2017 Johnson City Show Report

Superintendents' Report

The second (annual) train show at East Tennessee State University was held Friday June 2nd - Saturday June 3rd and was sponsored by the George L. Carter Museum and the ET&WNCRR (Tweetsie) Historical Society.  The local model railroad club is located in a basement of the Campus Center Building on the ETSU campus.  The University was built on land donated by George L Carter and the Carolina Clinchfield & Ohio Railway and local model railroaders enjoy the continued support of the University president.


The layout for this show included 34 individual modules; 15 from the Lynchburg Area N Scalers (LANS) and 19 from the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club (NRMRC).  All of the crew and equipment arrived at the ETSU “Mini-Dome” by 3:00 pm on Thursday afternoon.  Setup began with the placement of Red Rock Junction at the ‘center’ of an “E” shaped layout.  This was the first arrangement of modules in a capital “E” format with three (3) end loops and made for some interesting long runs.  Chris Thompson has a detailed plan of the layout that we can use for future shows when a “circle” arrangement may not be desirable.

A total of 8 club members made the trip over to Johnson City and were joined by 4 guys from Lynchburg.  We also had Frank Fezzie from Hendersonville running trains on the layout.

Layout setup came together quickly once we decided on the final layout configuration.  By about 7:00 pm on Thursday evening, most of the DCC cabling had been installed and only some track work and curtain hanging remained to be completed before the show opened on Friday morning.  In addition to our N-TRAK layout, there was an HO modular layout, a small Z-Scale layout and a live steam modular setup that was fortunately (this year) located on the other side of the building.  A number of vendors were present with a variety of N-Scale items for sale; however, most of us kept our money in our wallets.

There were a few cases of wires being plugged up wrong causing extra work for the trouble shooters. Before a module is placed upright we MUST be sure to let down all the interconnection wires.


Trains were running when the show opened at 10:00 am on Friday with a few track problems, a few alignment problems and some issues with the DCC equipment.  Dave Thompson can explain what happened and what repair work will now be necessary.  Most of the problems had been solved by lunch time and the layout saw a continuous parade of trains until 8:00 pm on Friday and all day on Saturday.


Although no ‘head on’ collisions occurred, there were a number of close calls as the three loop track plan made the train crews pay close attention to traffic in both directions.  Running on the mountain division was also a challenge as each end loop of the “E” required trains to drop back onto the Blue/Red lines.  Of special note was the new “Big Blow”  Union Pacific turbines owned by John Wallis and Peter Schumann from Lynchburg…….impressive.  Special thanks to Bill Royce who drove over from Georgia and ran some of his L&N equipment.

Tear Down

Tear down on Saturday went remarkably well as we (and Lynchburg) were loaded up and ready to depart in record time (don’t you just love it when a plan comes together).  The modular equipment was divided up between Dave D and Joel M so that we will be ready for Pittsburgh at the end of June.


As a footnote; the local club/museum was open both Friday and Saturday and is well worth the short walk from the ‘mini-dome’.  The layout space includes a large HO layout, a G-Scale layout, and a moderate size N-Scale layout. In a separate room is the HO/HON3 Tweetsie dual gauge layout which is still under construction.  The scenery is fabulous along with the numerous scratch-built structures……I went over both days and could spend hours studying all of the details.


The show was a success and was well organized; attendance was just Ok on Friday and was a little better on Saturday.  The NRMRR Club should consider coming back again next year.

DCC Addendum

DCC setup progressed normally, thanks to many helpers. When we powered up for testing we found one DCS200 booster not getting proper rail synch signals from the DCS240 command station.  In the process of tracing this problem we found the DCS150 booster was placing a higher than normal load on the rail synch leads. In the end the command station was replaced by our DCS200 and the DB150 was replaced by another similar unit.  No delay in running was caused by the DCC system. The retired Digital Master has sent these two units to Digitrax for repair. The system ran both days without significant problems reported.  There were at least two instances where someone accidently turned track power from on to standby which was fixed simply by turning track power back on. A new router was used to support the WiThrottle application and, and as far as I know, worked flawlessly with no problems reported.



Final Layout

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