December 7-8, 2013
Christmas in Rosenberg is sponsored both by the Rosenberg RR Museum and the city. It closed down the entirety of downtown Rosenberg! Tony Sava and Robert Mellichamp started setup Friday in very cold weather – despite three propane heaters in the room, they could see their breath. By the time the show begain at noon Saturday, Tony, Robert, and Edward Chang had the whole layout set up. The propane heaters struggled with the cold all through the show!
Edward showed off his complete Polar Express coaches. Robert displayed his now massively expanded container port. Tony brought new "generic" passenger coaches, and displayed St. Francis' Cathedral with colored lights inside. The dimness of the room made the stained-glass effect dramatic.
The museum had not advertised the TBRR display for Sunday, but we kept it up for a 1:30 birthday party, much to the delight of the little boy and his family. At about 2:30 we began teardown, and we were completely loaded up by 4. We did not have as much turnout as hoped, both because of the weather and because not everyone could find the outbuilding where we were set up (though the museum did try to direct visitors there). But the people who braved the cold had a good time.
November 30, 2013
Tony, Edward, and Robert and Thomas Mellichamp, with help from KFOL A.J. Sava, did a one-day setup in Orange for around 150 visitors, an increase from last year when Tony did the show by himself. This was the first outing for Tony's Grand Curve/baseplate design, which proved easy to set up and take down and was judged a success. It was unloaded AND set up in only about a half-hour!
The Mellichamps set up an ocean freight terminal, Edward ran his Polar Express, and Tony once again gave in to the temptation to let a thousand plastic flowers bloom.
Images: Tony's Flickr set.
November 16-17, 2013
New Braunfels, TX
We did this show in cooperation with TexLUG-SA. SJ was supposed to be the coordinator, but when he was swept away by the Halloween flood, Stefan Garcia of TexLUG-SA stepped in and very ably pulled together a large layout with more than a dozen exhibitors.
Notable new MOCs included Doc's large RR car, Pat Hough with a 3x6 harbor area featuring a large frigate (which has now been disassembled, so be sure to see the pictures), Lasso's suburban stations, and Kurt's beautiful new engine.
The very generous event-brick support from LEGO was parceled out, with each full-time participant getting a couple of gallons, and some leftover play brick returning to Austin with Lasso for local events.
Images: Stefan's photos.
November 9-10, 2013
Texas City, TX
This is a family-oriented train festival focused on displaying to people of all ages the world of model railroading and attracting more people to the Texas City Museum. It was a quiet show in a huge venue.
Tony reports: "When my son and I arrived late Friday, Robert and his son were already there and set up. They, and several members of the host train club, helped unload my truck in less than 5 minutes. We then rearranged tables and started unpacking. Robert had already been there for many hours, so he left shortly thereafter. We set up till about 9:30 before we called it quits.
"I arrived back Saturday morning and continued setting up. Ed came by and visited, helping to set up derail bits on my layout. Robert and son arrived before public hours and added to their display.
"Robert brought his civil war train diorama, his WWII rail gun diorama, and his holiday train. He also had set up informational cards and a bucket of patent pending bricks which he generously gave to show attendees.
"My layout was pretty standard for those who regularly see me. New for this show was Old MocFiller's farm which Christina set up. It looked really quire awesome. Also new was the fishin' hole, aka Old MocFiller's pond.
"The show was a quiet one; apparently there was some issue with public advertisement. But the people who did attend seemed to enjoy themselves and our layout. Several members of other clubs asked what company made the steam and engines I had on display. The folks from Orange were there as well, which gave us an opportunity to plan in person a bit for that show
"The museum venue is huge, and sports a truly massive permanent model train layout upstairs. "
October 5-6, 2013
We had a great time at the Galveston show. Six AFOLs exhibited - Tony and Christina Sava, Pat Hough, Edward Chang, Steve Jackson, and Robert Mellichamp. Phil, Steff, and Kira were at the show, too. The layout covered ten 6' by 30" tables, and featured a double-mainline loop with a Grand Curve, a small 9V loop, and monorail track all the way around the perimeter - set up as two bounce lines so there were two monorails moving at once.
New at this show: Pat's large tan/trans-clear station which unites train and monorail lines; printed "Texas Brick Railroad" signs to go on the monorail; Tony and Christina's plaza for the Cathedral, with Edward's flowered wall; Edward's design for diagonal monorail supports; Steve's Texas flag billboard with sign painter. New to most of us were Robert's plane and rail gun builds.
Also memorable: There was no unballasted track on the 10-table layout. We had a 20-high monorail loop all the way around the layout, divided into halves so two trains could run at once. Most catastrophic loss of MOCs in memory: Daylight locomotive, giant bricks flatcar, two Texas State Railroad passenger coaches, and several ballasted track sections). The Allegheny was able to pull 32 heavyweight cars, mixed freight and passenger load, with the aid of rare earth magnets. The tight turning radius of LEGO curves was a limiting factor because the longer cars began to tip over; Grand Curves would have allowed longer trains. The pulling power of the engine is limited by traction rather than pulling power; a 1-liter soda on the Allegheny tender increased its pull.
We got generous support from LEGO. We donated two door prizes to the museum, did a drawing for one, auctioned one among those present, and still had some left over for auctioning online or at later events. We discussed the tables and crowd control that this support will let us build; there were some very interesting examples on display.
We were only a few hours into the show when we were invited back for 2014!
July 19-21, 2013
A number of LEGO clubs worked together to create a big layout for the National Train Show. This is the show held in conjunction with the national convention of the NMRA; for 2013, it was in Atlanta. Tony Sava and Steve Jackson drove to the show (in Tony's pickup, towing a trailer full of tables) to set up the TBRR part of the layout. Matt Sailors (now a Floridian and GFLUG member, but still with a Texas flag on his badge) and Edward Chang joined us there.
This year's layout was organized by Atlanta native Scott Lyttle, who also brought out the massive CUT (Cincinnati Union Terminal) building. This was a MOC originally created for the NTS in 2005, and now being revised and refurbished by Scott. Another central feature of the event was Matt Sailor's huge, working turntable.
Clubs in attendance were TBRR, the North Georgia LTC (NGLTC), the Greater Florida LUG (GFLUG), and the Mississippi Brick Railroad. The combined AFOLs had the second largest layout at the show and one of the most popular with visitors.
Photos can be seen at http://www.flickr.com/photos/
July 4-7, 2013
Brick Fiesta was put on by TexLUG, the umbrella organization for Texas fans of LEGO. David rolled out more of his new 3x3 tabletop modules for their second major show, and they worked flawlessly. Tony's Allegheny successfully tested out her new wheels and was able to haul 18 freight cars. David's Steamwood Falls continued to impress and won the award for Best Train.
May 29-June 2, 2013
We had a one-day display at the Lone Star Express, setting up at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel in Irving. We started early in the morning of Saturday, June 1, and ran throughout the day. This is a milestone for Texas LEGO fans; it's the first time we have ever been invited to participate in a National Model Railroad Association event. We were one of the few actual layouts in the convention hotel, and they gave us 21 feet of space!
This event was organized by David Hawkins, who also exhibited brand new 30-inch square tabletops to allow for streams and other underworks, and switches trimmed to allow new train geometry. Tony Sava drove up from Houston with MOC buildings, MOC trains and trees. Kurt Baty and Chris MacDougal came by and helped. SJ couldn't be there, but sent trees. We got the usual ""Lego makes trains?" questions, but they will remember us next time!
This picture by Tony Sava shows the edge of a tabletop and the way it can be cut down to allow a brick-built river to flow under the bridge.
May 5, 2013
Texas Brick Railroad went to the Austin Mini Maker Faire on Sunday, May 5th. Brian Lasseter was the organizer; Brian and Steve J brought train and monorail, and drew a lot of interest, and got slashdotted! We also had a free-build area. Julie Rogers watched the table for a while, and Monica Stephens helped with the breakdown, but we could easily have used three or four more AFOLs to take care of the display and talk to the crowd. A couple more trains would also have been good. But it was a nice layout and, crowd-pleasing-wise, a big success.
April 6-7, 2013
New Braunfels, TX
We set up a big layout at the New Braunfels Train Show Jamboree. We had 11 AFOLs exhibiting and two more helping with table-sitting and breakdown. Our layout was a C shape 33 feet along the long side, 24 along the short sides, with lots of space in the middle. It looked excellent. Lee Rahe was our contact with the museum, with Joe O'Donnell planning the track.
Highlights of this show:
• We sometimes had seven trains running at once, with two of them monorail and a third monorail train on a "siding"! This was the best monorail show ever. The whole north side of the layout was covered with monorail, with a wiggly sightseeing line running halfway down the west side. Pat Hough brought his track/monorail union station, and Brian Lasseter debuted his brand-new monorail station, with finished interior and trans-blue canopy and accents.
• There was an excellent long "Main Street" line of buildings along the west side, with many of them Will's MOCs, and scattered buildings on the south side from Roscoe and SJ, plus Sharon's display of Friends sets.
• The whole west and south were a single long dogbone, almost all ballasted, with the wide curve in the middle and paired tracks running right through Lee's big station, so we tried a LONG train. We got a single Maersk engine to pull 20 units of Maersk and ATX container cars! Very slowly, and it stopped when it hit the flextrack, but it started the pull on its own and made it all the way through the wide curve. When we added Edward's two MOC engines on the front and another Maersk on the rear to push, the train moved out very nicely and made several loops.
• Thanks to fantastic LEGO event support, we had two Ninjago sets to give to the convention as door prizes, a Mini Modular set to give away in an AFOL drawing (Lasso won), a Spook Train to auction (another $50 for the fund), and 32 pounds of loose bricks, which were packed into grab bags and distributed. It was Christmas! Afterwards, there was a trading session, though it was more of a "generously giving our friends what they need from our bags" session than actual trading.
February 9-10, 2013
Great Train Expo Houston
This was the first show for the Texas Brick Railroad, and it was a big win. 13 AFOLs were present, and about 5,000 attendees. We operated eight trains (including a monorail!) at once. Old-timers agree this is a record for a LEGO show in Texas. We'll see how long it is before we break our own record. SJ was the organizer, with backup from TJ, who brought the tables and printed layouts.
Highlight MOCs of the display were T.J. Avery's Pennybacker Bridge, David Hawkins' railroad station, Tony Sava's Palestine (Texas State RR) layout, and (just created for this show) Pat Hough's monorail/train Union Station. We also did a presentation to introduce attendees to the world of LEGO trains. And we had a great dinner at Pappasito's!
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