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For the 6th time, the Gateway Garden Railroad club of the St. Louis area hosted their "Gateway Garden Railroad Winter Meet" in Carlyle IL.

They rent this little conference center, set up their modular layout in one room, the Southern Illinois club sets up their floor layout in the other and invite everybody. Present were 5 vendors including RLD Hobbies with a big selection, Don's G Scale, and the guy that makes those beautiful cedar buildings you saw at Cozad's last fall.

Bill Hurteau had me put a trackside TE and batteries in his new Mallet, and we met there. He had a TE, so I had mounted one of mine and we traded when we got there. So I set up the freight cars I'd remembered to bring and he hauled them around the modular for an hour or so.

Then it was my turn. I hooked up and backed my loco to couple up with my train. Then... What's up, won't go forward. I took the coal load off the tender and peeked in. No green light. Hmm. Oh, the led is barely showing on this tx. Change batteries. The silly thing had spent all night out in the cold car so I wasn't surprised. Back to the train. Align the switches as somebody else had just pulled into the yard. Forward! What? No forward? Green LED is blinking. Eek! The smoke is leaking out of my receiver! Good thing I had this extra one I'd just traded with Bill.

Lots of people watched and asked many questions as I changed the receiver. I did a few tests to be sure there wasn't something else that caused the receiver to smoke. I got the tools all sorted back to their owners. The schedule board still had some open space, so I set my loco back onto the yard. Moved it back and forth a bit, then moved it up to get coupled with my train.

CRASH! BASH! What? EEK! Bill's Mallet is following my commands:eek: and shoving another train off the end of a siding! The crash was Dan Patterson's caboose and the bash one of his incredibly beautiful hand built wooden gondolas:confused: I got it stopped just before his little loco joined them. I unplugged Bill's battery and found all the fragments. Guys were complaining there should have been something to stop the little train from going over the edge, but with that mallet shoving it, I don't think much would have prevented damage. Good thing I switch very slowly.

Ok. Back to my train. Let's change channel so I won't be running Bill's mallet. Hmm. Won't program. Now what? I picked up Bills transmitter. It responds to his. Now what? Good thing I brought 3 of these remotes:rolleyes:

Well, everything is running now. Wait for that circus train to pass and I should be clear to pull out onto the main. It's 1:10pm.

That little Dallee card doesn't sound too bad, but annoyingly, it stops chuffing when you turn the ringer on. Also, I have to be within about 2ft of the loco to blow the whistle. I have an accessory receiver in the boiler with the antenna running along the inside of the top. I'll have to rearrange that a little, but it should do for the weekend.

It's time for the sessions to start. I wasn't too interested in the one on track laying since I don't have any place to lay track, so I kept running. Now the public was coming in and nobody else was running trains. So, I sacrificed my afternoon and kept running. It's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it!

I paused to appologise to Dan. "It just broke on glue joints, and I wanted to put KD couplers on anyhow." He set up on a table to make repairs. I'd never watched anybody put body mount KD's so I peeked in on him now and then. "Do you know where all these springs go?" he asked. I was hoping to learn from him how to put it together. It didn't take long to figure out.

Larry Tennyson walked up. "Do you mind if I add a few cars to your train?"

"Of course not." He had 3 beautiful custom painted 40ft box cars and a flat.

Since my battery always seemed to last 2 hours, I figured I'd run till it ran down, change battery and park on a siding for a while and let somebody else run. I grabbed the spare battery from the toolbox so I'd be ready when it stopped. I have 3.8 AH NiMH batteries. Well, 3:00 went by. 3:30 went by. This battery is getting a little heavy in my pocket. 4:30 came along and I'm getting pretty hungry and needed to visit the little room.

"I'd like to run if you want to pull off."

"Oh! Relief!" I parked on a siding. The consist was too long, that I took up both tracks on that double siding.

After the pizza party at 6, the layout was empty, so I pulled out and ran for another half hour or so. Left the train parked on those 2 sidings over night.

Sunday Morning, there was still about 1/2 an hour of juice left in that battery.

I bought a 3 dome tank car and put metal wheels in it. Kept derailing. I fiddled with it a little. There that's better. "Tom, leave your train run, and show me how to...." I'm over there fiddeling with Dan's computer when I hear somebody calling, "TOM! STOP! STOP!" The silly tank car had derailed again and was knocking signals over. Ok. I left the tanker sit on a siding. Nobody else wants to run? Ok....

With all this running, repairing, and question answering, I didn't take many pictures. Let's see what I have:

A beautiful E8 and coaches. I think they're custom painted.




My mallet.


Parked on the siding in front of a new sawmill.


New elevator.


Dan Patterson's repairs. That's the gondola I mallet-mashed upside down.


I loved this tiny loco! It's like a piece of jewlry.


Tod Sidell (I think I have his name right) has been asking about my battery annie for at least a year. "Can I pester you a little more?" I answered a couple questions for him and next thing I know, he's got his annie upside down and torn into. He had an aristo basic TE he intended to mount in the tender, but when he got it all wired up, the light came on, but nothing worked. Couldn't find anybody with another basic to try, so I couldn't tell him whether the tx or rx was out. "Well, I have this," he said, and pulled one of the original trackside TE's out of his toolbox. There wasn't any way he was going to fit it in the tender, so he set it on top. Works slick! "Just tell people it's your time machine." He'll send the basic back and George or Navin will get it all fixed up for him.



Many people asked questions, and the vendors sold lots of rc systems, so I think I've infected lots of people. Don came over and asked me if I'd show him how I hooked up the sound card to the accessory receiver as somebody was telling him it can't be done. Since the steam dome kept falling off my mallet, I sticky-taped the accessory receiver to the weight and sticky-taped the dallee board to a piece of styrene so I can reach the volume control and the programming button by lifting the steam dome. I need to fiddle with the receiving antenna a bit 'cause I had to be within about 2ft of the loco to blow the whistle.

They were starting to tear down scenery, so I packed up my train and loaded into the car so I wouldn't be in the way. Then I was kindof tired and wandering about eating a ham sandwich. There was a charger laying on a chair. "Hmm. Somebody had a charger just like mine. Hmm. They wrote my name on it. Why would somebody write my name on their charger?" Oh! That's my charger! Duh!" 

I helped load modules onto their racks, carried many boxes and got teased by Andy a bit. I stopped on the way home for some supper and there was a wal*mart right there. Wondered if they had one of those luggage carts our wal*mart doesn't carry once I decided that was the one I wanted. Ah! Yes. Nice sturdy folding luggage cart for $20. Just what I need for hauling my mallet around the botanic. That thing does get heavy. 

I got home about 9:30. Haven't unloaded the trains yet.
 

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Posted By CJGRR on 02/11/2008 9:01 PM
wow....... JJ and Stan got nothin on you Tom!


Sean,
Yeah they do.  A head start, and fair warning...   /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/laugh.gif
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't think Stan or JJ ever reduced a freight car to fragments:D
 

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I think everyone that wanted to had a good time. (Some people wouldn't be happy if you hung them with a new rope.) You were missed, Jim. Tom, Thanks for the posting.
 
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