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Building a new club layout - Update: Moving on after the club

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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, August 31, 2019 9:55 PM

rrinker
 I'd be surprised if any of the regular dealers you work with would be upset that the club would be selling off donated items to raise money for the club. Especially since you are passing on those offering complete collections to them.

Hi Randy,

There are a couple of other issues that are involved. One is the manpower required to cover the table. We are short of members when we run the February show because some of our gang are down south when the show is on. That leaves us relying on volunteers to make the show happen. Over the past few years we have had just enough people to cover what needs to be done. The difference of having one person manning a table doesn't seem like much, that is until you have to pull someone out of the very busy kitchen or off of fire safety duties to sell stuff (which obviously we can't do).

To put it in a different perspective, last year we had almost 3000 people come through the doors and we had about 15 people available to do all the work. In addition to running the actual show, we had to set up and label 165 eight foot tables the day before, and take them down after the show closed on Sunday. In other words, we have enough on our hands already! The last time we had our own sales table we netted about $400. When compared to what we could have sold the stuff to the vendors for, and rented the table for, it wasn't worth the effort.

Then, as I mentioned in my last post, there is the benefit of not having any leftovers to store or dispose of. We don't let the vendors cherry pick. It's all or nothing. Mind you, we will already have tossed any real junk when we take the remnants of the layout to the dump so we are not pawning stuff off on the vendors that they can't sell.

We get a few bucks out of the deal and so do the vendors. Win win all 'round.

Sorry for the long response.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 12:47 AM

I have some goodies to take to the club on Tuesday night.

The first items are the two way radios and earbuds that just arrived. I'm not sure if we will be keeping the radios. After I announced the purchase, one of our members told me that he has six two way radios which he is willing to sell to the club for a decent price. We will have to do a comparison to see if his radios can perform up to the standards of the new units that I bought. I have no idea what  condition his radios are in, but if they are problematic they won't get used. I feel sorry for this member because he has offered to contribute a number of things in the past but all of them have turned out to be unsuitable for a variety of reasons.

I also just received some 2mm black foam sheets that are recommended for use as asphalt paving material. We won't have a ton of roads on the layout but this stuff has a very realistic appearance. It will have to be painted because it is jet black, but the texture looks good. Here is the Canadian Amazon listing:

https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07BL296HK/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I also have the backdrop test prints that some of you are aware of. I'm really looking forward to seeing how they work out, and if one of our members can print the panoramic shots himself, we will be able to save a lot of money and have spectacular looking backdrops!

Dave

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 8:04 AM

Regarding methods of communication, I find radios to be a bit combersom, as either there are multiple radios without headphones or earbuds, which will all broadcast anything you say at the same time, a somewhat annoying effect, or require use of earbuds, which I find get in the way, especially the cords.

I recently visited a layout were the a speaker in one corner of the layout was used with a system of phones (actually only the microphone part was used) placed at convenient locations. I personally like that better.

Of coruse this is just what I would do, as the OP has already bought radios and earbuds and has the prospect of getting more for free, using them may be more economical. I am primarily writing this for people to consider, but there are advantages to using radio too.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 2:39 AM

Hi Issac,

The radios that one of our members has have the radios built into the ear covers. I didn't know about them when I ordered the hand held radios. He will bring them in next week so we can have a look. If they work out we will return the hand held radios.

Another thing which I am going to look into if the member's radio headsets don't work out will be head sets with microphones for the hand held radios.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 7:58 AM

 Some of those radios have multiple channels. If there is say a yardmaster at a main yard, when crewes enter yard limits and need to contact the yardmaster instead of the dispatcher, they would switch to the yard channel, etc.

 As for hearing others - that's how it works in the real world, when everyone on a given line is on the same channel, if the DS copies a track warrant to one crew, another crew sitting nearby will hear the same thing on their radio. We've not found it a big deal to have the radio on a belt loop and pick it up to talk into it. About the WORST thing you can do is have the radio and/or headset in VOX mode, every time someone coughs it will go out over the radio. Even with a headset - use the push to talk button.

 Once everyone gets used to it - a spare radio in the lounge can act as a sort of 'scanner' listening in on conversations going on out on the road, for atmosphere. I still am not super comfortable with using radios, I think my recorded or otherwise electronically transmitted voice is horrible, and as someone wh does not otherwise talk over radios on a regular basis, it is hard to get used to using proper radio etiquette instead of just talking like you are on a phone. Especially when you can see the person you are talking to sitting at the DS console right over there. But on our modular setup, there's no real way to put the DS in a private area where no one can cheat and just walk over to them, or where they can;t see the physical layout and have to go by the occupancy indicators and crew call ins on the radio.

                                           --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 10:44 PM

Hi Randy,

The radios have 22 channels.

I found some head sets that include a clip on microphone. They have a single ear piece that is fed by an air tube, much like the police and security use. They are made by the same company that made the hand held radios. They are less expensive than the fancy earbuds that I originally ordered that did not have mics. I'm surprised at the price, but I'm not arguing. If they only last a few months we can afford to replace them.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 8, 2019 11:28 PM

We are running into a bit of a problem with regard to the Operating Committee. I don't want to lead the committee, nor does our Secretary, Henk, nor does our Treasurer Dave. Between the three of us we are already doing, and have done, most of the work for the club. 

All three of us feel it is time for others to step up to the plate. Unfortunately, I'm not holding my breath. I thought that we already had a person to run the Operating Committee. In order to get him up and running I made up a list of all of the things that the committee had to do to get us operating. He handed the list back to me telling me that he didn't know how to do half the stuff on the list so somebody else had to do it. Sorry, but I didn't know how to operate either, that is until I did some research. True confession: I have never operated on a layout! That didn't stop me from at least getting a basic idea of how to operate and what was needed to start.

On Monday night we will have our first formal Operating Committee meeting. I haven't decided what to do. Either I drop the list of requirements on the table and say "You figure it out!" and then walk out the door, or I bite the bullet and coddle them some moreBang Head. It's not helping that the medications for my back pain are bring back my depression big time.

Stay tuned. 

Dave

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 9, 2019 10:19 PM

We had the Operating Committee meeting as scheduled, and we did manage to sort out a few things, but as I suspected nobody offered to take charge. There were a couple of key members missing from the meeting so perhaps one of them will step up to the plate. I offered to help with reminders, but I'm not willing to run the committee.

One thing we did accomplish was to come up with a plan for introducing basic operating methods to the members. We are going to start very simply with two trains going in each direction, and the operators will have to communicate with each other in order to figure out how to pass each other. They will have to stop ahead of each of the passing sidings and determine if anyone is coming the other way, and if so, who gets the main. We also want to get people to make sure the turnouts are thrown properly before charging through them, and we want to teach people to stop stretching the throttle cords to their maximum length! In other words, stop your train, move to a new UP5 and then start your train up again if all is clear. People will be able to operate in the sidings as well, but they will only be allowed to go onto the mainline briefly, and only when all is clear (obviously).

Once we have managed to do that reasonably successfully we will introduce a couple more trains on the main and start using the radios.

Dave

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Posted by Bigjim7 on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 7:03 AM
Sounds like your hobby is becoming a job. Bummer
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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:42 AM

Bigjim7
Sounds like your hobby is becoming a job. Bummer
 

That's why I got away from clubs.....

Sheldon

    

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 10:14 AM

hon30critter
We also want to get people to make sure the turnouts are thrown properly before charging through them, and we want to teach people to stop stretching the throttle cords to their maximum length!

Bang Head  You reaffirmed my opinion on clubs. 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 10:48 AM

Hi Big Jim, Sheldon and Henry,

I don't mind doing my share of the work needed to keep the club going. That's what I signed on for when I put my name on the ballot to be the President. The fact is, because we are in the midst of building a new layout and teaching members to operate, there is a lot more work on the table now then there will be in a year or two. I just wish that the guys who already know how to operate would take a more active role in getting operations established.

Thanks for letting me whine!SoapBoxSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

 

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 11:49 AM

hon30critter

We are going to start very simply with two trains going in each direction, and the operators will have to communicate with each other in order to figure out how to pass each other. They will have to stop ahead of each of the passing sidings and determine if anyone is coming the other way, and if so, who gets the main.

Well I don’t want to make things sound easier then they potentially are, but when I visited a club this summer I was offered a throttle and did exactly that with another visitor. The fact is it’s not really too hard. At the same time it really is the most fundamental part of entertaining mainline operations. You do have to get it right. I don’t know if you said you are but I think you should use a dispatcher. I think it makes it a lot easier and more fun. That said maybe beginner would be overwhelmed by that.

Whatever you do I am glad to see your club doing some one track mainline operations! For me darting in and out of sidings and meeting other trains on single track is the best part of OPs and maybe even the entire hobby. I hope you have a great experience with it!

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:09 PM

hon30critter
we want to teach people to stop stretching the throttle cords to their maximum length!

.

Oh, that is always an aggravation. When Scale Rails of Southwest Florida switched to HOGGER packs in the 1990s, they were all stretched soon. I think only wireless throttles will be the solution to this problem.

.

-Kevin

.

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 6:53 PM

Have operations night for only those who have read the rules and qualified. A simple set of rules is all you need at first, like when to stop and go etc. You can expand on that later.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 6:56 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
hon30critter
we want to teach people to stop stretching the throttle cords to their maximum length!

 

.

Oh, that is always an aggravation. When Scale Rails of Southwest Florida switched to HOGGER packs in the 1990s, they were all stretched soon. I think only wireless throttles will be the solution to this problem.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Agreed, wireless throttles. Even my DC powered layout has wireless throttles.......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 7:05 PM

hon30critter

Hi Big Jim, Sheldon and Henry,

I don't mind doing my share of the work needed to keep the club going. That's what I signed on for when I put my name on the ballot to be the President. The fact is, because we are in the midst of building a new layout and teaching members to operate, there is a lot more work on the table now then there will be in a year or two. I just wish that the guys who already know how to operate would take a more active role in getting operations established.

Thanks for letting me whine!SoapBoxSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

 

 

Dave, as I told you once before, you are doing a great job, and I read this thread even when I don't comment.

Clubs can be great, and I wish you guys well with your layout.

I just know my own strengths and weaknesses, years ago I enjoyed both a club and a round robin, though I must say the round robin was better for me than the club ultimately.

But family stuff was always conflicting with group activities and cutting into my own actual modeling time - so I made a choice, family and my own modeling won over socializing and other peoples layouts.

Now as I start a new layout soon, it is actually a relief to not feel obligated to any other hobby activities.

I can be a single focus kind of guy......

Sheldon

    

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:02 PM

SPSOT fan
when I visited a club this summer I was offered a throttle and did exactly that with another visitor.

We do the same thing when visitors drop in during our running nights. It makes it much easier to get the membership fees out of their pockets!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughPirate

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:13 PM

rrebell
Have operations night for only those who have read the rules and qualified. A simple set of rules is all you need at first, like when to stop and go etc.

We are a very open and supportive club. Despite all my whining I would much rather put someone on the track who needs to learn and then try to follow them enough to prevent them from crashing, more or less like a dispatcher might do but on a more basic level.

We will start the next few sessions with a brief tutorial explaining how they will proceed around the layout, i.e. stopping wherever necessary to find out if other trains are approaching as well as to check the turnouts. There will be a lot of stopped trains in the next couple of months!

A couple of the members will have to have their hands held until they get the picture. I'm prepared to be patient with them even if that takes some time.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:25 PM

We are just starting preparations for our 2020 Annual Train Show and Sale. It is held in February in Barrie, Ontario (crazy Canucks). Next year will be our 50th annual show!

Last year we had 3000 people brave the weather (which was quite nice by the way) to come through our doors. The show is listed in the MR Events Calendar.

I have taken on the job of sending out all the invitations to the vendors and exhibitors, so my secretarial skills are being stretched right now. I have sent out about 100 emails in the past couple of days. Of course, there has to be a phone number on the applications so guess who's number we used!

Oh well. If we don't have a successful show, we don't have a clubhouse!

Dave

Moderators: I hope this post doesn't fall outside the forum rules. If so, please delete it or edit it as appropriate.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 16, 2019 12:29 AM

On Monday night we will hold the first Show Committee meeting for the 2020 show. I'm quite a bit more involved in the preparations for the show than I have been previously. Man, is it a lot of work!!! I'm not complaining, but I think between the show floor plan and the vendors/exhibitors lists I have used about 20 gallons of ink!!! Okay, not quite, but my show folder is about a half inch thick. So many details!!!!

If we have a show that is anywhere nearly as successful as last year's we will be in good shape.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 17, 2019 2:45 AM

The Show Committee meeting went great! The agenda had 31 different subjects on it (!) but more than half of those do not require immediate attention. All the current important decisions were made so we are well on our way to having a successful 2020 show.

Most of the copies that the Secretary had asked me to make were not used so I just added about 1/2" to my recycled paper pile!Bang HeadSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 12:16 AM

We opened the nomination period for the annual election of the Board of Directors (Executive Committee) on Tuesday night and it looks like nothing is about to change. Nobody else put their names forward so 'we is it!'. I'm happy!

Dave

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Posted by mobilman44 on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 5:21 AM

Hi!

While I have no interest in club politics or personalities, I have a huge interest in the building of a layout - especially one like you describe.

So it would be much more interesting if we could see pictures - lots of pictures - so we can get an understanding and appreciation for what you all are doing.

Please, forget about the gossip and politics and show us some layout pictures!

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 18, 2019 6:35 AM

mobilman44
So it would be much more interesting if we could see pictures - lots of pictures - so we can get an understanding and appreciation for what you all are doing.

Hi mobilman44,

I'm sorry if I am boring you with my insights into the operation of a train club.

As far as more pictures is concerned, others have asked for the same thing - show lots of pictures! I will admit that for a while I was a bit remiss in that regard. The fact is that I could take pictures every week but there would be very little obvious difference from one week to the next and that could get boring really quick too. I choose to take pictures whenever we have made some noticeable visible changes. Over the past few weeks we have started some of the scenery forms, which I have shown, but before that most of the work over the preceding months was electrical. How many pictures of dangling wires and Tortoise machines would you like? We have also installed several spurs and sidings. Taking a picture of each piece of track being laid would be pretty boring too IMHO.

The truth is that we are only working on the layout for a few hours each week. That means that the time between recognizable layout changes can be weeks or even a couple of months. I choose not to photograph every track nail being placed or every piece of foam or plaster cloth that is being installed.

As far as commenting on the events and observations that make up a club, there seems to be some interest in what may seem to be mundane to you. IIRC, the thread is almost up to 59,000 views. I will continue to share my experiences for the foreseeable future since there seems to be at least a modicum of interest in what is going on in the Barrie Allandale Railway Modellers Association.

Thank you for your comments,

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 20, 2019 9:21 PM

I have experienced a miracle!!! (well, for me at least).

We got into a crunch with our website. The two guys who were keeping it up to date have both left the club (one of them moved to Toronto to work for Rapido so we can forgive him for leaving). That left nobody to keep the website up to date, so I decided to take the job on. That required me to be set up as an administrator for the website. Simple, right? Wrong!!! It has taken me several weeks to figure out how to accomplish that.

I readily admit that I am a computer dinosaur but usually I can figure things out. This time around things were just not clicking. It all came back to the same catch 22. I wasn't set up as an administrator so I couldn't get access to the web hosts but I had to be an administrator in order to get access to the web hosts. I couldn't figure out how to get set up. Finally, our Treasurer who has been paying the bills for years, sent them a note telling them to let me in, as it were. Now I'm in!!! I have great plans for updating the website, but I'm not going to start tonight. I'm too buzzed on pain killers for my back to even consider starting the updates now.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 22, 2019 2:09 AM

I published my first article on the website tonight (barm.ca - Building the Layout Part 3). I still had a heck of a time figuring out how to insert pictures but I got it right eventually. The article is way out of date because it shows stuff that was done more than a year ago, but it is part of a series and I have two more articles written up that I will publish in the next week or so, and those will bring us more or less up to date.

I'm actually pretty pleased with myself. I barely did any cursing even when half of the article disappeared into thin air as I was typing! I'm not sure what I did to cause that but I slapped my hand for not having been hitting the save button every few sentences.DunceBang HeadAngryGrumpy

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by railandsail on Sunday, September 22, 2019 6:09 AM

In the past I've ended up 'losing' a lot of text/photos I was composing on a site. I finally ended up composing it in a free document that helps me even with spelling. I can then copy it and post it where ever.

Open Office Writer
https://www.openoffice.org/product/writer.html

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, September 22, 2019 8:37 PM

Hi Brian,

I think I just need to remember to hit the 'save draft' button regularly. However, if I continue to have problems, I will have a look at the site you recommended.

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 11:47 PM

We had a bit of a chuckle at the club on Tuesday night. Our Secretary, Henk, received a phone call earlier in the day from a gentleman who had a train set that he wanted to donate to the club. He claimed to not know much about it, and he didn't know what scale it was. Henk thought it was worth a look so he arranged to pick it up Tuesday evening. 

To say we were a little let down would be to put it mildly! What we were given was a battery powered 4-4-0, a passenger car and a caboose somewhere between O and G scale. The original price  was printed right on the box - $20.00, and there was a price sticker on top of that for $6.50. Laugh Half the oval track was missing. We weren't sure if it still runs or not and we didn't have any batteries to test it.

Oh well, ya win some and ya lose some! It's the thought that counts. Ron took it home for his 6 yr. old grandson to play with so all was not lost.

Dave

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