Windsor Point Report

Seventeen club members participated in our annual NTRAL show at Windsor Point Retirement Home in Fuquay-Varina. Seven members were there all three days. It was especially good to see Linwood Wells and how he is recovering from his serious medical issues.

Viewing of the layout by residents of Windsor Point and guests was sparse at best, much less than during our shows on Father’s Day weekends. Windsor Point provided lunch on Saturday and Sunday. We also had background music for most of Sunday, although we will forgive Windsor Point for playing cowboy music instead of train music.

Setup began on Friday at 4:00 pm and completed for the evening at 8:00; modules had been set in place, leveled and clamped together, and some joiner tracks installed. Setup continued Saturday morning with the installation of 120VAC power and LocoNet cabling, the remaining joiner tracks and curtains. However, serious problems were encountered such that it was 2:35 pm before the entire layout was operational.

The first problem was the driver for the Lollipop Transportation Company arrived with the wrong vehicle. He then returned to his garage and returned with the correct vehicle housing Lollipop Farm module.

Things went rapidly downhill from there. When track power was turned on a red track short circuit was detected. This was finally traced to the red track and the newly installed orange track on Grey Rock Corner. Clearly the problems found with this module at New Bern had not been fixed. Considerable time and effort was made to resolve the problem with the module in the layout.

Finally, around 11:00 am the Superintendent ordered Grey Rock Corner taken out of the layout, and replaced with Gold Hill Corner. This resolved the red track problem and allowed operation on the rectangular portion of the layout, or so we thought. Of course, there was a big hole in the layout where Gold Hill had been located.

Raleigh Yard was the next problem to solve. There was a reversed wiring lead in the crossover module, plus the yard modules had not been electrically connected resulting in no power to the yard tracks. Finally, auxiliary power needed to operate the turnouts was connected and Raleigh Yard was on line. Trains could finally run completely on the rectangular part of the layout. A broken wire on Raleigh Yard throat was discovered and fixed on Sunday.

Grey Rock Corner was placed on a table for troubleshooting by the committee of Jim Kalenowski and Joel McCurry. After lunch Linwood Wells joined them, and the correct repairs were implemented. Grey Rock was then installed in the layout where Gold Hill had originally been located and the entire layout became operational. A Powerpole wye-connector was installed at the Red Rock end of the module to power the orange track since the FitzGerald Yard end was an electrical district boundary. A wrongly-connected Blue to Alt. Blue connection was fixed.

There were some problems with travel through Lollipop Farm, which were fixed on Sunday morning. A phase issue at Red Rock Junction was also fixed.

Because of all the problems on Saturday morning we did not do a good job of cleaning the tracks. Track cleaning and the resulting needed wheel cleaning were an issue throughout most of the weekend.

DCC

The repaired and repackaged DCS240 was setup to control the layout. However, after about 10 minutes on Saturday morning it would not control the layout. It was replaced by the club’s DCS200 Command Station. A full checkout of the DCS240 using a throttle on Saturday night indicated the DCS240 appeared to be operating properly.

The DCS240 was replaced into the layout on Sunday morning and connected to JMRI via a LocoBuffer rather than the built-in PR3. The DCS240 operated well all day. Further testing of the DCS240 will be done offline to determine if there is a problem with the built-in PR3 function, the PR3 driver in the computer or JMRI.

Module Issues

Mountain Left / Rock Junction: The LocoNet Bus has not been installed on these modules.

Mountain Left: The left end of the red track is about 1/8” forward of where it should be to properly match the red track on the adjoining module.

Rock Junction: The scenery needs to be redone into a more realistic green color. The blue track is loose where crossing the bridge, which resulted in some derailments; this must be fixed. The worst problem is the Green track. It is not at the correct height, the track weaves such that trains rock and roll through the module and must run very slow so they do not derail. This module cannot be in future layouts until the Green track is brought into spec.

FitzGerald Yard: As at Pittsburgh the signals on Fitz Yard were not operational, except for the Blue track. Jim Kalenowski will be working with the manufacturer of the circuit boards to resolve the problem.

Rule Violations

There were two major rule infractions during setup on Saturday morning:

  • When a joiner track was found to be slightly long the member involved pulled out a file and began to file the rail end so it would fit. This was noticed by another member and the action was stopped. Note that all our joiner tracks have been precisely measured and marked as to length. Any alteration to the length without a corresponding re-measurement and marking creates problems with future setups.
  • A member installing joiner tracks placed a donut on the module, although it was on a napkin. This violates the rule of no food on the layout.

Lost & Found

I have the end railings, brake wheel and ladder set from a caboose that was found on the layout. It is orange in color. Please check the cabooses you ran at Windsor Point to see if this rail set is from one of them. Let me know.

Overall

Everyone enjoyed the show as we usually do at Windsor Point. Next year we can go b ack to our normal Father’s Day weekend.

 

John Wallis

Show Superintendent

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