Railfair October 11 - 12, 2014
Another Railfair event has come and gone. This one however did have its challenges. It all started Friday when Mark showed up to set up for the Arizona Railway Museum (ARM) side of the tent. There was no ARM side, it was a separate tent 12 feet from the club tent. We knew we could not have one massive tent as we did in the past, fire regulations, but last year we did have the tents right next to each other with a very small gap between them. A long discussion with Henry, the event coordinator, he pointed out that the new Fire Chief decreed 'There shalt be a minimum of 12 feet between tents!' and there was. A few exceptions were granted but we had no choice but to live with the change. So we set up the layout and a couple of tables in the Ponderosa tent and the balance in the ARM tent. It worked OK but we did suffer some heat/sun damage due to the gap between tents. More later. Work schedules meant the layout was not set up until later in the day so more set up work was needed Saturday.
The first thing we noticed was it was very warm. We worked to complete the setup at 8 AM after our usual Denny's breakfast and by 8:30 AM many of us were dripping wet from sweat. It was warm AND humid. A few minor issues delayed the completion of the layout and at about 9:45 we were running trains. Almost! The first train we ran stalled when going to the back side power district. This issue was extremely puzzling as the layout worked fine during September's meeting where we verified it worked. Two hours later it was discovered that a siding we cross wired during the initial build was reconnected. After September's meeting, Fred did some extra work and discovered the cut wires. Not knowing they were wrong, connected them. Murphy at his best I guess.
With the layout
now fully powered we commenced to running trains. Outside of the
power issue, the layout performed very well. George stopped at
Home Depot to get some 1" X 2" boards. He did a 'McGyver' on the
PVC pipe legs to add cross bracing which gave the layout some much
needed stability. Now that we know it works we will have to come
up with a cleaner installation for next year. One other item of
note was the very first running of a totally PNL train in public.
brought is new Atlas MP15 locomotive, teamed up with an Atlas S2,
pulled a small freight of nothing but PNL rolling stock with a PNL
As the afternoon time came and we had some good and bad. The good came in the form of a sun shade that Mark purchased. Putting up this shade along the west end of the tent kept the sun from beating down on the layout. In the past this has cause a number of derailments. The shade kept the layout cooler. The not so good was two fold. First we noticed a very large decline in visitors. Everybody noticed it. Not sure if it was the warm temperatures or the fact that the State Fair opened that weekend but attendance was down. The other issue was the clubs operating cross bucks suffered damage when the sun started beating down on it and the right light housing started to melt. Early searches to find a replacement lens proved unsuccessful and we may have to do a complete rebuild.
The event concluded on Sunday. Although it was sad attendance was down, we all had a good time. The layout needs some tweaking but overall, there were no operating issues.
Plans are still
in the works to expand the layout and install much needed staging
Click on the pictures to