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

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, December 17, 2019 11:25 PM
Nice to see the track plan of the club layout. I haven’t seen it before! Gives me a great idea of how the layouts works, and I’m starting to figure out the locations of some of the scenes you posted earlier!

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 Tuesday, December 17, 2019 11:35 PM

Hi Isaac,

I will go back to the drawing and make the place names a bit larger so they are easier to read.

Thanks for your interest.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Thursday, December 26, 2019 11:07 PM

Here is the track plan with larger place names:

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 29, 2019 1:39 AM

We just completed a two day display (Friday and Saturday) of our portable layout at the Painswick (Barrie) Library. Things went quite well! The layout only farted once.Smile, Wink & Grin The Zephyr got messed up. Heaven knows why. Other than that, we were able to run trains for hours on end without problems.

Attendance was good! Most of the guys will let the children run trains so we made a lot of kids very happy.

We also got great media coverage from the local TV station, CTV News Barrie. In fact, they visited us twice. The first time was just to cover the show and they were kind enough to to put us on both the 6:00 pm and the 11:00 pm news on Friday night.

The second time was to visit Donald J. Trump. No, you didn't misread that, and I am not making any sort of political statement whatsoever. We have a club member whose actual name is Donald James Trump. No kidding!! Needless to say, Donald has a lot of fun with his name. He carries his Driver's Licence in his front pocket so that he can prove his name. We even have a 'Trump Finger Cut Lumber' sawmill which Donald built on the portable layout. He is a good modeller. Unfortunately he wasn't at the show when they came to interview him.

The second CTV visit got us onto the Saturday 6:00 pm news and they gave us a great plug for our big February show and sale. They even put us on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Here is a link to one of the news spots:

https://barrie.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1863420

The spokesperson is our Secretary, Henk.

Dave

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Posted by mbinsewi on Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:32 AM

Nice Dave.  I like the name of that lumber yard, right at the very end. Laugh

The new picture of the layout plan is much clearer than the first one, excellent!

Mike.

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Posted by hon30critter on Sunday, December 29, 2019 6:26 PM

Thanks Mike,

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Sunday, December 29, 2019 6:44 PM

 Nice news spot. The portable layout looks quite nice. I can see why you let Henk do the public speaking - he speaks well on camera and got in all the various aspects of model railroading in a concise manner and in a nice quick blurb so they couldn't cut him off to make the story fit the available time.

                               --Randy

                  --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 Sunday, December 29, 2019 7:05 PM

rrinker
I can see why you let Henk do the public speaking - he speaks well on camera and got in all the various aspects of model railroading in a concise manner and in a nice quick blurb so they couldn't cut him off to make the story fit the available time.

Thanks Randy,

Henk is a good guy. He is one of the driving forces in our club. He has done a ton of work both on our new layout and the portable layout. He has also been instrumental in sorting the club out in terms of getting our corporate paperwork up to date (that was a nightmare!), and in rewriting our club policies and bylaws, most of which had been either lost or ignored over the years. He does a superb job as the Secretary as well.

Interestingly, he hates speaking to the press. That job usually falls to me and I am not quite as good at it as he is, but I wasn't there on Saturday when the media showed up.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Monday, January 6, 2020 1:22 AM

We have run into a bit of a snag with regard to the cafeteria that we run at our February train show. The Health Department now requires that we have at least one person present at all times who holds a Safe Food Handling Certificate. Otherwise, they won't give us a permit. They have never imposed this requirement before so it has caught us off guard. The cafeteria is fairly essential because all the local restaurants are some distance away.

We thought that taking the food handling course would be easy, except there are no courses being offered in the area before the show. Then we thought that we could just go online, study the regulations ourselves and then write the exam. The manual is 160 pages! The only exam scheduled is in mid January. Nobody has the time or the inclination to do that much reading in that short a time. So, back to the drawing board.

We threw around all sorts of possibilities, none of which was very attractive. It finally dawned on me on Sunday that perhaps we could get a caterer to operate the cafeteria, so I went on line to see who was out there. Sometimes things do actually go my way. I started looking at about 7:00 pm. Within a few minutes I found a local caterer who does exactly what we want, so I sent her an email. Amazingly, I had a response in a few more minutes (she is a night owl like me), and not much later I had a quote which was excellent.

In addition to meeting the Public Health requirements this saves us a whole lot of running around gathering supplies, and it frees up a bunch of bodies that we really need elsewhere in the show. What's not to love?!?

We will have to forego the small profit that we have made on the cafeteria in the past, and we won't be able to offer the exhibitors a free lunch as we have done, but we can live with that. The caterer has offered to give both the exhibitors and the vendors free drinks. Bonus!

Why we didn't think of this years ago is anybodies guess.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, January 6, 2020 4:53 AM

That sure sounds like a "when you have lemons — make lemonade" kind of solution, Dave.

Sure sounds familiar, too. We (The Middlefield Model Railroad Club) used to sell sausage sandwiches and other snacks at our shows. This was back in the mid-1990s. Things are certainly stricter these days. I'd have to agree that there is a risk involved with that rare, but still possible, chance of food poisoning or allergy reaction. That would put you and your club at a big risk. 

By "farming it out" you will spare yourselves the exposure to that.

Glad you found a good solution. I remember, too, how the dealers really went for the "free-lunch" coupons that we passed out. 

Best of luck, Ed

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Posted by rrinker on Monday, January 6, 2020 7:02 AM

 I can see it coming. The show we sponsor, we have always had the Scouts run the kitchen (with adult help of course), and the profit is theirs. If they get to be such sticklers here, hopefully one of the adults has the certification.

                          --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 Monday, January 6, 2020 11:08 PM

I thought using a caterer would be an easy solution, but three out of the five members of the Show Committee would rather run a simple snack bar with prepackaged items, pop, water and coffee. I have to call the Health Unit on Tuesday  to see if we can do that without a permit.

There are pros and cons to each option. If we run a simple snack bar we will make some money but we will have to do all the work. If we go with the caterer we won't make any money but we won't have to do any of the grunt work. We could charge the caterer a fee but we would rather keep the prices down. All we will have to do is make sure that the caterer has proper liability insurance with both the venue and the club listed as co-insured, and that we have a contract that holds us blameless. It also frees up some bodies to do other things at the show. Unfortunately, the exhibitors won't get a free lunch. I'm sure there will be comments about that.

Personally, I like the idea of serving decent hot food even if we don't make any money. I just think it will make the exhibitors and vendors happier rather then them having to drive a couple of miles down the road to where the fast food restaurants are.

One of the tasks that we could use the freed up club members for would be to go through the crowd finding out how people heard about the show. We are spending about $1500 on radio ads. That is a major chunk of our revenues. It would be nice to know how well the ads are working.

Cheers!!

Dave

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Posted by rrinker on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 7:52 AM

 I don't know what visitors have come to expect at your show, but around here, most atendees expect to be able to get a breakfast sandwich or a donut and a cup of coffee in the morning, and later on a hot dog or hamburger and a soda. Switching to only prepackaged snacks (and I think serving hot coffee would be the one thing that would cause you to require the permit) I think would (hmm, not trying for hyperbole but can't think of another way to say it) turn people away and sour them on the show. Especially if the only other option requires them to leave and drive somewhere else for 'real' food.

                                          --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 York1 on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 8:58 AM

The caterer sounded like a great idea.  What was the objection from some of your members?  It sounds like the loss of a few dollars would be made up in less work and less worry for the members.

If you have a local school that serves lunches, chances are that the kitchen employees have the certification.  Around here, every school kitchen has at least the head cook certified.  You may be able to hire one of them for minimum wage just to be present in the kitchen.

Let us know how it turns out.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by BigDaddy on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 9:01 AM

You could invite a couple food trucks.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by hon30critter on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 11:52 PM

BigDaddy
You could invite a couple food trucks.

Hi Henry,

I looked into that last year. There are very few food trucks that operate in the winter outside of downtown Toronto. The ones that might be willing to come to Barrie in February charge a fee upfront and if they don't meet their minimum sales target they expect us to make up the difference. The caterer I have been talking to does not charge any fees and has no minimum sales requirements. In fact, she is willing to give discounts to the exhibitors and vendors.

Dave

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 12:01 AM

rrinker
 I don't know what visitors have come to expect at your show, but around here, most atendees expect to be able to get a breakfast sandwich or a donut and a cup of coffee in the morning, and later on a hot dog or hamburger and a soda. Switching to only prepackaged snacks (and I think serving hot coffee would be the one thing that would cause you to require the permit) I think would (hmm, not trying for hyperbole but can't think of another way to say it) turn people away and sour them on the show. Especially if the only other option requires them to leave and drive somewhere else for 'real' food.

Hi Randy,

I fully agree! Unfortunately the majority of the Show Committee members don't think that is a big issue. I'm hoping the we don't find out that they are wrong the hard way!

I'm trying to think of ways to change their minds.

Dave

 

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Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 7:54 AM

 You must be the first model railroad club that isn't a bunch of chow hounds Laugh At least half our people would complain if we set up at a show where there was no food other than bags of chips and things. I'd put it to them that way - would THEY be happy with what they are proposing to offer your customers and vendors?

                                         --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, January 9, 2020 12:57 AM

rrinker
 You must be the first model railroad club that isn't a bunch of chow hounds  At least half our people would complain if we set up at a show where there was no food other than bags of chips and things. I'd put it to them that way - would THEY be happy with what they are proposing to offer your customers and vendors?

Good question!

The cafeteria issue blew up in my face today! All I did was offer an alternative idea which had not occurred to me during the Show Committee meeting last night that would allow us to use the caterer without losing revenue. Two of the committee members took great offense to me trying to reopen the discussion after we had made a 'final' decision, and they quit the committee. I won't go into the details.

Now I get to see how good I am at being the President. At first I was quite upset, but I quickly decided to calm down and work very hard at bringing them back on board. I am actually a bit pleased with myself. I never used to have a very thick skin.Smile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughBang Head

Dave

 

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, January 9, 2020 7:47 AM

 Maybe you are developing a thick skin, but it seems a couple of your members aren't. Realistically, how much revenue would be lost paying the caterer? Considering you got all the other free extras from the venue so that you have more room to have more vendors? Even having to pay a caterer to supervise the food stand, it probably still works out to a net gain for the club, just not as big a one. But a gain is a gain, and forward marketing is still important. Maybe it's just me, but I'd be disappointed going to a show and not being able to get a reasonable lunch right there on-premise, overpriced though it may be. I think I'd be MORE annoyed if I was there with a family of small kids. Maybe everying is healthier up there and they don't care of they have food readily at hand, could be why we always complain about aisle space at shows. 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 Thursday, January 9, 2020 11:47 PM

So here we are after two days of my trying to be thick skinned, and I will confess that I was totally kidding myself. Some of the comments that were made upset me deeply. The good news is that the committee members who quit have come back on board and we all agreed to drop the issue so the dust should settle.

Or not! The caterer just came back with an offer of cash for letting her serve at the show. That answers all of our needs. The question is: Are the other committee members willing to listen?

I could write a soap opera!

Bang HeadBang HeadBang HeadSmile, Wink & GrinLaughLaughLaugh

Dave

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, January 10, 2020 3:37 AM

hon30critter
The good news is that the committee members who quit have come back on board and we all agreed to drop the issue so the dust should settle.

Yes, this brings back memories of the trials and tribulations we went through when the Middlefield club was running. One fellow who was the former president refused to set foot in any establishment that served alcohol.

Well, several of us enjoyed visiting the Towne Taverne (classy joint, notice the "e" at the end of the words) after a Tuesday night work session and it was a nice time to discuss operations and, well, it was kind of like the Diner is here.

It wasn't long before we were accused of "plotting" against the others. "You fellows go over there and get all liquored-up and make crazy plans and exclude anybody else".

Indifferent  Really?  Grown adults?

Egos can be so fragile.

I do miss some of it. The rest, not so much.

 Middlefield_0001 by Edmund, on Flickr

I would think that just being relieved of the liability of serving the food would be worth having the caterer take care of things.

I hope everyone comes to their senses, Dave. I suspect you are the voice of reason.

Cheers, Ed

 

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Posted by davidmurray on Friday, January 10, 2020 5:57 PM

rrinker
Maybe it's just me, but I'd be disappointed going to a show and not being able to get a reasonable lunch right there on-premise, overpriced though it may be. I think I'd be MORE annoyed if I was there with a family of small kids. Maybe everying is healthier up there and they don't care of they have food readily at hand, could be why we always complain about aisle space at show

Randy:

More Southern Ontario shows do not have food availible for visitors than do.  Government regulations pretty much preclude food being sold without a permanent kitchen and licence.  Curling rinks, hockey rink O.K., school OK if you use their cafeteria and staff.  Other places, just no go.

Dave

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, January 11, 2020 7:01 PM

Hi folks,

Well, all good things must come to an end. I have resigned from the club for reasons of protecting my mental health.

To explain:

I suffer from severe clinical depression. In my case, that means that I cannot deal with personal conflict. When someone attacks my personal integrity I become extremely upset. Over the past 1 1/2 years one senior member of the club has criticised me harshly on three occassions because he disagreed with something that I had done that I thought was for the benefit of the club. The most recent episode was with regard to the provision of hot food at our next show.

Normally if I have a depressive episode it only lasts for a couple of hours. In each of the three cases with this member's comments, the depressive episodes have lasted for days. This last episode is no different. Since last Wednesday I have been extremely distraught, I have been nauseas, I have barely been able to eat or sleep, and in fact I have barely been able to move. Last night was the final straw. Dianne was in tears out of concern for my well being.

After the second incident I did try to explain to this individual how difficult a time I had dealing with his comments. He proclaimed that it was never his intention to upset me, and I believe that. However, he apparently didn't get my message and I am absolutely unable, given my current state of mind, to raise the issue with him again. Nor am I willing to take on the risk of him upsetting me again in the future. No amount of train running is worth going through this again. That is why I have to leave the club.

Such is the nature of clinical depression. Skeptics would tell me to get over myself and stop being a suck. I have tried desperately to do that. It just doesn't work. The drugs that normally keep me in an upbeat state of mind don't work when things get this bad.

I hope that my openness will help some people to understand mental illness who were previously dismissive of it.

I'm not sure if I am going to stay in the hobby. I have approached a person who buys collections to see what I can get for the bulk of my stuff. I will keep certain items that are important to me.

Thank you for listening. I apologise to everyone for having to bring this thread to a close.

Regards,

Dave

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Posted by davidmurray on Saturday, January 11, 2020 7:09 PM

Dave:

Sorry to hear this.  Your health is more important than anything a club could do for you.

Stay happy, and think some about staying in the hobby.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by hon30critter on Saturday, January 11, 2020 7:21 PM

Thanks Dave

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, January 11, 2020 7:56 PM

Wow I am sorry Dave.

I've only belonged to three clubs.  The first was a scuba diving club in my teens and 20's.  No complaints, moving and work killed the hobby. 

Next was a club mentioned in the 1st 2 amendment, in the Bill of Rights.  There were some fabulous veterans from WW2 and Korea and there was a click of people that controled the club.  The last meeting I attended was several years before I quit, but not that long ago.  Many were smoking while a couple members had oxygen generators or amputations related to diabetes.

I belong to a motorcycle club and to quote someone you might know, everything is perfect.

I looked at famous local model railroad club.  Several guys were standing bulling around and 2 guy were running trains over what seemed like dirty track.  I did not go back.

One of my best friends from the motorcycle club was leading a tour in his native South Africa and stuck his front wheel in the sand and broke his neck.  A second friend drove from Florida to Alaska and back, then totaled his bike.  I am done with motorcycles but not the club or it's members

While I don't belong to a MR club, the loss of a club would not drive me out of the hobby

 

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, January 11, 2020 8:31 PM

Dave, so sorry this has not turned out to be a good experiance.

I have never been much of a joiner, as I explained early in this thread......

I belonged to one model railroad club when I was younger, from age 16 until I was about 25. It was fine, I learned a lot, but had to decide how my time was best spent.

Much later I belonged to a round robin group. A great group of guys, but again, time conflicts with work and family, and a feeling that my time was not always well spent lead me to stop participating.

It is a shame that civility is in such short supply in our culture these days.

I like people in small doses, and prefer one on one interaction rather than groups.

Once I get the new layout going, I will invite the round robin group for a visit or two, as well as other modeler friends, but regular commitments are not something I want at this point.

Good luck, best wishes no matter what you choose to do regarding the hobby.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by York1 on Saturday, January 11, 2020 9:51 PM

Sorry to hear this, Dave.

You have to do what is best for you, and please don't worry what others may think.

You have a lot of friends on this forum, and I hope you know they care for you.

John  --  Saints Fan  

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, January 11, 2020 10:02 PM

Dave, it's disappointing that it has come to this after you've put so much effort into it, but I would suggest that you not let this experience drive you completely from the hobby. 

Like Sheldon, I'm not much of a joiner, but I do enjoy getting together with like-minded friends, although not a whole bunch of them at one time.

A layout for yourself, and perhaps for a friend or two to visit occasionally, plus simply doing the modelling work that most layouts entail could be a good therapeutic option to settle yourself back to a better state of mind. 

You certainly have the talent, so don't let it go to waste.

Wayne

 

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