NRV Spring into Trains Show 2018

NRV Spring Into Trains Show Report

The North Raleigh Model Railroad Club attended the 2018 Neuse River Valley - Spring into Trains Show in Raleigh, NC May 5, 2018 where we setup and operated an T-TRAK layout.

Summary

This was a new show for NRV, which took over the show from the TCA this year. According to George Lasley, approximately 100 tables were sold and 500 paid admission, and we saw continuous crowds at our layout all day. In addition, we gave out 36 Junior Engineer certificates at the show, with many, many thanks for Gerry Foster for manning this important feature of our presentation. At this time, George intends to do this show next year and has the building reserved for the same weekend, and I unofficially committed that we would be a part of the show next year, pending club approval.

Setup

Set up started at 3 pm Friday when several members arrived and unloaded equipment from their private vehicles.  We were allotted a very large area to set up our layout and one of the early decisions was how to utilize this large space. The trailer arrived at approximately 4:30 pm and was unloaded in about 15 minutes.  At this time, the tables were set-up and drapes applied; Wallis yard and several member modules were put together.  Friday set-up was completed at 6 pm. Friday set up participants included John Wallis, Joe Peacock, Paul Ohegyi, Gerry Foster, Joel McCurry, Bob McGeehan and his daughter Cheryl and myself.

Saturday set-up began at 7 am with the arrival of coffee and donuts courtesy of Mike Floyd. A bit of layout plan adjusting was rapidly completed on the spot, the track was cleaned and trains were up and running by approximately 8:30 am.  In addition to the Friday crew, the Saturday set-up crew included Geoff and Ryan Flegel, Joe Austin, Joe Johnston, Mark Blaustein and David Thompson.

This layout was a full 10 table, E shaped layout that debuted a new triple wide grain elevator module by Geoff and Ryan Flegel and a total of 11 members brought modules to the show. This was one of our larger T-Trak layouts and after a bit of adjustment to the track, ran extremely well throughout the show. It was also one of best looking layouts as the large majority of modules had well-done scenery with many having motion or lighting effects. 

Issues discovered at the show:

  • The direction/brake lever on the Digitrax Zephyr Extra Command Station was found to be broken on Saturday morning. This did not affect the command station function of the system but did not allow the Zephyr to be used as a throttle.  John Wallis will be sending the unit back to Digitrax for repair.
  • A persistent issue on the outside (away from the junction) half of the Apex diorama module is the butt joint track next to the asphalt plant. The butt joint itself is fine and continues to function well, but the track connection from the butt joint track to the continuing track did not have a rail joiner installed and a solder patch was for electrical connection to the butt joint track. This soldier patch has failed several times in the past creating a dead spot in the track there. A quick and dirty patch job with solder was done again before the show started, but this is a at best a temporary fix and repeated fixes of this type will almost certainly damage the rail and track over time.  The solution, suggested by Joe Peacock and endorsed by myself, is to solder electrical feeders to the butt joint track, eliminating the use of the solder patch.  I am recommending that this be done before the next use of the Apex diorama module to prevent any further damage to the rails at as a failure of the rail at the butt joint will require a major surgery as opposed to this small fix. I will work with the appropriate members to get this done as soon as possible.
  • There were a lot of show attendees milling around our set-up and staging area in back of the spine of the show, sometimes to the point of getting in the way of our operating the layout. Normally this is not an issue as we don’t have nearly as much room in that area as we did at this show, but the possibilities for problems or mischief in this situation are significant and I would like to start a discussion on how to minimize this in the future.

Not really an issue, but a comment. With this four- table spine and three two- table leg set up, we had quite a long layout but still had room for at least four more double wide modules.  Our basic limitation at the show was not table space, but having modules with full scenery to display as we still had to use some bare modules to fill out the layout.  So here’s the challenge folks, we have the room, get your modules sceneried and approved so we can have an even better T-Trak layout next time.  We can always get new tables if we need them….

Teardown

Take down started at 4 pm and was completed and all loading of tables, modules and equipment for the next show at Spencer, NC,  was completed by 6 pm. Members who assisted with the take down included myselfe, Joel McCurry, John Wallis, Joe Peacock, Sly Glass, Chris Thompson, Geoff Flegel, Joe Johnston, Joe Austin, Mark Blaustein and Mike Floyd.

New member John Page attended the show and several prospective new members came to the layout and indicated interest in exploring a membership with the club. By my count, 23 members attended during set-up or the show, and that is a great effort by the club. Thanks to all who helped out with the layout and came to the show to run trains or support the club.

 

Todd Shoffeitt,  Superintendent

 

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