In a normal year, this would be the first day of the fall train-show season. I’d be in the car right now, with a load of T-Trak modules and gear, on the way to the fairgrounds in Syracuse. I’d spend the afternoon dragging folding tables into position, shimming them up into some semblance of levelness, spreading tablecloths, laying out modules and cables, and building a railroad to run in public all weekend. I’d be doing the same thing next weekend, and several weekends after that, right into mid-December.
But this is 2020. None of that is going to happen. Everything is cancelled. (more…)
I’ve never seen anything like this. Occasionally, a train show gets cancelled for a snowstorm, or maybe some last-minute problem at the venue. But within the past few days, two local shows, and an upcoming NMRA division gathering, have been cancelled for the COVID-19 outbreak. (more…)
The Windlenook layout, unfinished as it is, has been out to a number of different places this year: a few library shows, an NMRA-sponsored 4H event, and even a birthday party. The electronics haven’t changed since last winter, but I have made progress on structures.
When I took the Windlenook project on its very first outing to the Maker Faire last November, I had to hook it up to an old MRC power pack. I’d attempted to get an Arduino-based joystick throttle working at the last minute, and couldn’t get it to respond. I finally revisited the throttle circuit after New Year’s, and discovered that it was just a few code errors away from working. Oh, well. (more…)
Last weekend, after teasing this project to my friends for over a year, I finally brought my new HO scale project out into the open. This is my interpretation of the classic Inglenook switching puzzle. (more…)
When I joined the club in 2003, we had space in one of the local malls, which we filled with an Ntrak modular layout, and opened up for public display at least once a week. The space had started out as a bookstore when the mall first opened, later was used by an athletic-shoe retailer, and was given to us when the mall found itself with an excess of unrented space. This particular mall had always had trouble attracting business, and it just got worse over time. For a while, there were more community groups than retailers. This was obviously unsustainable, so in 2009, mall management evicted what few tenants remained, and locked the place up. We haven’t been in a mall since, until last month. (more…)