November 8 & 9 brought the Trackers back to the Rockville Senior Center to participate in the 24th Annual Rockville Lions Club Benefit train show. This is a very fun, small show that hosts various clubs from around the metropolitan area to showcase their layouts and trains to the public. This is a very family oriented show – and lots of fun and is a watershed event for the Trackers, being the very first public display event the Trackers participated in and the show that got me to join the Trackers almost 10 years ago.
In addition to the Trackers, railroads in Lego, Z, N, HO, G, and Standard gauges were all present, in addition to the Loco Doctor. It was particularly nice to see many new displays and modules by many of the clubs – the Z gauge club in particular, had a very nice airport and runway, ski slope, and wind turbines. In addition, being fascinated with intricate and somewhat unsual track designs (don’t ask me why…) I was particularly interested in the dual gauge trackage on the HO layout. N scale and HO rails on the same track. Cool stuff! Ed Beaver also lead the building of a Standard Gauge railroad in the adjacent sunroom. With Trackmaster George Tsakiris as our leader, we filled the room with a nice sized oval layout. I also offered to be the Assistant Trackmaster and George willingly accepted the idea (…..not sure what he was thinking….). Overall, I think the event went well and everyone had fun and plenty of run time. In past years, a large accordion style room divider wall and fish tank limited out room even further but with those removed, we were able to “spread out” a bit more.
Remembering the 2013 show, outside of about 2 modules, there was no scenery. Just a barren wasteland of track and trains. I asked all participants to bring scenery and to make sure their displays all had a little “something” to them. All members beautifully decorated their modules and this was, in my opinion, one of the most varied and interesting Tracker display’s Rockville has seen in recent years. The following Trackers participated:
-Jeff & Casey Talaga (inside and outside yard track)
-Tony Duncanson (Oil Refinery)
-Chuck Pestacchi (Circus)
-Carl Condon (double crossovers and sidings)
-Joe Helsing (lots of fun accessories)
-Dave Bonner (bus depot scene)
-Ralph Fox (M&Ms and animals)
In addition, Mike Fistere Martin Dougherty and his son, Rick Eudy, new member Ron Tucker, Andrew Israel and his boys, Jack Frost and his grandson, Bob Easton, Dave Eadie, and new member Dave Malmquist all joined the fun. Special thanks to Dave Sealing and his wife for towing the trailer to the show and assisting with set up in addition to Jeff Talaga for taking the trailer home. If I missed anyone, my most sincere apologies.
Operationally, the layout ran well. Two minor issue – a poor repair from a previous show to the ground on the Geezer Gate. Thanks to Jeff for properly fixing it. Second, on Sunday morning, the inner conventional loop totally stopped. We tried resetting the transformers, followed the published instructions included with the power cabinet, and more minor troubleshooting tactics. Jeff Talaga dug out his multimeter and found power going in to the TIU Variable channel but nothing coming out. My personal hunch is the internal fuse on the TIU channel blew but I’m not an expert and I’ll leave further investigation to the experts – I’m not touching the power cabinet! Of course, this doesn’t include some distracted engineers, particularly our Trackmaster who may have been talking instead of paying attention, and happily plowed into the back of the Assistant Trackmaster’s train. No damage, just some bruised pride and we were quickly back to runnin’ in circles all afternoon. This was the first Rockville show the power cabinet was used and was overall extremely beneficial in operation and set up thanks to everything being built in.
Also on Sunday, Tracker Mike Fistere brought over his beautiful 1934 Packard Roadster. Chuck, Mike and myself took it to lunch Sunday. What a beautiful car. Thanks to Mike for letting us enjoy it with him. Word is if you tell him how nice of a car it is a certain number of times, he lets you borrow it for a weekend or two. See Mike for further details…..
This being a show where many questions of “how to we get a train set”, “where to buy”, etc are asked by the public, I had the idea of setting up and “intro to O Gauge” poster. I tried to make it as informative and easy to read as I could but unfortunately couldn’t fit everything. I can see this expanding in the future. In addition, Paul Johnson of Catoctin Mountain Trains generously donated to me boxes of MTH and Lionel Train Set and Signature Catalogs as well as business cards attached to each catalog. I’m happy to report many excited kids, young and old, took catalogs home and hopefully the display inspired them to get into the hobby or dust off their old trains from years past. See below for photos of the display on Saturday morning. By Sunday, about 7 boxes of catalogs were gone. Only a handful came back home with me.
Thanks to all that participated. As always, it was a LOT of fun and I look forward to next year!