Danville Old 97 Railroad Days - 2017
Old 97 Rail Days 15th Year
The 115th Anniversary of the Wreck of the Old 97 was held in Danville on September 22 – 24, 2017. Approximately 40 members of the Eastern N Lines Partnership Clubs participated in the events of the weekend. A visitor from the past, Tom Fredenberg dropped by with his wife Tracey; Tom was heavily involved with Danville in the early years of the show. Dave Beazley from RANTRAK also participated after an absence of some years.
This event was well advertised in Danville both beforehand and with three TV/video stations doing interviews on Friday afternoon. Public attendance was approximately 400 on Saturday and 100 on Sunday. Activity was posted to ENL’s Facebook page throughout the weekend.
The layout was the longest we can fit into the Pepsi Building at 62 feet, although it has been suggested for the future to keep it 4’ shorter at 58’’. At 24’ wide, we chose to keep the layout narrower than the maximum possible. Overall the layout was almost identical to the layout at NSE in Pittsburgh in June. The final layout diagram is attached.
Initial arrival and setup of the layout began about 9:45 am on Friday with all modules in the building by 1:30 pm. The layout was essentially complete and operational by the break for dinner and hotel check-in at 5:00 pm. In the evening the usual problems (wiring, track, etc.) were resolved, with a problem with one module carrying over to Saturday morning for resolution which took right until the show opened to the public to resolve. The layout was fully operational from that point on.
Overall operations ran very well, with only a couple of cornfield meets; no passengers were killed or injured. Having both the NJS and FitzGerald Yards provided more setup flexibility with less crowding around either yard. There were also plenty of sidings where and engineer could park a train for a short period. The train length rules were followed which helped prevent congestion.
Train watching was very good as usual, with the NS Virginian and Central of Georgia heritage diesels being seen during the weekend.
On Saturday evening we were treated to some fantastic entertainment by a group of 4 musicians. Now we didn’t learn the official name of the group, but some suggestions were “Carl and the Hobos”, “The Rockin’ Toxin Rockettes”, and the “Breakneck Bandits”. With another couple of years practice we should be able to rent Carrington Pavilion and invite the citizens of Danville to a concert!
Re DCC, from an operator’s point of view the overall layout operated very well. There were some behind the scenes issues which, while being investigated and solved, did cause some disruption to operations. The results of the investigations and testing will be sent to Digitrax for discussion and resolution. These primarily related to the new Digitrax LNWI unit, 2 of which were being tested at Danville.
On Sunday morning the Annual ENL Meeting was held. Some NTRAK Inc. items were covered, including the recent death of Bob Gatland. Upcoming train shows were discussed. Overall coordination of ENL events was transferred to Jean-Marc Gadoury from John Wallis. Lynchburg will be coordinating Danville 2018.
Tear down of the layout began at 2:00 pm on Sunday, with all loaded and out of the building by 3:40 pm.
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