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

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 12:18 AM

Speaking of donations, we were contacted a couple of weeks ago by a long time railroading fan who wanted to donate his magazine and video collections to the club. His offer had already been declined by several other clubs so he was quite pleased to hear that we would take his collection. We have a couple of guys in the club who devour railroad magazines, modelling related or the real thing. We also have several guys who enjoy watching videos (and who still have their VCRs!).

The gentleman was in Georgetown, Ontario and I'm in Bradford which is about an hour away, so I offered to pick the collections up. It was a nice opportunity to go for a drive in the country and maybe get some backdrop photos too.

When we got to Georgetown the couple was waiting at the entrance to their apartment building with the magazines etc. in tow. I wasn't quite prepared for the quantities that we were being given. They gave us well over 200 magazines of all varieties and about 30 videos! The whole back of my van was covered 3" deep in magazines!

We had a very nice lunch with the couple and then headed home. On the way home  we got stuck (first in lineYes) at a double track railway crossing for close to 20 minutes while we waited for two trains to pass. An eastbound container train was straddling the road as it waited for a westbound which was all autoracks. We started to laugh because the trains just kept coming and coming and coming, and when we thought we were finally seeing the end of the second train, it still kept coming and coming..... I'm sure you have been there too. Interesting seeing all the different road names on the autoracks.

Back to the magazine collection. The two magazine hounds couldn't believe their eyes when they opened the back of my van. Ron kept asking if it was okay to take some more and I kept telling him that they were headed for the recycling if he and Mike didn't take them all.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, September 25, 2019 11:17 AM

 I someone managed to end up with not 1, not 2, but THREE of those battery powered trains. I think they were all complete, so I gave them to some of the younger family members. I'm not even sure how I ended up with them. One I'm sure was the exact set you described, right down to a caboose and a passenger car. One was actually a freight train with a caboose, the other was a gaudy Christmas thing, I think it even played music.

 As for magazines - I just recently took another stack to the recycler. I would have taken them to the museum/club, but they already have large stacks that others have brought along with signs on them that they are free for the taking for any visitor. Always a good way to get/maintain interest of people if they can snag a magazine or two, even if they are 20 years old, to see what you can do in this hobby. I wouldn't be so quick to toss them all, but use them in this manner as a freebie for the kids (and adults) who come to the open houses/shows. At some point you may have more than you can store and disposing of them may be the only option, but keep the nicer ones for freebies.

 Crazy when I think of how much magazine collecting I did to amass the colelction I had, nearly complete from the mid-50's to present (obviously had all the ones from when I was a subscriber to the print version) and some select older ones. Multiple train shows, sometimes getting full years or multiple years in one buy, other times picking up a missing issue here or there at the same shows, or flea markets and the like. Now I have only those which are not available in electronic form, plus the pristine set of 1944 MR I picked up. 6 bookshelves reduced to only needing 2 to hold it all.

                                            --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 25, 2019 8:29 PM

rrinker
6 bookshelves reduced to only needing 2 to hold it all.

That's our problem at the club. We have little space to store the magazines. I have given the magazine afficionados one month to get them out of the clubhouse.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 26, 2019 8:39 PM

We are working on the layout budget for 2020. I'm figuring on $4500.00 Cdn to do the scenery, signals etc. That will probably be a hard sell because a few of our members are a bit on the frugal side. A major part of that is for trees. I'm in favour of buying ready made trees as opposed to making them from scratch, largely because I want them to be reasonably sturdy and stand up over time. One of our members wants to experiment with trees that use sedum for the trunk and branches. I'm guessing we will need 700+ trees of various sizes. That's a lot of sedum, and a lot of work, and in a few years or less I suspect that they will be crumbling.

Past budgeting processes have created a bit of a problem. The Layout Committee did our level best to figure out what we would spend in 2019, but because the layout progressed faster than we thought it would, we used the budget up well before the fiscal year was over. I wanted to simply go back to the members and say that the budget that they had approved was not sufficient and we needed more money. Simple, right? Well, others on the Executive Committee disagreed. They didn't want to appear to the members to be out of control with the spending. The net result was that I figured that I should hold my invoices back until the start of the new fiscal year. The result of that shell game is that, since I do most of the buying, the club owes me $700.00+. I'm not too happy with that situation and I will be darned if I will allow it to happen again next year.Super Angry

That is club politics for you. I'm sure the story will reinforce the reasoning behind those of you who choose not to be a part of the club scene. For me, it's just part of the job.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by carl425 on Thursday, September 26, 2019 10:11 PM

hon30critter
I'm guessing we will need 700+ trees of various sizes.

Guess againDevil.  I "decorated" my track plan with trees in XtrackCAD the other day.  This is a modest around the walls plan in a 9.5' x 13' bedroom.  When I checked the parts list, I had placed 800 trees - and I had gotten tired of it and quit before it was really finished.

I have the right to remain silent.  By posting here I have given up that right and accept that anything I say can and will be used as evidence to critique me.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:10 PM

carl425
Guess again.  I "decorated" my track plan with trees in XtrackCAD the other day. 

Hi Carl,

You may well be right! Time will tell. This just goes to show how difficult it is to budget for a layout!

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, September 26, 2019 11:16 PM

hon30critter

We are working on the layout budget for 2020. I'm figuring on $4500.00 Cdn to do the scenery, signals etc. That will probably be a hard sell because a few of our members are a bit on the frugal side. A major part of that is for trees. I'm in favour of buying ready made trees as opposed to making them from scratch, largely because I want them to be reasonably sturdy and stand up over time. One of our members wants to experiment with trees that use sedum for the trunk and branches. I'm guessing we will need 700+ trees of various sizes. That's a lot of sedum, and a lot of work, and in a few years or less I suspect that they will be crumbling.

Past budgeting processes have created a bit of a problem. The Layout Committee did our level best to figure out what we would spend in 2019, but because the layout progressed faster than we thought it would, we used the budget up well before the fiscal year was over. I wanted to simply go back to the members and say that the budget that they had approved was not sufficient and we needed more money. Simple, right? Well, others on the Executive Committee disagreed. They didn't want to appear to the members to be out of control with the spending. The net result was that I figured that I should hold my invoices back until the start of the new fiscal year. The result of that shell game is that, since I do most of the buying, the club owes me $700.00+. I'm not too happy with that situation and I will be darned if I will allow it to happen again next year.Super Angry

That is club politics for you. I'm sure the story will reinforce the reasoning behind those of you who choose not to be a part of the club scene. For me, it's just part of the job.

Cheers!!

Dave

 

When I needed alot of trees, I ordered boxes of fir trees from a guy on e-bay (he is gone now but called himself tree dad) who got them from the Philippines and would direct ship from there. If you bought in bulk 6" trees were around a $1 or less. There is a new player there and he might do a bulk deal or you could try to find the sorce yourself.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 27, 2019 12:28 AM

rrebell
When I needed alot of trees, I ordered boxes of fir trees from a guy on e-bay (he is gone now but called himself tree dad) who got them from the Philippines

Hi rrebell,

I remember the ads for the trees from the western Pacific. I didn't know exactly where they were from but it was pretty obvious that they weren't in downtown Ottawa.

I don't care where they come from. Were you happy with those trees and how have they stood up over time?

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Friday, September 27, 2019 10:01 AM

They are great, survived a basement layout and are awaiting instalation in new layout, quick vacuming and they were like new. Bought about 1000. They look real good up to the 6" high ones, beyond that height you need more detailed ones. I could cut them down or trim them to go along back and I got them in all sizes up to 6" (also got taller ones but those did not look as good). These were the ones called fir trees. If you get the ones called pine they needed to be sprayed and foamed (not a big deal but why do anything). These are good enough to to for me (and I am very picky train wize). My few foregrond taller trees were made in a kit by a now defunk company but for those you can build your own. They went by the name Architrees but I beleive that is a defunk company but I know the trees still exist and show up under varius monikers.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, September 27, 2019 9:35 PM

rrebell
They are great, survived a basement layout and are awaiting instalation in new layout

Thanks rrebell,

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, September 30, 2019 3:19 PM

 ANother place to get more club members involved - they want to save on the budget, start making cheap trees, assmebly line fashion. Save the fancy expensive trees for the fooreground, fill in with mass produced home made ones. A tree making weekend or two with enough volunteers and you should have a nice forest ready to use, using any number of published ways of making inexpensive trees.

 For other scenery - the ones who are good at it always make it seem so easy, but at the Reading Modeler's Meet a few weekends ago, one of the clinics was on using topo maps and extruded foam to make scenery. It sure seemed simple enough, and the results at the end of the 1 hour clinic were amazing enough, then the guy spent another hour or so the next day adding more details and it was absolutely fantastic. Sure looked like I could do this (but then I said the same thing about Fast Tracks turnouts, too, after watching them live at a train show and then numerous videos). The thing about this guy's technique was, even when it wasn't nearly finished, it still looked decent - MUCH faster then the old cardboard webbing and plaster cloth, or chicken wire, or any of that sort of thing. A complete layout full of this style scenery at the point it was left at the end of the clinic would be more than acceptable - far better than open benchwork with track running through it, and then you cna go back and update it a bit at a time until it's truly finished.

                               --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 rrebell on Monday, September 30, 2019 7:48 PM

hon30critter

 

 
rrebell
They are great, survived a basement layout and are awaiting instalation in new layout

 

Thanks rrebell,

Dave

 

PM me if you want address in  Philippines, just ran across it while unpacking more train stuff. Don't expect speddy reply because I am having computer problems.

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, September 30, 2019 10:10 PM

rrebell
PM me if you want address in  Philippines,

Hi rrebell,

I'll send you a note.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 10:17 PM

Well, I must be doing something that people are interested in! As of right now this thread has been viewed 60064 times and there are more than 800 posts.

Okay, I'll admit it. A significant percentage of the posts are mine. Too much to say I guess.Whistling

Seriously, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of those who have helped me both on this thread and several others. My club is building a layout that we can be proud of with your help!

Thank you!!

Dave

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 3, 2019 2:03 AM

The meeting last Tuesday night was kind of a bust as far as working on the layout was concerned. We had lots of guys show up but for the most part all we did was sit around and shoot the breeze! We did manage to get the portable layout packed up for the Toronto Train Show this weekend, but then everybody except one person just sat down and chatted. Then we went for coffee and chatted some more!

I'm not complaining. Everybody seemed to be enjoying the comradery. We have a good group of guys.Thumbs Up

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, October 3, 2019 9:41 AM

hon30critter

Well, I must be doing something that people are interested in! As of right now this thread has been viewed 60064 times and there are more than 800 posts.

Okay, I'll admit it. A significant percentage of the posts are mine. Too much to say I guess.Whistling

Seriously, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of those who have helped me both on this thread and several others. My club is building a layout that we can be proud of with your help!

Thank you!!

Dave

 

 

Hey, it is all about you. You have leadership in your veins.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 3, 2019 7:22 PM

rrebell
Hey, it is all about you. You have leadership in your veins.

Thanks, I guess.Wink Sometimes I'm not sure whether that is a good thing or a bad thing!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

I do have a great outlet for my occasional frustrations. That is my wife, Dianne. For years I patiently listened to her relieve the pressures of her job. She was the Administrator (head honcho) for a 100 bed Long Term Care facility. She had 200 people working for her, including union members, and some of the residents' family members could be brutal. We would sit at the dining room table after supper while she vented, often for close to an hour. She owes me!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, October 18, 2019 12:50 AM

Well, this is certainly unusual! I haven't posted to this thread in two weeks! I apologise if any of you have suffered withdrawal symptoms, as if!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Not much to report. We held two invitation only open houses on the past two Tuesdays. On the first Tuesday we had lots of guests and I had a great time talking with them. One lady, who is the mother of one of our younger members, was enthralled by what she saw. I don't think she realized how complex her son's chosen hobby is. She asked numerous questions and even took a minute to look under the layout to see all the wiring. When she stood up the expression on her face suggested that she was amazed. All the other guests were very enthusiastic as well. It was a good night.

I didn't make it to the second Tuesday. We only had one guest. That was largely due to the fact that I had to cancel the invitations that I had made to several people because of Dianne's recent head injury (details in the Diner if you are interested). However, I am told that the evening was by no means a bust. Lots of guys had brought trains to run and apparently they had a ball. Most notably, the guys were communicating with each other very well so that there were no cornfield meets despite the fact that we had trains running in both directions on the mainline. That was a first! There is hope after all!!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaughThumbs Up

Next Tuesday is our Annual General Meeting. We have a ton of stuff to cover. One of the changes that we will make that I am very happy with is that we will now explain and discuss any motions for changes to the club's rules before we vote on them. In the past all we were doing is sending emails with the proposed motions to the members and expecting everyone to have read them before the monthly business meetings. That simply wasn't working. We were asking the members to bring a motion forward and lots of people were putting up their hands who had almost no understanding of the motion at all. It was a farce. Don't ask me how we got into that rut. We have decided that from now on the members of the Executive Committee will take turns introducing and explaining the motions before they are put to a vote. Just plain common sense.

One of the things that we will be announcing is that the club's annual membership dues will be going up by $40.00 per year. I am anticipating a bit of flack on that because it represents a 16% increase over the previous year's dues of $230.00. Note that the dues have not increased since at least 2013. We have a few members who apparently have no clue as to what it takes to keep the club alive financially and who have vowed in the past that if the dues go up they will be out of there. Um, $270.00 per year? We are not asking for a fortune. In fact our dues are dirt cheap by comparison to other clubs in the area. However, to soften the blow the increase in dues will not take place until September 2020. I'll have to bite my tongue if anyone complains!

One other issue we are addressing is the dues for members who are absent for a significant part of the year, i.e. the snowbirds. One of those members objected strongly to paying full dues if he was only there for six months. Initially we gave into him, but none of the Executive were happy with the decision. We finally managed to find our cahunas and reverse the decision. The club exists 12 months of the year. We pay rent and insurance for 12 months of the year. To add to the lunacy, the snowbirds are always down south when we hold our annual show and sale in February. That show pays our bills! To not be there for the show and still expect a discount on your membership fees is ludicrous. Thankfully the discount seeker backed down.

This post is getting to be too long. I'll stop.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 12:46 AM

As requested, here are a few pictures of the layout progress:

This is the first attempt at scratchbuilding HO scale signals (I'm also working on some N scale versions of the same thing for a friend). I didn't have exact measurements when I started this project so I guessed at the size and height. Thanks to Ed (gmpullman) I now have the proper dimensions so the subsequent signals will be closer to scale. This one isn't far off but it is about 1 1/2' taller and the heads are a bit too far apart. The sunshades are a little oversized but I have figured out how to correct that problem. The camera has washed out the LEDs. In actual fact the colours are good but the green could be a bit more 'green':

Here is the mounting system. The perf board is designed for Arduino applications but it suits this purpose nicely:

I said some time ago that I thought that posting pictures of the wiring would be boring, but just in case someone really needs to see the situation under the layout, here you go:

It's not as neat as some others' work, but the main point is that it does work! We have only have one incident where the wiring went astray, and that was when one of the Tortoise power supply commons came loose. I'd say that our wiring guru Dave (not me) has done a pretty good job.

On another front, we held our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night. Not much to report. I was acclaimed as the President as were the other members of the Executive to their respective positions. We agreed to a modest increase in our annual dues. They will go up to $270.00/year in September of 2020. There was some questioning of why we need to increase the dues. The basic answer is that the club has spent a fair portion of our assets building the new layout and the Executive feels that we should replenish those assets over time. I made the point that if we don't build our reserves back up and we have a poor show outcome because of bad weather (the show is in Barrie, Ontario in mid February) we could end up short of cash. Two bad shows in a row could kill the club. I made it very clear that as the President I will not take the risk of having to tell the members down the road that the club is broke. Fortunately, the naysayers backed down.

There is the latest!

I hope you are not too bored!

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:12 AM

Looking good, Dave. Where did you get your ladders?

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 4:14 AM

hon30critter

There is the latest!

I hope you are not too bored!

Dave, photos of your progress are never boring. Keep those photos coming.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:45 AM

richhotrain

 

 
hon30critter

There is the latest!

I hope you are not too bored!

 

 

Dave, photos of your progress are never boring. Keep those photos coming.

 

Rich

 

Agreed!

Mike

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 5:55 AM

richhotrain
Dave. Where did you get your ladders?

Hi Rich,

The ladders and platforms are from Tomar Industries. I also have stand offs for the ladders but they prevent the ladders from standing at a slight angle which I think looks better than having them straight up and down. I'm going to try reversing the platforms so that the short side of the platform is next to the ladder. That should allow the ladder to sit on an angle with the stand offs in place.

The finials are from Scale Structures.

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 8:00 AM

hon30critter
 
richhotrain
Dave. Where did you get your ladders? 

Hi Rich,

The ladders and platforms are from Tomar Industries.

Thanks, Dave

Alton Junction

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Posted by railandsail on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 8:44 AM

 

 

It's not as neat as some others' work, but the main point is that it does work! We have only have one incident where the wiring went astray, and that was when one of the Tortoise power supply commons came loose. I'd say that our wiring guru Dave (not me) has done a pretty good job.




Wonder what the next repair guy is going to have to say here....ha...haConfused

Of course I'm sure many of out layouts look like this.

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Posted by rrebell on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 9:58 AM

Hope you document the wiring, otherwise you are asking for it. On my last layout wiring was pretty simple as all runs were short to buss wires and connected with posi-taps. easy to add wires anywhere, no wire damage and trouble shooting was a breese (had to do that once on that layout).

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 24, 2019 12:42 AM

Hi Brian and rrebell,

The wiring is very easy to follow. We established a colour scheme before we started. We have only had one problem where a common (yellow) wire dropped out of one of the connector strips for a Tortoise. Once we figured out what we were looking for it took less than five minutes to find the problem.

I will admit that things would be prettier if all the wires were running exactly parallel and without any sags, but in reality that is simply not necessary. The wiring works. No further comment needed.

Dave

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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, October 24, 2019 6:32 AM

richhotrain
Dave, photos of your progress are never boring. Keep those photos coming. Rich

I agree with Rich, Dave.  I've always checked in on your thread.

Those signals look great!

Mike.

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, October 25, 2019 12:55 AM

rrebell
Hope you document the wiring, otherwise you are asking for it.

rrebell,

Oh ye of little faith! Rest assured that we have documented the wiring very carefully! In fact, we started the wiring documentation well before we started installing the wires. We have a very well defined wiring colour system. A couple of the colours are duplicated but in those cases there is an obvious difference in the gauge of the wires from one bus to another.

Our wiring has gone very smoothly. We have had a couple of track feeders attached to the wrong rails. We installed more than 200 feeder wires so making a couple of goofs was understandable. We had one Tortoise common lead fall out of its connection strip. The result of that was that a few of the Tortoises down stream were moving very slowly, but only in one direction. That caused us to scratch our heads for a while but thanks to the forums we were able to figure out what was going wrong and we were then able to locate the problem in a few minutes.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, October 28, 2019 9:16 PM

We held our first Show Committee meeting for next February's Train Show and Sale. We must be getting better at setting the show up. The meeting lasted 50 minutes. Three years ago when most of the committee was new it took us many hours to get to the same point.

There are still some details to look after of course. Most of those have to do with the venue. We will be in a different area of the greenhouse complex so we have to verify things like where the entrance/exit can go and that there are outlets where we need them.

I know, I know. Boring post!!Sleep At least I didn't blather on forever.Smile, Wink & Grin

Cheers!!

Dave

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