Railfair October 11 - 12, 2008
Railfair 2008 had to have had the absolute best weather ever! A cold front moved in the Friday before and really cooled things off. A bit breezy but with temperatures in the mid to upper 70's nobody minded at all. The terrific weather also brought some great crowds. This had to be one of the best Railfair's on record.
The years railfair also debuted the 4th version of the clubs portable layout. Work began in February with the complete rebuilding of all sections except the 4 curved pieces which are only 2 years old and built using the lessons learned from our past modules. We still employed the same PVC pipe leg systems and use door hinges to connect the modules. Also new was the NCE DCC system. The club decided to go DCC to better make use of the layout as not only will we run trains but will also be doing operating sessions during shows. This will keep us busy as well as show the public the fun of model railroading.
The maiden voyage of the layout could not have gone much better. Assembly was a snap with no real issues. We did add a couple of 2 foot pieces between the curves to give us more inside space and eliminate some trouble spot where the 2 curves met. Our first run we used Matt's Santa Fe engine with a Pullman heavyweight observation car behind it. If this car runs without derailing the track work is done right. It never derailed!
That is not to say we did not have some problems. One was self induced. In our rush to get the switching tracks wired we removed some insulated rail joiners and started causing some shorts. One of the circuit breakers did go bad but most of the electrial issues we caused. I do have to send a special THANK YOU to the Scottsdale Model Railroad Club. One of the things we needed is a programing track. Not having one, the Scottsdale club was nice enough to program our engines.
We did have some non-user DCC problems. The Cab 4e we purchased would not function at all. We found out later, The Cab 4e problem was clearly documented on page 793 of the 8-page manual provided with the cab. "When used with the Power Cab configuration, one side of the Cab 4e must be set to cab address 03. The other side (a separate cab) will be non-functional. The reason for this is that the basic Power Cab system is designed for only two throttles (cabs) total - the Power Cab itself plus one other." Since we were using Tim's Power Cab as a second throttle, it took the cab address of 03 by default, and the Cab 4e could not be added to the system. Yes, with the two Power Cabs, we were able to run up to 4 trains, but as configured we could not go beyond two cabs. The Cab 4e was purchased with the thought that in the future, when we upgrade the system, we will have the additional capability. We can add a Smart Booster to the current system, which would allow us to use the two Power Cabs and at least one Cab 4e - we'll have to do some research on that, and also determine just how many individual cabs we may want to use at any given time.
We still have a lot of work to do. We may be able to set up the layout for a few months in Mike's garage which will give us time to properly wire the layout and begin work on scenery.
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