2017 Spencer Show Report
Five members from NRMRC and five members from LANS arrived on Friday morning by 8:45 and started setup. The CCNS layout was already up. LANS had already unloaded modules and were ready to go. The NRMRC trailer and van were unloaded by 9:20. Modules were setup, leveled and clamped by 10:15. At 11:30 all track joiners were in place and power was applied. After a few phase reversals, we were ready to run trains. Several headed for lunch while the rest stayed behind to setup trains and hang the curtains.
The layout was configured in three divisions for the show, Central Carolina Division, Lynchburg Division, and North Raleigh Division. Red Rock Junction was the division point between all three divisions.
The Central Carolina Division was comprised of a L shaped loop approximately 30' x 30' with a junction to the other two divisions.
The Lynchburg and North Raleigh Divisions were both linear with an end loop at each end. The Lynchburg Division was composed of twelve feet of straight modules, an outside corner, an inside corner, and an end loop. The North Raleigh Division was composed of twenty six feet of straight modules, two outside corners, and an end loop. Red Rock Junction was extended by one four foot straight to join the Central Carolina Junction. Lollipop was the end of the North Raleigh Division and allowed trains from the Yellow Main to climb to the Green Line. At the end of the Lynchburg Division, Roundhouse Curve brought the Green Line back down to the Red Main. There were Alternate Blue transition modules on either side of Fitzgerald Yard to give a long Alternate Blue siding. Crossover modules were on either side of Red Rock corner allowing trains to transition to and from the Yellow Main through Red Rock Junction.
Trains ran with few apparent track problems. Most problems seem to be self inflicted.
Gold Hill was in the layout as requested and operated without any reported problems.
Several reports were made on Crossovers for loss of power on turnouts. We were not able to determine if this was just dirty turnouts and need cleaning or due to some other problem. The newly refreshed Crossovers module looked very nice, great work by the refurbishment team (David D. and Jim K. I think)
On Fitzgerald Yard, the left turnout for Red to Orange needs a small adjustment to make the throw complete when aligned for the Red to Orange as several trains would pick the switch. There was the ever so small gap in the rails at the point in this position.
Roundhouse Curve was attached directly to the inside corner of Fort Custard and may have caused a strain on some of the longer trains. We should insert a straight section between the loops and any corners in future layouts.
Several pieces of rolling stock had high or low couplers (here is the self inflicted part). One train had problems with derailing the first car behind the locomotive until a car with body mounted couplers was placed directly behind the locomotive and the derailments ceased (another self inflicted problem).
On setup, it was observed (or finally figured out) the two of the track lengths have similar or possibly identical colors (red and red or red and orange) and they were mixed up when sorted at New Bern.
The DCC system consisted of two boosters powering the CCNS loop and a single DB200 booster serving both the Raleigh and Lynchburg divisions with a DCS240 serving as command station. There were no reports of malfunctions on Friday where the system operated from approximately 11:30 AM until 7:00 PM. On Saturday all ran fine until about 2:15 PM when the WiThrottle quit working and we were no longer able to communicate from the computer to the DCS240 using the direct USB connection. The LocoBuffer USB was connected from the computer and the DCS240 Loconet and the JMRI and WiThrottle was restarted. Operations continued without incident for the rest of the day. Since the direct USB connection has proven troublesome for several successive shows, I think we will use only the tried and true LocoBuffer USB from now on.
Teardown started about 4:46 PM Saturday afternoon with all trains were stopped at 5 PM. Two of the divisions were dismantled and packed away for the trip home with the Central Carolina division remaining setup. All was loaded by 6:41 PM.
Site, Exhibits, and Talks
The Backshop had a nice floor (much more level than the Warehouse) and all of the vendors and most other layouts were in there. Several talks were available, one by Scale Trains and one on western North Carolina railroading. An exhibit on western North Carolina railroading will be available until October. An antique truck show was also going on Saturday.
Thanks to all for a nice show.
Comments from Others
Marcus posted the following message on our CCNS FaceBook page:
Thank you to CCNS, Lynchburg, and North Raleigh for your participation in the Spencer train show. We will get working on next year's plan very soon. We learned a lot in this first show with nearly unlimited space.
I believe things went really good… It was a pleasure having you guys join with us. Maybe next year we can fill “N Scale Heaven”. Looking forward to it.
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