We had a very successful open
house. As often happens, there were people waiting outside when we
opened the doors at 2. It was quite hectic for the first couple of
hours as we discovered all the track we had forgotten to clean and
found problems with the locomotives and cars on the trains we ran. By
the time we had finished dinner and reopened at 7, though, we had most
of the kinks worked out and things seemed to run well.
Over a hundred people came to
see our layout, which is typical for the fall. The system worked flawlessly,
allowing us to run six trains at a time for most of the afternoon. We also had
both camera cars up and running, broadcasting live video from the tracks.
There were a few derailments and train breaks. Only one looked like it was
due to intruding fingers. The kids did a much better job of keeping their
hands off the layout than in past years. Considering how many trains we ran
and that most were much longer than usual, the rolling stock behaved quite
The big rock face at the viaduct was a big hit, and the newly-scenicked Middle
Heights area proved to be a popular place for train watching.
We ran under the spotlights after dinner, giving the layout an appropriate
"evening" appearance. Club alumn James van Bokkelen showed up for dinner and
stayed afterward to fix some track problems we had discovered earlier in the
day. Most of the active club members were present for at least part of the
day, including some we haven't seen much recently such as James Knight.
Overall the open house was a big success, and we showcased our work to many
people from the local community.
John Shriver also worked on the two
Brill streetcars, cleaning one and bringing the other one home for
Finally, a new feature was added to the System to, when possible,
reduce damage to cars and couplers due to deceleration. When a train
is ordered to stop on red, rather than stopping immediately, its speed
is gradualled ramped down. The train should still stop within two car
lengths of the block gap, but the cars should experience less
deceleration. This feature doesn't apply at very high speeds, as it is
important that trains stop before crossing the next block gap.
Tonight half a dozen people showed up despite the looming holiday, and a
considerable amount of work got done. David Lambeth went around the layout
repairing track problems that cropped up at the open house, which included
replacing a section of flextrack by sticking his head through the tower ladder.
Genya glued down the part of the Berkmanville passenger platform that was
sticking up and hitting the trains. John McNamara and Andy Miller schemed up a
way to build a difficult hill on the east end of Middle Heights. John Purbrick
continued work on his new warehouse building.
Genya also devised a train-break detection system that should fix a problem we
had at the open house. Since the plan is to have all cars occupy, if two or
more unoccupied blocks appear in the middle of a train the train will get a red
signal. This allows the operator a chance to reconnect a split train before the
front end races halfway around the layout.
New member Ben Kaduk came by and worked on the Gifford City firehouse. The
firehouse now fits neatly in place on the layout and needs only a roof and some
detailing to be complete.
Our soda supply is now fully stocked. Star Market had coke on sale this week
and David Lambeth took advantage of it by carting off sixty cases. The
supermarket staff don't seem to mind when he walks in with the TMRC handcart.
Sixty cases may seem like a lot, but after the open house and four normal days
of sales it took fifteen cases to refill the coke machine today!