse restroom. Ken Terrell tested the latest revisions to his Talgo train (and also tested how fast System2 can acquire new blocks for speeding trains).


January 17

Tonight was "show-off" night. Stephano Curtarolo showed off his nifty N-scale Y6B, complete with painstakingly applied decals. Andy Miller showed off his recently completed fire station mockup. He had created the sides with PowerPoint and had mounted the printout on foamcore. Ken Terrell showed off his TGV model. Alvar Saenz-Otero showed off his recently completed expansion of Berkmanville and modifications to the painting table. James Knight showed off the clubroom to the Technique photographer. Maybe we will get some pictures in the next yearbook. All present showed off the clubroom to a couple of vistors.

In addition to the above activities, Andy comtemplated some alterations to the fire station to make it look a little less tall. He also did some work on foundations in the Gifford City neighborhood in which the fire station will be located. James Knight worked on System 3 firmware. John McNamara assembled the roundhouse restroom, which is now complete (toilet, toilet paper, stall, frosted windows, paper towel dispenser) except for the sink. John Purbrick repaired the foundation of the concrete signal tower, and installed some grit and weeds scenery in a few bare spots.


January 24

Lots of people and lots of projects! John Shriver continued his work on paving the Gifford City streets in preparation for future trolley service. Alvar Saenz-Otero updated some CADrail files in preparation for the introduction of System3 in the staging yard. John Purbrick added more scenery around the recently-moved concrete signal tower (New Haven style). It is now located near the Whatahack River. Andy Miller did some painting and worked on reducing the height of his new fire station.James Knight worked on System3 and even controlled the train that Ken Terrell was running ("for small values of 'control'", says James). James has sent a separate email detailing the outstanding progress being made on System3. Stefano Curtarolo worked on a N-guage switch. Ken Terrell tested his Talgo and TGV trains. John McNamara and Ed Drozd did some miscellaneous puttering and supervising.


January 27

Alvar put up a mockup of how the back 'three layer layout' will look like, so that we could figure out the correct separation of the levels. Andy, Bill, Ed, John P., and Malcolm joined Alvar into confirming a 14" separation of the levels. This puts the lower level at 34", the middle level at 48", and the upper level at 62". It was agreed that the upper level would not have any major switching areas, since it is high enough to make it hard for shorter people to do any switching.

Other than the discussion, Bill & Malcolm worked on the track design for Berkmanville. They did this on paper over the plywood, so the next step is to transfer this to the plywood, then place the latice stock, and finally the track.

Andy super-detailed one of his passenger cars, including custom made sofas and chairs for a lounge. He also fixed an Aaron Burr car which was missing a switch. He continued work on the Gifford City Fire Deparment, after getting some consultation from Claude.

Ed helped a lot with welcoming several visitors we had throughout the day. He did work on a new locomotive of his own too. John McNamara continued to detail the inside of the Round House office space.

James, John P., and Alvar continued design work of System 3. JP and James discussed the changes needed to the existing 'IMP' (the processor that controls the Switch Cards) so that it interfaces directly with the System 3 SW developed by James. This will also allow us to use the current RSIG GUI software to run trains, while a new java-based GUI is developed. Alvar entered the conversation about how to interconnect the distributed System 3 cabinets. James and Alvar discussed the expected behavior of the GUI when it comes to having 'virtual' tracks that replace whole yards.


January 31

John Shriver added some additional paving in downtown Gifford City, while Andy Miller worked on Version 3 of his fire station mockup. Andy had consulted with our professional fire fighter, Claude Brown, and had found that the building scaled out too short for a ladder truck, so he made it longer. Malcolm Laughlin added roadbed in the Berkmanville area. John McNamara painted a sink for the roundhouse restroom and glued the faucets in place. John Purbrick added a gravel driveway to the signal tower so that employees could drive their pickups up beside the building, a Bill Onorato suggestion. John Purbrick also conferred with James Knight on computer interfaces for System3 and wrote some notes about the subject. Stefano Curtarolo worked on an N-gauge oil standpipe and began design work on a brass version of the Scherzer rolling lift bridge that John Purbrick had mocked up in Masonite some time ago. Hidetoshi Katsuma, who recently brought us a new Japanese railways calendar, visited.



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

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