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Building a new club layout (and other club related activities)

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  • Member since
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  • From: Bradford, Ontario
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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 31, 2019 1:35 AM

I had my first experience with Woodland Scenic's Shaper Sheet last Tuesday night. Shaper Sheet is a heavy aluminum foil with a cotton like covering on one side. It is an easy and quick way to cover large areas of terrain with something that gives a decent resemblance of a rocky surface. Here is the WS listing:

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/item/C1179

Here is a quick demo:

https://woodlandscenics.woodlandscenics.com/show/video/shapersheetdemo

I'll get some pictures of it next Tuesday. My fingers were too mucked up with the PL300 adhesive to attempt to use my phone to take pictures. By the way, PL300 is way overkill for gluing the stuff down. I used it because I had lots of it on hand. Model Railroader used hot glue on their Canadian Canyons layout. I am a little skeptical of using hot glue if you are working with larger pieces of Shaper Sheet. I think that the likelyhood of the glue cooling off before everything is in place is rather high. If you use something like PL300 or acrylic caulking you will need lots of push pins to hold the sheets down while the glue sets.

Here is the Canadian Canyons episode on using Shaper Sheet:

http://mrv.trains.com/how-to/scenery/2018/02/canadian-canyons-series-part-31--surfacing-with-shaper-sheet

Some pros and cons:

Pro - Everyone at the club said they liked the look. It is easy to work with. The only potential mess is getting glue or caulking on your fingers, which I can't seem to avoid.Dunce

Con - It is expensive and it doesn't go far! The sheets are only 6 ft long x 18" wide (also comes 9" wide). Peeling the fabric back to make seams is a bit of a PITA.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, October 31, 2019 10:24 AM

Sometimes the traditional ways are better. I use plaster cloth, very cheap from some places or free at some medical places, with a foam base made out os free foam from packing material.

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, October 31, 2019 2:42 PM

rrebell
Sometimes the traditional ways are better. I use plaster cloth, very cheap from some places

Hi rrebell,

We are using plaster cloth over foam and/or wire mesh for most of the layout where the scenery will be fixed in place and is easily reached from the aisles. I am using the Shaper Sheets on the mountains in the center of the peninsula that are too far from the aisles to work on in place. Since they have to be lifted out to do all the scenery work I wanted to keep them as light as possible. So far so good. There will only be a few hydrocal rock castings on them. The majority of the surface will be covered with trees.

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Thursday, October 31, 2019 8:59 PM

hon30critter
If you need low weight hydrocal castings, PM me, i have a way to do them.

 

 
rrebell
Sometimes the traditional ways are better. I use plaster cloth, very cheap from some places

 

Hi rrebell,

We are using plaster cloth over foam and/or wire mesh for most of the layout where the scenery will be fixed in place and is easily reached from the aisles. I am using the Shaper Sheets on the mountains in the center of the peninsula that are too far from the aisles to work on in place. Since they have to be lifted out to do all the scenery work I wanted to keep them as light as possible. So far so good. There will only be a few hydrocal rock castings on them. The majority of the surface will be covered with trees.

Dave

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, November 5, 2019 1:29 AM

Got about 60 HO scale searchlight signal head basic assemblies made tonight. They still require a lot of filing to finish them before they can be added to the signals. Thank goodness for Dremel tools and diamond wheel cutters, but I am covered in brass filings!

I had designed a somewhat more prototypical signal head with a smaller diameter lens and shade but I decided that the additional steps required were not worth the effort to reduce the lens diameter by 1/32". Everyone is happy with the prototype with the slightly larger lens so why complicate things?

Cheers!!

Dave

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 2:48 AM

Here are a couple of shots of the Woodland Scenics Shaper Sheets in place. I'm not entirely happy with the texture. I think I shrunched the sheets up too tightly so there are too many lines and creases. Ultimately almost all of it will be covered with either trees or rock molds so I probably shouldn't be concerned. The logging road on the right in the first picture turned out quite well if I may say so myself. You can see where the lower parts of the road have been cut into the foam. I had a better picture of it but alas it disappeared into the ether. Sorry, the first shot is a bit blurry. I have a really hard time holding my iPhone steady.

Here is a picture of the mountain in place. I messed up a little bit with the size of the first sheet but that will be easily corrected with some scraps. Just so you know, nobody is happy with the scenery below the track including the guys who installed it. It just looks totally fake and it will be redone.

Please don't hold back! Be honest with what you think.

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by Water Level Route on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 5:53 AM

I think the shaper sheet is fine.  It's a base layer.  You put enough top dressing on it, and most of the lines will disappear, especially if it gets covered with trees.  Below the tracks though, I agree with you.  Time for a re-do.

Mike

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, November 6, 2019 5:58 AM

hon30critter
Please don't hold back! Be honest with what you think.

.

Don't worry about it.

.

Anything that looks wronf after scenery is in place can easily be hidden with enough Woodland Scenics clump foliage.

.

I have never made a mastake so big that it could not be hidden by something.

.

-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 hon30critter on Thursday, November 14, 2019 1:31 PM

Hi gang!

We have decided to use JMRI's basic operating system to set up proper operations. Up until now our 'operating nights' have involved watching trains go around. Unfortunately, those sessions have demonstrated that many of our members simply don't understand how to run a train!

For example, they will leave their trains running free while they stop to chat, and then they will go into panic mode when people start to holler because their train is about to collide with another train or it has derailed because a turnout was thrown against them. He have had frequent incidents where someone has had to grab a locomotive before it hit something, and the operator was nowhere to be seen.Bang Head

Or, they don't look ahead of their trains to see what is coming down the track, and then they panic when they realize they are a few feet away from a collision, of which there have been several.Bang HeadBang Head

They also can't tell which route their train is going to take when going through a turnout, that is if they bother to look at the turnouts at all. They can't remember to set the mainline turnouts back after they take a siding as well.Bang HeadBang Head

The worst part is that they seem to be incapable of negotiating with each other for right of way or which route they want to take. We will cure the right of way issue, at least partly, by giving all north bound trains priority. That will create a whole new raft of headaches because 'northbound' on the track doesn't always conform to 'north' on the compass.Grumpy

Our solution will be to run a bunch of sessions with a couple of guys acting more or less as dispatchers. However, instead of telling everyone where to go and who goes first, they will be watching for behaviours which cause the above problems. They will then tell the offender to stop their train and figure out what they should be doing. Repeated failures to operate properly will result in the person being told to take their train off of the layout.

Are we having fun yet?!?

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, November 14, 2019 2:43 PM

 Stinks, but you have to be hard nosed about it. That $300 loco might not be a $1200 brass loco, but it wasn't chump change to the owner when it gets damaged because someone else was too busy chatting instead of paying attention to the train they were allegedly running. Someone not paying attention and damaging only their OWN equipment, well, that's a bit like justice served, but damaging someone else's property never goes over well and is very much against forming a brotherhood of club members.

 Accidents are one thing - but walking away from a running train and not watching where it's headed is no accident.

                                  --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 Thursday, November 14, 2019 10:45 PM

rrinker
 Stinks, but you have to be hard nosed about it.

Hi Randy,

Yup!! Hard nosed is right. I'm usually a pretty easy going guy but I have to control my temper when someone is being stupid. It will be interesting to hear the silence in the room when I tell the first person to please take their train off the layout!

I rewrote the operating rules tonight. The original version done in October of 2018 was very long winded (as I tend to be) and not to the point. The revised version has eight very short paragraphs that address each of the issues directly, and it spells out the consequences of failing to follow the rules very clearly.

I have had enough of asking "who is running this train?".

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, November 15, 2019 4:33 AM

Sorry to have to say, this sounds like a very undisciplined group of guys. Why not imposes monetary penalties, say $25 for the first infraction, $50 for second infracton, $100 for the third infraction. A fourth infraction would result in suspension from the club. That would get their attention.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by snjroy on Friday, November 15, 2019 7:03 AM

Hard rules and penalties don't work at our local club. I "solved" that problem by following my trains, I mean physically walking close to them, and watching out for forgotten switches, wild running trains and debris on the track. We installed the Wifi at our club and following my train closely is not a problem. Dave, I know your club did not go forward with Wifi but the lesson may benefit to other readers.

Simon 

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 12:35 PM

snjroy
Dave, I know your club did not go forward with Wifi but the lesson may benefit to other readers.

Actually, we installed Wifi about three weeks ago and we already have several people who are using it and love it! Set up was quick, easy and not expensive, and it only takes a few minutes to teach people how to use it once they have the app on their devices.

snjroy
Hard rules and penalties don't work at our local club.

Hard rules go against my nature and I'm not entirely comfortable with making threats, so I'm hoping that if a couple of us spend a few weeks closely monitoring the operating sessions we can educate those who need to improve their skills before push comes to shove. However, there are a couple of guys who just haven't gotten the message despite repeatedly causing the same problems. When things get to the point where those people are significantly and regularly interfering with operating sessions, they have to be told to get off the tracks. If we can't run trains properly why have we just spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours building a layout?

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 12:57 PM

richhotrain
Sorry to have to say, this sounds like a very undisciplined group of guys.

I would rather suggest that they are untrained (pardon the pun). The club has not had a layout where operations could be performed for years. Both the portable layout and the permanent layout at the old clubhouse only went around in circles. The guys who are causing the problems either don't have layouts at home or they are lone wolf operators so they haven't had any experience running with other trains on the same track.

I will take part of the blame for the continuing operating problems because I have taken a more or less hands off approach to the operating sessions. I had hoped that people would figure things out on their own, but obviously that is not happening. My hope now is that if a couple of us spend our time during the operating sessions closely watching those who are running trains and need coaching, that we can solve the problems through education before I have to get out the big guns.

As far as monetary fines are concerned, IMHO that is going too far. I guess I see it as more of a 'carrot' as opposed to a 'stick' approach. If a member was to get to the point where they were causing constant problems over a significant time period (i.e. several months) and not responding to our requests, then we would terminate their membership. I don't want to threaten the whole club with that sort of penalty when most people are not causing any problems at all. To me, that just puts a damper on the whole thing and that is not the way we want to run the club.

Dave

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Posted by richhotrain on Friday, November 15, 2019 1:50 PM

Dave, I see no reason for you to accept any of the blame. I get the fact that some members are lone wolves outside the club, but it seems less an issue of educating mrmbers how to operate in a group environment than it does for all members to act in a disciplined manner while operating on the club layout.

You cited several issues in this regard.

~ many of our members simply don't understand how to run a train

~ they will leave their trains running free while they stop to chat

~ the operator was nowhere to be seen

~ they also can't tell which route their train is going to take when going through a turnout, if they bother to look at the turnouts at all.

~ they can't remember to set the mainline turnouts back after they take a siding 

I am not trying to be argumentative because I fully support your concerns and frustrations. The only point of my earlier reply was to suggest that the club members acting in the manner that you cited probably need to be disciplined more than they need to be educated. I say this because even a lone wolf, myself included, should be sufficiently educated not to commit any of the five infractions previously cited.

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 15, 2019 2:37 PM

 Some of these thing are not like the others.

Not knowing how to run a train, when they have no layotu at home, etc - is somewhat to be expected. Maybe one club night could be a "how to run trains" night, for those with no experience - and even those who think they know might learn something, especially if you talk about the various control options available (the variosu throttles, plus wifi devices). But this sort of thign is not a deliberate 'failure'

Not remembering to set turnouts back to the main is also mostly along the liens of not knowign how to run trains. Occasionally even a pro railroader makes a mistake in this regard, unfortunately on the real railroads this often leads to loss of life.

But letting the train just run free while stopping to chat, or not paying attention to what's in front when they are right there - that's common sense which no amount of training or beating with a hockey stick will fix.

                              --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 richhotrain on Friday, November 15, 2019 2:45 PM

rrinker

 

But letting the train just run free while stopping to chat, or not paying attention to what's in front when they are right there - that's common sense which no amount of training or beating with a hockey stick will fix.

And, let's not forget about the operator who is nowhere to be seen.  Confused

Maybe no amount of training or beating, but I still like the concept of monetary fines.   Yes

Rich

Alton Junction

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 9:05 PM

rrinker
that's common sense which no amount of training or beating with a hockey stick will fix.

Baseball bat maybe? Golf club?? I know, I'll beat them with the carrot!!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 9:12 PM

Hi Rich,

I appreciate your comments and suggestions, but on second thought we have decided to remove the threat of discipline from the rules page entirely and replace it with an explanation of the reasoning behind the rules. I don't like the idea of threatening everyone with disciplinary action when I know that only a few members might potentially need to be taken aside, which is how I will handle anyone who continues to be a problem. I want to keep the club atmosphere positive. Threatening everybody will do the opposite, but thanks for letting me get my frustrations out!CryingSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Friday, November 15, 2019 9:40 PM

The process of revising the basic operating rules several times has reminded of something that I have to guard myself against. One member of the Executive tends to state things rather bluntly. On a few occassions in the past I have overreacted to some of the issues that he has raised. That was the case with the operating rules. He was the person who pointed out the fact that we will never be able to have proper operations if the basic running rules aren't being observed. That fact ticked me off so I immediately started out all gungho to get these guys following the rules or else. That resulted in the inclusion of a threat of discipline when I rewrote the rules. It took me a few days to realize that, once again, I had overreacted. In the future I will have to remind myself to take a step back before charging ahead. I guess it's called being mature.

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, November 15, 2019 10:27 PM

 Well, I WAS going to say baseball bat, but three things: a) baseball season is over, b) it's hockey season, and c) you and your club are canuckian. Laugh

                                     --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 Friday, November 15, 2019 10:31 PM

rrinker
Well, I WAS going to say baseball bat, but three things: a) baseball season is over, b) it's hockey season, and c) you and your club are canuckian

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by rrebell on Saturday, November 16, 2019 9:47 AM

hon30critter

The process of revising the basic operating rules several times has reminded of something that I have to guard myself against. One member of the Executive tends to state things rather bluntly. On a few occassions in the past I have overreacted to some of the issues that he has raised. That was the case with the operating rules. He was the person who pointed out the fact that we will never be able to have proper operations if the basic running rules aren't being observed. That fact ticked me off so I immediately started out all gungho to get these guys following the rules or else. That resulted in the inclusion of a threat of discipline when I rewrote the rules. It took me a few days to realize that, once again, I had overreacted. In the future I will have to remind myself to take a step back before charging ahead. I guess it's called being mature.

Dave

 

No, it is being smart. In woodworking you sometimes have close calls, sometimes not so close but they wake you up. Then you are sopposed to back away, catch your breath, relize what you were doing unsafe and then go back to work. 

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, November 16, 2019 10:13 AM

hon30critter
rrinker
Well, I WAS going to say baseball bat, but three things: a) baseball season is over, b) it's hockey season, and c) you and your club are canuckian

LaughLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

I'll try to couch my question in a way our Canuck cousins might be familiar with . . .

How are the club's 'operating sessions' set up? Are they specifically for or strictly for operations? You know, with schedules and time tables and train orders and whatnot? I realize things are in their early stages and not yet fully organized, but is a formal operating session with everyone involved what y'all are shooting for? Or, do some members show up at the sessions and just run their trains freelance on the layout?

Even though I am from the deep south, I play ice hockey. The local rink schedules weekly 2-hour sessions called 'stick time'. Typically, after a few minutes of warmup and skating around, these sessions devolve into a pickup game with most of the players forming into two teams. But, there are always one or two guys who use the limited time the ice sheet is available to work on their skills individually and they don't want to participate in an informal game. As is their right.

So, formal scheduled operating session where everyone knows what is expected up front? Or, do some attendees think the layout is open for unstructured play time?

Robert 

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, November 16, 2019 11:03 AM

 Can everything be explained in hockey terms? Perhaps it can. Actually, despite having only visited Tortonto once, of all the pro sports, my favorite to go catch a live game in hockey. Anyway...

 While that makes a lot of sense, it's ALSO the responsibility of the couple of players working on skills instead of playing in the practice game to not go charging out across center ice while the ones playing the game are trying to move the puck up and down. 

 Since the gorup I'm with is a modular setup, we usually don;t do formal operations. SOmetimes, if a venue lets us back in the building after regular hours, but when the crowds are around, the trains pretty much just run around in circles. Occasionally a route gets changed, or a special gets run, making even those circulating trains have to pay attention to signals (one that gets a lot of attention is the high and wide train, which is made up of all cars carrying steel beams and so forth spanning 3 flat cars, or tall tank dish ends stnading up in gons - individually realistic but all in one singel train? Not so much. Or the gold train - a train of shorty iron ore hoppers with the loads painted gold, along with a couple of flat cars carrying tanks, and plenty of soldiers guarding it). When I get bored I take one of my switchers over to the coal yard and start switching loads and empties in and out of the breaker. More fun than running around in circles. ANd completely off the main so no interference from any other running trains - which is the key part of this. I'm doing my own thing, but not impacting anyone else who is doing theirs.

                                          --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 Saturday, November 16, 2019 8:43 PM

ROBERT PETRICK
How are the club's 'operating sessions' set up? Are they specifically for or strictly for operations? You know, with schedules and time tables and train orders and whatnot? I realize things are in their early stages and not yet fully organized, but is a formal operating session with everyone involved what y'all are shooting for? Or, do some members show up at the sessions and just run their trains freelance on the layout?

Hi Robert,

As you said, we are still in the very early stages. Up until now we have pretty much let people do what they want just to have fun with their trains. Keep in mind that the new layout wasn't useable for the first 1 1/2 years and the portable layout was being repaired during much of that time so it had been a while since anyone had had a throttle in their hands, other than at the shows where we just watch the trains go around in circles anyhow. We felt that it was important to take a few breaks from construction to let the guys run some trains once we were able to do so.

During the first few running sessions that was all we did. Some people wanted to do laps and others wanted to work an industry or work in the yards so we let them do what they wanted. I had naively hoped that spending some time running trains would help people learn the layout and learn to work with each other. Obviously very little of that has happened. That's why I said I am partially to blame for the problems because I sat back instead of taking an active role. Now I'm going to take an active role!

While we haven't spent much time trying to coordinate train movements yet, we have started the process of learning how to use basic JMRI to set up operating sessions. Only a couple of us are working on learning JMRI at this point, although I have encouraged everyone to download the program and study it. However, as has been said a couple of times, JMRI is useless if people can't manage to get their trains around the layout without running into somebody or running a turnout the wrong way. I won't go into the reasons for why some people can't do that again. It has already been explained.

The bottom line is that I am the President of the club. Therefore I have a responsibility to make sure that the club functions properly. That includes making sure that the club is viable in the long term, and it also demands that I make sure the club functions properly on a day in, day out basis. That obviously requires that I do some things that I would rather not have to do, like teaching people how to run trains properly. I would love for things to just drop into place. Unfortunately, some things drop onto the floor instead of onto the tracks. I see it as my job to help things get picked up off the floor.

Thank you again everyone for your input and your interest.Bow

Cheers!!

Dave

 

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, November 17, 2019 8:26 PM

We attended the Pine Ridge Modellers show in Whitby, Ontario this weekend. We hadn't been to their show in several years because it is a fair distance from Barrie, but we decided to honour their invite this year. Hopefully they will reciprocate at our show in February.

By all accounts the show was well attended so everyone was happy, that is except for the two guys from our club who were the only members who showed up on Sunday. There were supposed to be at least four guys on Sunday. I thought we had proper coverage based on the sign up sheets but I think what happened is that a couple of guys showed up on the Saturday who were supposed to be there on Sunday. That happened because initially we were short of people on the Saturday so we put the word out that we needed more people that day. Instead of getting more people to sign up, all that happened was that people switched days.

As a result of the lack of attendance I will have to monitor who is scheduled to attend the shows much more carefully. We thought we had everything worked out a few days before the show but apparently that wasn't the case. I guess I will have to verify the schedule with each individual right before the weekend.

I went to the show both days as well, but all I could do is haul the trailer. I tried to help unload on Saturday morning but after about 20 minutes I could barely walk because of my back problems. I got there at 3:30 on Sunday, but there was very little that I could do, again because my back was hurting so much.

I guess I'll have to start using more brain instead of braun!Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaugh

Dave

 

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Posted by davidmurray on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 8:28 PM

Dave:

Wondered why I didn't see you.  Our layouts are built in smaller pieces, so they can fit into smaller vechicles.  My Sante Fe holds 5/6 of the HO layout, plus some boxes.  Thus we are never dependent on any one person transporting things.

As to brains instead of brawn, we all get older, and hope to get wiser.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, November 19, 2019 11:28 PM

davidmurray
Wondered why I didn't see you. 

Sorry I missed you Dave. When I went back out to move the van and trailer after we unloaded, it was all I could do to keep standing. Walking even the short distance to go back inside just wasn't an option. Very frustrating!

Cheers!!

Dave

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