This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during
the month of April 2007, as taken from the descriptions posted to
the club mailing list.
- April 7 [pictures]
The big news for the evening is the great progress seen in the valley scene. Adam has been working on this area for quite a while, and managed to trick his parents into coming to MIT to help out. The three of them spent time Friday, Saturday, and plan to continue working Sunday. They have cast and installed a large number of rocks, patched in the gaps between castings, and colored the rocks a pleasant brownish grey. See the gallery for more pictures.
David Backus fiddled with his DCC locomotives and contemplated what would be needed to add DCC capabilities to System 3, eventually talking Quentin into working on the software aspects. Andy painted some cars. David and Adam discussed the upcoming operating session. Tom took some photos and video of the MITCo system and the camera cars used by the club.
- April 10
John Purbrick and Tom worked to fix problems with the plug-in cab interface boards in advance of the upcoming operating session. John McNamara and Adam went shopping for soda, buying a truly heroic amount of bubbly and refilling the maching.
- April 13 [pictures]
Tonight we had an operating session, timed to coincide with MIT's campus preview weekend, which is when pre-frosh come to visit and see what MIT life is all about. A bunch of trains were run, including long-distance passenger trains, freight and local switching. The system was a bit twitchier that we'd like, but worked okay, except when it would freeze up. Some additional problems were attributed to operator error. Two pre-frosh participated and learned how to run trains, and several more popped in to see what was going on. All in all, it was a rousing success, so our thanks go out to Adam for organizing the event, and to everyone who participated.
- April 14
It was quiet at TMRC tonight. Bill worked on a few scenery items. Genya fiddled with the server, fixing a few bugs. John McNamara took the initiative to start documenting troubleshooting procedures for System 3. Tom took a few pictures which will end up on the web page some day, and reorganized some club-related files on the Windows PC.
- April 21
Andy worked on a new building for Middle Heights. Making a rare weekend appearance, John Shriver fixed up the pink elephant, and used it to clean some of the dust in Gifford City. Tom cut down the fascia panels in the area aaround the newly finished river area so visitors next weekend will be able to see the scene, and took some photos for ads promoting the upcoming open house.
- April 25
John Shriver worked with the pink elephant to clean up Gifford City and other parts of the layout. John McNamara consulted about the system documentation he is assembling. John Purbrick and Andy Miller worked on scenery in Middle Heights. Winston worked on the fire station for Gifford City. James showed up and poked around in the computers. Tom did some clean up in advance of the open house, which is only three short days away.
- April 28
Our 60th anniversary open house was very well attended. This is due in part to our participation in the Cambridge Science Festival, and in part to out next door neighbors (MITERS) participaring in the same festival. Crowds were consistently above average throughout the afternoon, and were well above average for the evening session. The system worked well, and there were fewer derailments due to visitor interference than in the past, probably due to the recently installed plastic guards in front of F-yard.
We operated with the main lights off for some of the time, which led to some "moonlight" effects.
As an added bonus, club friend Dick Lord stopped by and brought an odometer car of his own design and construction. The self-propelled car measures the distance it has traveled using an encoder on the flywheel attached to the motor. The battery visible in the picture powers the measurement electronics and display only (it is separate from the track power that drives the car.) We finally know how long the first level mainline is: 3.91 scale miles on the outer loop, 4.00 scale miles on the inside. Most of the difference of 5.43 real feet is in the area under the tower: the inside loop goes around the tower, the outside loop goes past it in a straight line. (The photo is a composite of two pictures from the two loops around the layout.)
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