View John’s 2017 National Train Day show report:
View John’s 2017 National Train Day show report:
Many Trackers popped in during the week to run and we had two trains per track
most of the time. Many Trackers enjoyed the Tracker Perk of Cab rides on the
Problems were few, but we had two:
Near the end of the day on Tuesday, a short popped up on the inner loop, Ed and
Chick isolated it down to the Geezer Gate, it was a broken center rail insulater
causing the short, and some electric tape solved the problem on a temporary
basis. However, once put together there was another short on the inner loop, the
repair team retired for the day and we got in early the next day to tackle the
problem. Carl and I walked around the layout, I quickly saw a inside siding on a
module that was uninsulated, with cars, Carl quickly spotted a car that was
derailed causing the short. Problem fixed. (The siding should be isolated, with
an on/off switch)
On Wednesday Carl told me outer loop was not receiving power. I checked the
Z-4000 outputs with a multimeter, and they were putting out power. I then
checked the inputs on the TIU, they were getting power, checked the outputs on
the TIU, and noted one was not putting out power. My first thought was to turn
down the power on all Z-4000’s, and pull the auxiliary power input from the AIU,
rebooting the AIU. I left the AIU powered down for a minute, then plugged in the
auxiliary power, voila power came back to the Outer loop. We had no more trouble
with the AIU, but it should probably be inspected by MTH.
Again due to the 17 Trackers helping at take down, the museum closed New Years
Eve at 4PM and were on the road at 5:05. Unbelievable.
Thanks to everyone who helped and ran this week. The Museum and Museum visitors really enjoyed our layout, attendance was good, I saw smiles on the faces of
kids of all ages, the visitors put $126.55 in the collection boxes.
Personally, I had a wonderful time and enjoyed running trains with everyone, and
chewing the fat. You won’t find it in the by-laws, but fellowship and friendship
is a big part of the National Capital Trackers experience, and that’s what makes
all the work well worth it for me.
Thanks everyone for a great show,
Winter Wonderland Train Show Report
Manassas Candy Factory
Once again the Winter Wonderland show at the Manassas Candy Factory proved a success in spite of the weather. Above average crowds were evident Wednesday through Friday but the Ice storm Saturday impacted attendance. The ice around the Candy Factory building was very treacherous. Several Trackers slipped and fell but survived without serious injury. Attendance for this year totaled 1950 per the Candy Factory staff. Everyone who enters the building is counted by the security guard.
O Gauge Layout: The crossover module was included in this year’s 28 X 38 foot design and was configured as a three loop operation. The inner loop was a figure eight while the middle and outer loops traversed the perimeter of the entire layout. The layout height this year was the normal 40 inch, no grades. The configuration provided plenty of inside access for spectators and an interesting layout for trackers. The crossover proved hazardous with several near misses and two “T” bone incidents. No names will be mentioned. Scenery was exceptional again this year and generated a lot of interest. Monuments, winter scenes, city scenes and multiple mountains graced our modules. With 8 corners there were plenty of curves. Steve’s 44 car Norfolk & Western coal train was spectacular as it navigated every corner without incident.
Standard Gauge Layout: Many thanks to Ed Beaver for providing track and assistance with the setup. Ed’s special effort was appreciated. Clem and Ed put together an 8 x 22 foot tabletop layout that featured a Hell Gate Bridge, mountains and two loops of track. Operational assistance was provided by Norm Beaver (Ed’s brother), Harold and Dave Eadie… Clem ran his one of a kind Norfolk Western “J” engine and passenger car set all Standard gauge of course. Clem also had a unique patina (rust) train that was a survivor of a major disaster, fascinating!
Food: As usual the quality and amount of food was over the top. Spaghetti and meat sauce, Chili and fixings, Chicken soup, Sandwiches and Swedish meat balls. Of course deserts were plentiful, cake, pie, cookies, brownies and more. Thank goodness no calories are counted during tracker train shows. Thanks to all contributors, their efforts are appreciated.
Special Events: We opened early Wednesday, actually at 1 PM for a special private showing for a Prince William County Special Needs school group. The teacher showed up with 24 kids (K-4) and just as many parents, Plenty of Trackers were on hand to run trains to everyone’s delight. A Christmas train with multiple new gondola cars full of goodies provided candies for all. (We did check with the teacher before-hand). Santa and his Elf provided a surprise visit. Thanks to Chick and Martha for their special appearances.
Observations: Plenty of track time was available with the three fairly long loops. Everyone made an effort to keep the tracks full. Most of the time 4-5 trains were in motion. Traversing the outer loop at (MTH) 35 mph took 2 minutes 40 seconds.
The new cart for the VA four foot corners is very cumbersome to use. The thumb screws are difficult to reach both removing and inserting. The idea of a cart or carts for these corners is an excellent idea but needs to be refined. We could have carried the corners up and down (3rd floor to lobby) several times compared to the amount of time it took to mount the corners on the cart.
Food and money donations for “SERVE” seemed to be about the same as past years. I don’t have their report at this time. We did not use our Red donation boxes because boxes were already in place for the SERVE donations.
Summary: Another successful show. Spectators were very appreciative and all Trackers enjoyed themselves and the layout preformed as expected. No major problems were encountered. As usual it took about two hours to take down the layout (Elevator) and depart the Candy Factory. Many thanks for all the members who supported the show. The effort was over the top!
Candy Factory Trackmaster
See John’s report in pdf format:
Eagle Academy Public Charter School
Congress Heights Campus
3400 Wheeler Road, SE
Washington, DC 20032
17, 18 November 2016
The Team of Ralph Fox, Bill Hakkarinen, Ron Tucker, Sean Keenan and Chick Keenan (Trackmaster) set up the layout on Thursday 17 November 2016 and ran trains on Friday 18 November. We used 21 Modules plus the Geezer Gate from the Md trailer. We used the four foot corners and had the entire layout set for a 31.5” rail height. We decorated with a variety of toys and buildings with winter and Christmas featured on most of the modules. We set up the layout and most of the scenery Thursday night between 6 and 9 PM. We completed the scenery for the layout early Friday morning and started running trains by 0800. The first class of students arrived at 0915.
The audience included children from the ages of 3 thru 8 plus teachers and school staff. Between 0915 and 1400 approximately 900 students visited the layout. The purpose of the Trackers doing these shows at Eagle Academy is to talk about how trains are an important part of transportation in the US and everywhere else. After each class had a chance to look at the layout, they were moved up on the stage at the end of the room and one of the Team talked to them about types of trains.
The Eagle Academy staff attended the show and was very pleased with how the show went. Check the website for photos or this Youtube link for a video of the show. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dorEQW-Shk
The track plan was a rectangle 28’ x 32’. We used the Md Trailer for the Geezer Gate, Power Cabinet and Corners.
MdCor1 RF RF RF RF CK5B CK5B MdCor2
CK1B RT —————-
CK1B RT :
GG RT : Stage
CK2A CK4B :
CK2B CK4B —————–
MdCor4 BH BH BH BH CK3A CK3B MdCor3
Eagle Academy PCS
Capital Riverfront Campus
New Jersey Ave S.E.
9, 10 November 2016
The Eagle Academy Public Charter School Capital Waterfront Campus is the smaller of the two Eagle Academy campuses. The Eagle Academy Capital Waterfront campus had 124 students (pre-K thru 3rd grade) who attended the train show as part of their program on Transportation.
The Tracker Team of Chick Keenan (Trackmaster), and Bill Hakkarinen arrived on site at 1200 and promptly retired to an eatery across the street. We began the setup at 1300 after the students had finished their lunch in the cafeteria. We had trains running at 1545 and had everything completed by 1645. We used an 8 module square with the wide radius curves giving an overall layout of 20’ x 20’ with a rail height of 31 ½”. We encountered no issues getting to the facility or setting up. We were provided with parking which had easy access to the room. Numerous children looked into the room as we were setting up. They were clearly looking forward to the next day’s show. A number of them commented to friends that they remembered us from our show in February 2016.
Since there were only two of us doing the show, Bill ran on one loop with two trains running. Chick ran one train on each of the other loops which gave us plenty of run time. We began running trains at 0800 to ensure we were ready and then the students began coming into the room at 0900. One class arrived every 20 minutes. We ran essentially nonstop from 0900 until 1200. By that time all of the students (124) had been able to attend the show. The classes were scheduled so that the younger students came in first and the 3rd graders were the last classes we entertained.
We stopped the trains after about 15 minutes with the 2nd and 3rd graders and talked about the types of trains that used to run and still run now. We discussed Steam, Diesel and Electric power and the types of trains (freight and passenger). We had examples of each train and car on the tracks to show the students. Bill had a manual switch to show the students how trains moved from one track to another. We also talked about being safe near railroads and the need to stay off the tracks, that a train can come up very silently and hurt you. The students and staff enjoyed that part as much as watching the trains and looking at the decorations.
We were completely out of the building and on our way home at 1420. It was another very successful National Capital Trackers show.
Chick Keenan (Trackmaster)
The layout almost fully decorated with vehicles, buildings and figures.
One of the younger classes.
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