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November '07
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of November 2007, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
November 03

The first of the new cab drivers (i.e. the boards which interface the walkaround cabs to the communication bus) is complete and installed. It replaces the ever-unreliable unit 240 at the east end of the freight yard, and there was much rejoicing. Note that in this design the expensive RJ45 connector with LEDs is replaced with a plain one, with the LEDs on the side.


Tom cut ties for the new track in East Berkmannville, and not his fingers.


November 17 [pictures]

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 well.

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 some overhaul.

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.


November 21

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!



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Tech Model Railroad Club of MIT
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265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

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