Seacoast Division January 2021 Spring Event Zoom Report

by Glenn Mitchell

The Seacoast Division of the NMRA held its Spring 2021 Zoom Event on April 17, 2021 at 10:00 am. Since Covid-19 continues to be a major health risk, especially to older people, the Seacoast Division Board of Directors had made the decision to cancel "in person" events for the foreseeable future. The BOD decided to help fill the void by holding on-line Zoom meetings

Tage Erickson, the Seacoast President, facilitated the meeting with the Zoom tool. After getting the attendees connected, through their computers or by phone, Tage gave a brief welcome. Thirty-two Seacoast members were in attendance.

One layout tour video and two presentations were given at the Spring 2021 Zoom Event.

Joe Linquata led off with the first presentation on Spray Foam Scenery. Joe described how a common item at the hardware or home improvement store can be used to create strong, durable, great looking scenery. That item, spray urethane foam insulation (Great Stuff is the brand that I am familiar with,) can be applied over a form made of metal screen material. It can be applied to create a profile that is very close to the desired shape. After curing for several hours to a full day, depending on the foam thickness, it can be shaped with a Surform Shaver or sanding block. After shaping and vacuuming, a coat of spackle is applied along with optional rock molds. From that point on, it`s ready for your preferred scenery materials. Thanks Joe for a great presentation.

Next, Dave Emery gave a presentation on scratch-building structures. Dave starts of buy using Microsoft Power Point as a design and drafting tool. Dave demonstrated some techniques that I had never seen before that allowed for precise dimensioning of objects. He also demonstrated a technique for spacing multiple objects across the length of a surface such as a wall. Dave went on to identify his preferred materials for various aspects of the construction. Overall Dave made the precise design and construction of a styrene or wood structure look easy. Great job Dave!

This event`s layout tour video took us to John Newick`s Central Maine and Aroostook Railroad. John accurately follows the prototype Maine Central and Bangor and Aroostook railroads through the state of Maine in the late `60s - early `70s in N scale. John teamed up with Bob Kotsonis who shot over four hours of video which he then edited down to 40 minutes. John and Bob did a great job of describing how the layout followed the prototypes by walking us through the many locations that John has modeled on his multi-level layout. They described how many of the structures were scratch-built of kit-bashed to recreate real prototypes. They also described John`s construction techniques and the electrical design including dual screen dispatcher station. Lastly they followed a train as it traversed the layout and described the operating system used by John at least once a month. Having been a regular operator on John`s layout for a couple of years, I was amazed at how much detail I had not noticed or was unaware of. Thanks Bob and John for a tour of one of the premier layouts in New England.

This event`s "What`s on your Workbench?" session included two presentations.
Jay Ehlen presented several photos of the progress that he has made during the Covid "lock-down." Jay described how he made substantial progress by upgrading "bare-plywood" areas of his layout into great looking scenes. Very nice work Jay.

The second "What`s on your workbench" presentation was given by Chris Oliver. Chris continues to add scenery to his huge multi-level Donner Pass layout. He has also added several passenger trains with full lighting. These trains along with many others have pushed past the limits of his DCC power system made up of 20 Tam Valley Boosters and 40 PSX circuit breakers. Chris has designed, built, and tested his own multi-channel booster/circuit breaker boards that also provide additional status of the layout. Chris walked us through the design at a high level. He is currently evaluating the operation with the new boards. Once again, Chris is pushing the limits of what can be done with a model railroad. Simply outstanding!

I would like to thank all of the presenters and the attendees for making our Spring Zoom Event a great success and hope to see you at future events.

The Board of Directors has decided that the Seacoast Division Summer Event will be a Zoom event and will be held on July 17, 2021 at 10:00AM. The Board also decided to hold an in-person Fall Event if the Covid situation permits it. The tentative date is October 23, 2021.

Respectfully submitted,
Glenn Mitchell