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April '08
This page describes work accomplished on the new TMRC layout during the month of April 2008, as taken from the descriptions posted to the club mailing list.
April 5

Testing locos in preparation for the Open House on the 26th.


April 19

Plenty of progress but a paucity of pictures to prove it.

For most of the night the club room was occupied by only students and recent students. There hasn't been an all-student meeting night in a long while, if ever. David Backus, Quentin, Genya, Thomasz, and David Lambeth were all present tonight.

The first order of busines was to recycle five large bags of old, sticky, disgusting empty soda cans. David Backus, Quentin, and David Lambeth spent over an hour at Star Market feeding cans into the machine. It took so long mainly because the same poor supermarket employee had to keep coming back to fix four or five cases of full or jammed machines. Results: 673 cans and 82 bottles recycled, and an extra $36 revenue for the club.

With one week to go until the open house, it was track cleaning night. David, David, Tomasz, and Quentin polished the entire main line, including hidden track, and David L. wiped down the visible main with conductive hair clipper oil to remove the residual dirt.

David and David tested locomotives in preparation for the open house, and David L. made several new car storage trays to hold some of the passenger equipment.

Meanwhile, Tomasz, Quentin, and Genya were fiddling with the system and the prototype for the new hardware cabs. They debugged the software which talks to the h-cabs and prepared upgrades to the cab driver. After the open house, the new h-cab will be able to work anywhere on the layout, not just on the test jack.

The final event of the night was preparation for a floor waxing. David and David raised the soda cartons off the floor on 2x4s to keep them from being damaged. Chairs and trash cans were gathered by the computer desk and everything on the floor either got put away or shoved deep under the layout. David B. swept up the loose dirt and trash.


April 23

The floor cleaners who were supposed to wax half the room last night never made it into the club room. It seems the good folks at facilities no longer have any sort of key that can get into our club room. The waxers showed up, saw the "Be back soon!" note from last Saturday's dinner, and waited around in vain.

Tomasz had been having some difficulties running trains: blocks that wouldn't reverse, switches that wouldn't throw. He and JP spent a while digging around for the culprit. It seems last Saturday's experimentation with the hardware cabs threw some breakers controlling the area around the freight yard. Once those were reset, the layout was running smoothly again!

Tomaz and David L. ran trains to test a few more locomotives. The train of ten autoracks turns out to be too heavy for most engines to pull up the helix by themselves. For the open house that train will have to be split or double-headed. The grade crossing in Middle Heights kept knocking cars off the track because the sidewalks were so close to the rails they literally picked up the sideframes of passing cars and threw them aside. For future reference, sidewalks should not extend inside the loading gauge, just like anything else. A couple of freight cars had problems and had to be fixed. It's really difficult to tell what's wrong with a car just from watching it derail or uncouple. More than likely, a tutorial on how to troubleshoot cars and locomotives will be forthcoming this fall, to shift some of the burden off David L.

Saturday's room cleanup continued, with the couch going under Middle Heights and the trash cans, bunkies, and remaning chairs being picked up. Unfortunately, cleaning up the floor seems to have cluttered the other horizontal surfaces in the room. Now we have to clear those before Saturday.

The happy ending to the mishap with the floor cleaners is that they returned at 11:00 and stripped and waxed the whole floor in one night. The dull, dirty, scuffed, and stained floor that we had all become accustomed to is now bright, shiny new. Everything is looking fantastic for Saturday's open house!



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

+1 617 253-3269
x3-3269 (on campus)
Email: tmrc-web@mit.edu
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