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Swapping Guest Passes to Visit Layout

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Swapping Guest Passes to Visit Layout
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, February 09, 2019 5:16 PM

I'm copying a couple of quotes from the Layout Visit Etiquette thread so that this discussion doesn't clog up that thread.

SeeYou190

Personalized passes for your layout used to be a great part of the hobby.

SeeYou190

Yes, the passes are just slightly smaller than 2.5 by 4. This is larger than a business card. I went through my collection of old passes, and there is a little variety to the sizes. I went with the most common size.

I had never heard of this aspect of our hobby until just a few days ago.

What was the purpose of giving out (and receiving) these personalized passes? Was it an actual invitation to visit the layout, or was it just a pro-forma excercise?

I got excited about the idea of making up some passes as just another part of the official livery of my multi-fictional layout to kinda flesh out the back story and current state of affairs. My plan was to send a pass to other modelers I know in the vicinity as a way to let them know that my layout is far enough along so that there is a minimal something for them to see if they came over. Keep in mind that I live in a very sparsely populated state, and some of these modelers 'in the vicinity' are two- or three hundred miles away, so a quick trip and visit is a full day affair.

And I thought that I'd bring along a few passes of my own making when I go visit clubs in the vicinity and pass them out to club members and guests whenever the situation arises. I would certainly like to offer a pass to the proprietor of any private layout I might visit. That seems only courteous.

But I also got to thinking about SeeYou190's comments regarding passes and how they might work in the modern electronic community. I can see that I might make a bulletin board or something to pin up the passes I receive, and I'd be very proud to have one of my passes on another's board.

So, any info or suggestions how this used to work or how it might work today?

Thanks.

Robert

 

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Posted by BigDaddy on Saturday, February 09, 2019 5:58 PM

I didn't know it "used to be" a great part of the hobby either.  Without arguing that point, it's a gimmick and I don't mean to imply anything bad with that word.

There was a thread a couple years ago about presenting stock certificates to visitors.   It's unexpectedly cute.  Having been presented with a stock certificate, you don't get to take home the brass engine of your choice.

There were prototype railroad passes and that's what MR passes are mimicking.   In the other thread, I commented on how many passes I saw on Ebay were for Jay Gould.  Today, I'm not seeing those, but the ones I do see, on a very brief search, seem to be issued to retirees, and employees who had reason to travel the rails for the purpose of railroad business.  There are also passes for engineers and conductors, so it was a job perk for at least some of the railroad employees, perhaps all.

I'm sure the owner could give passes to whomever he wanted. 

Henry

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By the Chesapeake Bay

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Posted by cuyama on Saturday, February 09, 2019 6:31 PM

These didn't imply an invitation nor require a visit back in the day. They were just swapped between modelers, usually by mailing their own along with a SSAE to receive one in return. The NMRA had a pass exchange program that closed down some years ago. I think there may have been listings in the major magazines as well.

Old, but somewhat relevant forum threads.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/19898.aspx

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/50721.aspx

In a day before desktop publishing, there were printers who would print these as a paid service.

Some of what's being discussed in the other thread doesn't seem to be in the friendly spirit of the Pass Exchange of the past. 

Google search string

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, February 09, 2019 6:43 PM

I got into my Private Roadname in the early 1980s. This was right at the point where fictional railroads were dying out, and prototype modeling was becoming the standard way of doing things.

.

We "private pikers" used to exchange passes and decals by mail. It was fun, but no one ever contacted me with a pass and asked to see my layout, and I never did either.

.

I would bet in the 1940s and 1950s passes really were invitations, now they are an oddball novelty. I still give mine out, but it has been well past a decade since I got one in return.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by Harrison on Saturday, February 09, 2019 7:49 PM

SeeYou190

 

I still give mine out, but it has been well past a decade since I got one in return.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Don't worry, if I make any for my railroad(D&H), I will send you one.Wink

Harrison

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:05 PM

Back in the mid to late 70's, I exchanged passes with a number of modelers, some with very famous well published layouts. 

I printed my first batch of passes in high school print shop, two color process on an electric platen press. I was one of only a few students who demonstrated enough skill to use the two motor driven ones in class.

Anyway, that was for a different fictional roadname before the ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

I used the NMRA pass exchange list mentioned above.

Printing some passes is still on my to-do list for the ATLANTIC CENTRAL.

When I get more settled in, I will find the passes and possibly share some of them on here.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, February 09, 2019 8:35 PM

In CB radio circles there were QSL cards. These were post-card sized with the CBer's "Handle" and call letters. Some folks made a sub-hobby of collecting these. Same way people used to put decals on the windows of their cars of all the states they used to visit. Remember that? I still have some decals, all crackled, from various "tourist traps".

BigDaddy
There are also passes for engineers and conductors, so it was a job perk for at least some of the railroad employees, perhaps all.

It wasn't all perks, often times crews had to deadhead on passenger trains. The pass made it nice not to have to pay a fare. Also, many clerks, sales agents and other employees had to use the company trains in the discharge of their duties. A pass entitled them to transportation. 

 

We had passes for our Backyard & Lake Erie 1½" scale railroad. When I get a chance I'll scan them and post them here.

 

 Pass by Edmund, on Flickr

 I also printed these at school on our Chandler & Price letterpress.

The pass exchange was just one more way of social interaction back then.

Cheers, Ed

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Posted by PRR8259 on Saturday, February 09, 2019 9:54 PM

Wow, ok news to me.  One learns something every day.

I've been in this hobby for nearly 46 years and have never once heard of this until right now.

It's just not something I would ever do myself.  I would never dare to compare my layout to some, and personally prefer to keep the focus on the real railroads and history, not my very inferior version of them which will not last as long.

In those 46 years I have personally visited Howard Zane's amazing layout, Jeremy Plant's beautiful layout, and a grand total of 12 other privately owned layouts, including some that belonged to customers whom I had the privilege to wait on and help out through the years.  Some were large scale layouts.  Most were HO.

Most in this hobby I ever knew have been "lone wolf" modelers.  Maybe I am somewhat that way myself.  I think only about 3 other model railroaders have ever seen my current layout, though lots of "non-model railroad types" and kids have.  Since my layout is a continuous run mainline layout, designed to run long trains and keep them moving through mostly desert scenery, there just isn't that much for serious model railroaders to see...so I would be most reluctant to ever put in on even the local layout tour list.

There are days I feel fortunate to be running trains, while most I currently know, in person, in this hobby happen to be in the "accumulating" stage in the hopes of someday building a layout.  Some of them sadly never will build.

John

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Posted by drgwcs on Saturday, February 09, 2019 10:23 PM

cuyama

These didn't imply an invitation nor require a visit back in the day. They were just swapped between modelers, usually by mailing their own along with a SSAE to receive one in return. The NMRA had a pass exchange program that closed down some years ago. I think there may have been listings in the major magazines as well.

Old, but somewhat relevant forum threads.

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/19898.aspx

http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/88/t/50721.aspx

In a day before desktop publishing, there were printers who would print these as a paid service.

Some of what's being discussed in the other thread doesn't seem to be in the friendly spirit of the Pass Exchange of the past. 

Google search string

 

At one time the NMRA Bulletin had a whole column to exchange these. They were just a recreation of the real railroad passes that were issued. When Amtrak took over we lost those individual passenger lines and I think the idea of the passes faded from memory largely. For many railroads this was a thing of art but none more so that for the railroads of Otto Mears (The Rio Grande Southern and the Silverton railroads)- Solid silver passes- each one individual. Here is a page that has some for sale- get out a mortgage.....  http://www.mtgothictomes.com/colorado_silver_railroad_passes.htm

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, February 09, 2019 10:33 PM

PRR8259

Wow, ok news to me.  One learns something every day.

I've been in this hobby for nearly 46 years and have never once heard of this until right now.

It's just not something I would ever do myself.  I would never dare to compare my layout to some, and personally prefer to keep the focus on the real railroads and history, not my very inferior version of them which will not last as long.

In those 46 years I have personally visited Howard Zane's amazing layout, Jeremy Plant's beautiful layout, and a grand total of 12 other privately owned layouts, including some that belonged to customers whom I had the privilege to wait on and help out through the years.  Some were large scale layouts.  Most were HO.

Most in this hobby I ever knew have been "lone wolf" modelers.  Maybe I am somewhat that way myself.  I think only about 3 other model railroaders have ever seen my current layout, though lots of "non-model railroad types" and kids have.  Since my layout is a continuous run mainline layout, designed to run long trains and keep them moving through mostly desert scenery, there just isn't that much for serious model railroaders to see...so I would be most reluctant to ever put in on even the local layout tour list.

John

 

12 layouts? Total?

I'm far from the most social type in this hobby, and been at it just a little longer than you, but I have seen dozens and dozens of private layouts......

Current trends and your interests aside, freelance modeling was king in the 60's and 70's. 

OR, very "loose" prototype modeling.........

The information that we have today was simply not so readily available, some people wanted to actually build and run trains in this life time rather than do research on some obscure detail about a single locomotive.......

In case you missed it explained above, exchanging passes has/had nothing to do with actually visiting anyone's layout.

It was a long distance social activity long before computers and forums.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by rrinker on Saturday, February 09, 2019 10:37 PM

 Interesting. I guess you could say I've been in model railroading for 50 years since there is 8mm silent home movie footage of me running an HO train around the tree when I was 2, but the idea of passes are not new to me. Could be that besides the actual layout we had when I was a kid, I discovered some old magazones from the 50's, and it was mentioned in there. And along the way I picked up many of the older books. Probably mentioned somewhere in there. At some point, post college, I started collecting old issues, mostly of MR, which I built in to quite a collection by the time the old DVD archive was released, so only the very earliest stuff in there was new to me. I know I've been aware of the exchanging of passes thing for at least 30 years if not more.

                                        --Randy

 


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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, February 09, 2019 10:59 PM

rrinker

 Interesting. I guess you could say I've been in model railroading for 50 years since there is 8mm silent home movie footage of me running an HO train around the tree when I was 2, but the idea of passes are not new to me. Could be that besides the actual layout we had when I was a kid, I discovered some old magazones from the 50's, and it was mentioned in there. And along the way I picked up many of the older books. Probably mentioned somewhere in there. At some point, post college, I started collecting old issues, mostly of MR, which I built in to quite a collection by the time the old DVD archive was released, so only the very earliest stuff in there was new to me. I know I've been aware of the exchanging of passes thing for at least 30 years if not more.

                                        --Randy

 

 

For what it is worth, I count my years in the hobby from age 12 when my father allowed me full artistic control over the train layout he had built for me.

At that age I was already converting to Kadee couplers, building Athearn kits, belonged to a local youth model railroad club, and more.

In the next 3-4 years I started building simpler craftsman kits like Silver Streak and Mantua loco kits, worked in the local hobby shop where the owner taught me to do repairs, was accepted as one of the few junior members at the Severna Park Model Railroad Club where I learned to hand lay track and much more, built two different new layouts due to family moves, spent a summer in Harpers Ferry helping to build an HO diorama of John Brown's raid, and went to work in a different hobby shop where I managed the train department.

In the process of all that, I have met lots of great modelers, seen lots of great layouts, designed and helped build some layouts for friends, and learned a great deal about trains.

I'm not trying to brag here, I was very lucky to have this magical start into this great hobby. And there are many with more talent at this hobby than me. 

I'm just saying I was truely an active model railroader, with an MR subscription and a NMRA membership card by age 13...

And I printed my own passes and exchanged them with some well known adults who's layouts have been in the press...

So as I approach my 62nd birthday this May, let's just call it 50 years.....

And I am excited to be starting my newest layout by then.

And I find it amazing that our friend John has never heard of exchanging passes????

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Saturday, February 09, 2019 11:37 PM

I've been at this hobby only about 15 years, and I was already pretty old when I started. I guess I was a late bloomer.

I've visited a few private layouts (well, more than a few but less than a lot), and I don't recall hearing or seeing anything about these kind of passes. Some clubs give out or sell colorful embroidered patches that can be sewn on vests or denim shirts like so many campaign ribbons. Some have special limited-run club cars painted in club livery. Some have printed timetables that mimic 'real' ones. But that's about it; the sum total of my knowledge on this topic.

I hope some of y'all post some of the passes y'all've collected over the years. I saw quite a few when I click-clicked on cuyama's links (thanks Byron), but I'd like to see more. Interesting stuff.

Thanks.

Robert 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 12:45 AM

Wow the silver pass above is simply amazing!  And people go nuts over just Carson City mint silver dollars!

Sheldon--

Well, ok, I re-counted, but it's still Howard's layout plus 15 others total.  Some of them were great guys but are sadly no longer with us.

I have other hobbies and other friends more into those particular things than trains.  That may be part of it.

In the area where I live model railroaders are also rather few and far between.

John

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Sunday, February 10, 2019 2:15 PM

    I have made my own passes using business cards which I print at home. I hand them out at train shows. I also have made an electronic version and incorporated it into my website. Near the bottom of each page are links to the next page. If you follow the links in order you get a virtual tour of my layout from the west to the east.
    Back in the early days of the internet, B.G. (before google) websites would have a hot links page where they would post links to similar sites. Sometimes these links were text links but many times the links were banner links meaning that they included an image to click on to go to the linked website. I would use my electronic rail pass as my banner.

LWSF Electronic Rail Pass

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 4:33 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
I count my years in the hobby from age 12 when my father allowed me full artistic control over the train layout he had built for me. At that age I was already converting to Kadee couplers

.

Interesting note Sheldon.

.

If we count our years in the "hobby" from when we started converting equipment to Kadee couplers... I guess I was 14, and that would give me 37 years in the hobby.

.

-Kevin

.

Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by PRR8259 on Sunday, February 10, 2019 9:27 PM

I count the years from age 5 when I received my first train set.  Within just a couple years, we actually were among the earlier users of Kadee couplers on some of our trains, just not all.

John

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