Over time, the layout lighting has crept from normal mid-day to mid afternoon to recently looking like early dusk as one after another fluorescent tubes lost their gaseous energy and died. Nobody either realized or vocalized how dark things were becoming until Donald W. asked me recently if he should bring his ladder in some Friday to upgrade vision around the layout. At that point, I realized it wasn't just my eyes so yesterday afternoon was agreed upon to do the replacement chore. While Peter and Tom did their usual running, Donald and friend Richard arrived with that amazing aluminum ladder that unfolds and locks into numerous configurations to meet required needs. A search underneath the layout ensued until 2 cases of replacement fluorescent tubes were found. I don't know how many of you have replaced fluorescent tubes but it can be time consuming and more than a little frustrating in first getting the old tubes rotated out of their sockets and then getting them out of an almost too small sheet metal case. Richard, Tom and I assisted in trading old tubes for new ones with similar frustrations for Donald perched on the ladder getting them located and locked properly in the sockets to have them light up.. Despite a few sparks, things progressed quite well with over a dozen tubes brightening the layout significantly. One case had a piece of paper on it noting a tube replacement in 2001; likely the last time. Then Donald thought the lighting over the stairwell landing needed help. Richard and I both gulped and held our breath as Donald unfolded the ladder to full height and did a Cirque de Soleil maneuvre climbing to the next to top step, swinging a leg over the top and reaching up to unhook and swing down the plastic grill. Then began the long ordeal of removing and replacing the tubes while stretched full out vertically and unable to clearly see if the pins were tracking properly, requiring many trials before hearing the satisfying snap and beholding the tubes come to life. We owe Donald and Jim Fox our appreciation for doing this difficult chore yesterday and in the past.
We have agreed to open our layout to NMRA visitors on Saturday. March 9 from 1-3 pm. George Dutka is the headline speaker at the morning session at the Ingersoll Seniors Centre open to all area NMRA members. The better lighting is a bonus. I also informed the Oxford Spinner and Weaver ladies that they are welcome to be in operation at the same time as those touring might find this interesting as well.
Next Tuesday, March 5 is a meeting night if there are any items to be discussed. It's probably a good time as well to do some sprucing up of our area before the Saturday tour.