AMHERST BELT LINES
HO Modular Railroad
Copyright © 2000, Amherst Railway Society
|Amherst Belt Lines Module Coordinators|
|Sudro Brown||Alan Rice||Clark Huber|
September is already upon us. The summer has certainly flown by, the 2000/2001 show season is rapidly approaching, and we still haven't gone to press with the 1999/2000 season wrap-up! So...we will combine the closing of last season with the start of the new season in one newsletter and try to get this publication back on track (so to speak)!
(Picture at left: Clark working under the layout.)
It is never a good idea to write the wrap-up to a season when the season has been over for six months! The memory fades somewhat over time…maybe this is a good thing, after all! Some new modules made their debut at the Amherst Railway Society's Big Railroad Hobby Show this past February. Gary Munsey brought his new Westernport module set to replace Galena. When the set is complete, it will feature some street running along with several industries to keep a crew busy. The Amherst Railway Society unveiled the Conn River Yard to work as the "Home" yard for the various shows the Belt Lines attends. The design of this module set was a collaborative effort, and the yard had been planned from the beginning to be flexible both in operations and configuration. The track plan for this module set can be seen in the November 1999 edition of Modular Mumblings.
The Nashua Valley Railroad Association's RailCam equipment kept the public entertained with the "rails-eye" view of the layout. We had our share of problems at the show, not the least of which was a red hot wheel on some passenger equipment, but the layout ran reasonably well for the most part.
(Picture at right: Dan Diffendale Cleaning track)
We were not able to reintroduce a number of the things we had wanted to do last year -- hopefully we will get to them this year. We expect to make some changes to the procedures and policies of the Belt Lines, with the potential introduction of a Rule Book/Time Table to assist in resolving "layout conflicts." We would like to thank all of the groups and individuals that participated in this year's layout to help make it one of the largest yet.
Later in February, the 27th to be exact, we brought a smaller layout to the Worcester Model Railroader's Show in Auburn, Massachusetts. This was the third time we have attended this show, and everyone had a good time once again. The Worcester Model Railroader's Show is much smaller in size than most of the other shows we attend, but it is a well-attended and fun show. After a rocky start the morning of the show, we managed to get the layout up and under power just before the doors opened to the public. Many thanks go to all who participated in setup and operation at that show. We look forward to doing it again in the coming season.
The Belt Lines 2000/2001 Show Season is now close at hand. We expect that the Worcester Model Railroader's Show in late February 2001 will be added to the list, but tentatively our schedule looks like this:
The first show of the season will be the Pepperell Siding Model Railroad Club's Thirteenth Annual Model Railroad Show in Townsend, Massachusetts. The show will be held Sunday, October 15, 2000 at the North Middlesex Regional High School from 10:00am to 4:00pm. Setup will begin on the morning of Saturday, October 14. The show hosts a mix of layouts and vendors and meanders throughout the first floor of the High School. The High School is very easy to locate on route 119 in Townsend, but directions are available upon request. If you would like to participate with the Belt Lines, please let Alan know that you are interested, and what module(s) you would like to bring, by September 30, 2000. No module is necessary to attend.
We expect we will be getting an invitation to the Bedford Boomers 18th Annual Railroad Exhibition coming up this November. This is a display only show with layouts in nearly all scales and gauges, including some full size speeder displays, live steam and LOTS of modular layouts. Setup for this show will begin Friday night, with setup continuing on Saturday along with some other activities for the show participants. The public part of the show occurs on Sunday and always seems to be well attended. Even if the Belt Lines does not get an invitation to the show, it is worth attending just to be able to view the model work without all the vendors around. We will let you know more when, and if, the invitation is extended.
(Picture at left: Tom joining rails.)
As you can see from the banner at the top of this edition of the Modular Mumblings there has been a change in the coordinators. At the end of the 1999-2000 season, Tom LaRoche stepped down from his position as a module coordinator, siting the demands of work, family life and other hobby interests for his resignation. Tom had held his post for about 12 years, taking up the lead from past coordinators such as Bill Venman, Al Pomeroy, Steve Belforti and Jamie Robinson. Tom picked up the publication and editing of the Modular Mumblings from Jamie, slowly upgrading it to its current form. Tom was also instrumental in coordinating the display of the Belt Lines with other groups, such as the Bedford Boomers and Pepperell Siding Model Railroad Club, both at their own shows and at the Amherst Railway Society Show in West Springfield. We are grateful to Tom for all the work he put into this organization and are sorry to see him step down as a coordinator. Thank you, Tom. (Tom --we still want to see you at shows--we can always use the help!!! Please!)
Please note an additional change to the banner. Alan's email address has changed to abel.planning@AmherstRail.org. This change occurred several months ago, prior to the February Show. All previous addresses, including those at snet.net and netscape.net have been closed, so please remove them from your mailing lists and address books if you haven't already.
No, we haven't joined forces with the former DEC club, and we have been out on the World Wide Web for a year or two, so what else can be left? Digital Command Control (DCC). After completing a very successful test of two systems at the West Springfield Show in February, the decision was made to run the next layout, and all future layouts, under DCC. The Worcester Model Railroader's show at the end of February became the first totally digital layout to be run by the Amherst Belt Lines, and was a success in the opinions of the coordinators and those that operated. After evaluating several different systems, the decision has been made to acquire products from North Coast Engineering for use on the Belt Lines. With that in mind, we have begun to sell off the club owned DYNATROL receivers, cabs, DPS's, etc., and purchasing DCC decoders, cabs, power stations and boosters. We expect to have a good bit of the ABEL motive power with decoders installed for the Pepperell Siding Show in October so that we won't have to rely on too much "foreign" power. Please, bring your own decoder or RailLynx equipped locomotives if you want to run them, our policy on private motive power has not changed, just how we run the layout!
That is all the news for this edition of the Modular Mumblings. Remember--setup for the Pepperell Siding Show begins on October 14th. Hope to see you there.
MODULAR Railroading is Fun!
Sudro, Clark, and Alan