Read about the O gauge model train layout at the Fairfax Station Museum’s annual holiday event by the National Capital Trackers complete with photos.
Here is the show report from the 2019 Timonium Show.
TRACKMASTER’S REPORT: TIMONIUM GREAT SCALE AND HI-RAIL SHOW February 1-3, 2019
For the third year, the National Capital Trackers had a layout in the Great Scale and Hi Rail Show, Timonium, MD State Fairgrounds. Set up began midday on Friday, February 1. Early arrivals George Tsakiris, Don and Mitch Hemmer, and the Trackmasters started with a noon lunch at Hightops Grill. After lunch they were joined by Doug List, Matt Pendergast, Bill Knapp, and Chris Young and setup continued in earnest.
The layout was a V-shape designed by Ed Beaver, also used at the B&O Museum Show in
2018. Modules provided by George, Don and Mitch, Bill K. and Chris went into place on Friday.
On Saturday morning, modules proved by Jack Frost, Tim Minor, Regis Harkins, and Steve and Matthew Kehn completed the layout. The design came together smoothly with no need for make-up pieces. Trains were running shortly after the show opened to the public at 9 AM.
Despite double checking all connections, we could not obtain a green light of connectivity. Perhaps some module has a faulty plug. However, trains ran on all lines without difficulty.
Operation was generally smooth. One mishap when the middle track lost it middle rail insulator at the Geezer Gate was quickly repaired by Tim Minor.
Visiting operators on Saturday included Clem Clement, Dave Eadie, Ben Saxe, Matt
Pendergast, Matt Flanagan, and new members Ben and Owen Almquist and Chuck Mulchi. Numerous other Trackers visited without trains. A total of seventeen Trackers operated trains over the two-day period.
Clem’s historic pieces had some occasional difficulty with switches and power. One locomotive had slider contacts that did not touch the third rail. Pre-war large flanges may have difficulty with modern scale track, such as Gargreaves.
The Trackmaster again allowed some children to operate a Lion Chief Amtrak set. There were no derailments or other incidents. Members with Lion Chief may wish to consider some “hands-on” operation with selected youthful visitors. It provides surprise and pleasure to the children and their parents, and may help increase youngster’s interest in the hobby. Several youthful operators did say they had Lion Chief at home.
Matt Young and Chuck joined the regular crew again on Sunday, and operations again progressed smoothly. While there were the usual Tracker donuts on Saturday, Dan Danielson surprised the group with donut holes on Sunday. Much appreciated! Note should also be made of the outstanding baked goods on Saturday provided by Mrs. Tim Minor.
Attendance figures were not available at the time of this writing, but Saturday was quite busy, with the parking lot full and lines at the door. Sunday is historically less busy, but still relatively steady. Several prospective new members took brochures each day.
Scenery started coming down at 3 PM on Sunday, and full layout take-down was completed in what may be record time, at 4:30 PM. New members Ben, Owen, and Chuck were a big help in take-down.
Participants left tired but happy, and in plenty of time for the Super Bowl.
Bill Hakkarinen, Trackmaster
View John’s 2017 National Train Day show report:
12 with modules: me, Ed, Dave, George, Tim, Fred, <moderator>, Bob B, Bill K., Dr.
Bill, Martin, and Carl, helpers included Frank C., Barry, Andrew Y., Chris Y,
Matt Y, Matt P, and Matt F. (Three Matts?) who just came out to help.Dave brought the trailer at 7:30. Due to the many hands on deck, the layout was
up and running when the museum opened at 10AM. We had no problems, and the green light was lit.?
Trackmaster Ed Beaver designed the layout and had input from John Harper. Thanks to them we had a nice layout that was interesting to the eye and enjoyed by the visitors. I had in advance requested people bringing modules to decorate them
with holiday scenes and most were. The result was great, very Christmasy.I also asked for everyone in advance to test and charge their locos at home
before bringing them to the show, this resulted in a lot less drama this year as
most trains on the layout fired up with no drama, a big improvement.We had great performance from the layout, all the systems ran great. The DCS
signal was strong, allowing for loading engines from the track and fine control
such as measuring track voltage, odometer reading, etc. TMCC/Legacy ran great
too. Several of us (including me) enjoyed using the DCS wifi from our IPhones.I owe a great deal of gratitude to Ed, and Dr. Bill for being acting Trackmaster
a few times when I couldn’t be there due to work, and due to my father having
had two heart attacks that week and being in the ICU. Thanks friends.?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
<moderator> 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).
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: