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Layout Visit Etiquette

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Layout Visit Etiquette
Posted by GP-9_Man11786 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:51 AM

When visiting someone else's layout there's definitely some implied etiquette rules we all follow. Most of them are common sense. I thought we could list them here. What are your etiquette rules for layout visits and operating sessions?

1. Keep negative comments about the layouts to yourself.

2. If you break something, own up to it. I personally won't be happy you broke something but I'll be a lot less upset if you tell me about it.

3. This is a big one these days. If you take photos, get the owner's permission before posting them on social media. Personally, I'm okay people posting photos of my layout on Facebook, but not everyone else feels that way.

4. Get the owner's permission before bringing your child. If you do bring a child, make sure they are well-behaved be prepared to leave if they aren't.

5. If there's a guestbook, sign it.

 

 

 

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad in N Scale.

www.prr-nscale.blogspot.com 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:14 AM

I always ask before even taking photos, and leave my camera in my pocket if the answer is no.

No food or drink, and try to keep your hands clean.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:05 AM

Don't touch ANYTHING without asking first.  Better to just keep your hands in your pocket.

Don't go anywhere without asking first--around the back there, under this.....

 

Ed

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Posted by nealknows on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:08 AM

I would add not to touch the trains or buildings unless permission is granted. You have no idea how many people like to touch things. I have a sign posted that reads:

PLEASE DON'T TOUCH THE TRAINS. IF YOU NEED TO TOUCH SOMETHING, GO TO A PETTING ZOO!

Neal

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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:12 AM

7j43k
Don't touch ANYTHING without asking first.  Better to just keep your hands in your pocket.

Good advice! One of our club members was visiting a very nicely done layout not too long ago and he decided to see how sturdy the scenery was. So, he gave it a poke with his finger. His finger went right through, leaving a very noticable hole!DunceGrumpy

Dave

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:18 AM
  • Don't monopolize the host's time -- particularly with "show-offy" questions -- when other guests also want to ask questions.
  • Try to keep thievery to acceptable limits.

Bill McClanahan once told of a visitor who picked up one of his passenger cars, scratched at it with a finger nail, and said "oh you put your paint on really thin don't you?"

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by bearman on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:25 AM

I have operated on Ron Mei's Sunset Route layout.  He was very polite.  Told us that if something went wrong, a dropped loco, for example, to inform him.  He is a very polite host.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:29 AM

When I visit a layout I'm to engross at looking at the layout for any industry ideas I might be able to ste--er,ah,borrow.

The majority-well at least 90% - of the layouts I have visited the owners knows how I like to take in the details and scenes so,seeing me slightly bent forward with my hands behind my back doesn't make them think I'm Mr.McGoo.

At two of the basement empires there was a coat rack to hang your coat or jacket..A very nice touch.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by hon30critter on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:29 AM

dknelson
Try to keep thievery to acceptable limits.

LaughLaughLaughLaughLaugh

Thanks,

Dave

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Posted by HO-Velo on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:38 AM

7j43k
Don't touch ANYTHING without asking first.

Don't touch is a biggie and what I find surprising is that adults are the worst offenders.

Regards,  Peter

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Posted by Graham Line on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:58 AM

One local club had signs up that said "Touch Only With Your Eyes."

Am reminded of a long-ago tour when a visitor's neck-strapped Pentax swung right through a coaling tower when the guy leaned over to look at something. Quietest room I've ever been in.

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Posted by Lone Wolf and Santa Fe on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 12:37 PM

Look with your eyes, not with your hands!
No food or drink and of course no smoking.
Don’t even pretend to want to knock stuff onto the floor.
Don’t put anything on the layout, it’s not a cup holder or a pen holder or anything else.
Don’t steal unless you want your hand chopped off.

Modeling a fictional version of California set in the 1990s Lone Wolf and Santa Fe Railroad
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Posted by MisterBeasley on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 3:01 PM

I saw this on a modular layout at a local train show.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 4:40 PM

I am very glad to be able to call Howard Zane a friend and an inspiration.

One day, a visitor used a coat to steal an expensive item off his layout...what it was is irrelevant in this discussion.  (I only say that because some have love or hate relationships with certain types of models, and those discussions have become...far too polarizing for me to participate).

Now he does not allow any jackets in the train room, at all.

Thought it is an important thing to note, since we are making practical rules here.

I would also add: do not lean on the scenery along the edge of a layout one is visiting.  I have done that in the past and have heard the dismaying crunch of the scenery giving way, slightly, beneath my arm or elbow.  Embarrassing, to be sure.

While it is practically impossible to vet all guests, it is highly desirable to know the guests one has at one's layout if there are expensive items loose about the room.

John  Mock

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Posted by Mark R. on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:04 PM

I've gotten this on a couple occasions .... people who come to see your layout and spend the entire time talking about THEIR layout and how THEY do things. If that's only where your interest lies, talking about yourself, stay at home on Facebook.

Mark.

¡ uʍop ǝpısdn sı ǝɹnʇɐuƃıs ʎɯ 'dlǝɥ

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Posted by Old Fat Robert on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:06 PM

John and Other Posters: If my "layout" had a calendar it would read somewhere in the 1940s - the actual calendar on my wall reads 2018. Social graces and norms have changed in those 78 years. Individuals and clubs that open their layouts up for public inspections and viewings will get the public of 2018. I am sorry to bring such a shadow to this thread but there is a risk taken when you do this open houses.

Old Fat Robert

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:32 PM

MisterBeasley

I saw this on a modular layout at a local train show.

I saw something similar to this at a club. It was a big apothecary jar or a gallon-size pickle jar or something filled with liquid and 15 or 20 various fingers and thumbs. No sign, no commentary, no warning or anything . . . just a big jar of stumpy fingers.

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by BNSF UP and others modeler on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 5:45 PM

Mine would be, even if you are a "professional" model railroader, don't get this idea that you are entitled to even the simple things like putting a derailed car back. What you should do is find the owner of the train and kindly inform him of the problem.

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 6:19 PM

Layout tours and Operating sessions: Two of my favorite parts of the hobby - both as a visitor and a host. It is worth noting that Layout tours and Operating sessions are different types of events.

 

At layout tours one follows all of the rules suggested here. Especially don’t touch layout surfaces or equipment. You are a guest of the layout owner and best behavior is always advised. I have hosted many tours and have had very few problems with visitors. Most are train guys and their friends who are interested in seeing the layout and know the rules well. We have a great time. For me, hosting tours is one of the highlights of the hobby.

 

OPs sessions are quite a bit different in that the visitor/operator will have to interact with the layout and equipment. The layout owner will generally outline the rules regarding re-railing equipment, food in the trainroom etc... I generally don’t invite operators to the layout that I don’t trust to be careful and respectful with the trains and layout infrastructure. No long sleeves or heavy coats to avoid dangling sleeves that will catch scenery items.

 

It is also important for the layout owner/designer to build the layout so that operators don’t have to reach over delicate scenery items in the course of regular operations. I put away fragile models that might get broken during a session that are not easy to repair. I have a series of trees at the front of the layout that are removable for OPs to make it easier for operators to reach trains in the scene.

 

Operations is another great aspect of the hobby I enjoy. Our group has been together for the past 18 years, so everyone knows the drill and we have fun.

 

Guy

see stuff at: the Willoughby Line Site

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Posted by Howard Zane on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:54 PM

Great topic...I now average around 1500 visitors per year, and other than a few thefts and even lessor number of butt heads....I love sharing the pike and fielding questions and comments. I can honestly say that 99.9% of visitors have been terrific on all counts. Occasionally I open the layout for groups of elementary school kids. I ask (insist) that all cell phone/devices remain upstairs. Give a kid a DCC throttle, and he/she is hooked....(at least to they become reaquainted with their device.)

At the top of the stairs is an old antique Russian stove which prior to kids arriving, I place some plastic novelty bones, and chorcoal powder under the stove...... "Now gather around kiddies.....any of you know what this is?...referring to the stove. Not yet, has one kid answered correctly, so I tell them that it is a Bulgarian kid cooker explaining that for centuries Bulgarians have cooked kids if they fondle adult toys. Almost everytime levity does the trick....well it is better than duck taping their hands together! (no insult meant for Bulgarians as just the name sounds neat)

Without visitors, what is the purpose of it all? Art literally has no meaning if it is not shared.

What I have done now to alleviate possible thefts is not allowing coats, boxes (including camera bags), and any kind of shopping bag. Actually not allowing coats or loose clothing is quite a bit easier on the scenery close to aisles. I do encourage photos and video, and I'm honored that folks want to shoot the pike.

HZ

Howard Zane
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Posted by 7j43k on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 7:59 PM

Howard Zane

 

Without visitors, what is the purpose of it all? Art literally has no meaning if it is not shared.

 

I like that.  Thanks, Howard.

 

Ed

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:11 PM

Most important rule:

.

DON'T ASK HOW MUCH IT COST!

.

It was very expensive, but it cost more in time than in dollars.

.

Back when I had the "Dream House" layout and the "Spare Bedroom" layout I would let visitors in to see them.

.

This is my experience:

.

Model Railroaders: Less than 10% are enjoyable visitors.

Other Hobbiests: About 50% are enjoyable visitors.

Non-Hobbiests: About 95% are enjoyable visitors.

.

I enjoy sharing. I love excitement when people see the layout. I don't care how many anachronisms, off-prototype anomolies, or picky errors you can find.

.

I especially don't want to hear about how your future fantasy non-existent layout is so much better than mine.

.

-Kevin

.

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

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Posted by Little Timmy on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:31 PM

I have visited many layout's over the year's. The other's here have given good "rule's " to follow ... but I go one step further. at the end of the " tour / operating session, I alway's give the host a custom lettered / painted car from the Demon's Hollow & Pacific. It's my way of saying "Thank you" for putting up with me, and my question's. ( I have even given a DH&P SD-9 ..... now EVERYBODY want's one ! ) 

Rust...... It's a good thing !

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 9:00 PM

Little Timmy
I alway's give the host a custom lettered / painted car from the Demon's Hollow & Pacific. It's my way of saying "Thank you"

.

I have the same practice.

.

There is STRATTON & GILLETTE equipment scattered hither, thither, and yon because of this tradition.

.

-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 Wednesday, April 25, 2018 10:43 PM

In my line of work, my coworkers actually have an interest in the model trains and can appreciate the work required to make them the art that they are. (For safety new models are shipped to my work address.)

So some of my coworkers could fall into the would-be or will-be model railroader category.  One guy wants to model a major eastern railroad complex truss bridge using 3D printed parts, and he has the cadd and bridge detailing skills to complete the task well, and we recently located a decent set of plans, thanks to folks on these forums.

Occasionally I take these coworkers to the better layouts (not mine) for a tour.

John

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Posted by bearman on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:34 PM

SeeYou190...I do not have a layout worthy of a "tour".  It is 60 foot mainline and approximately 55 sf total.  However, whenever non-hobbyiest friends visit, they always want to see the layout and are filled with questions about it.  I generally offer the basics of how it is operated and there are always questions about the materials used to construct the scenery.

When my club showed up at my house for our monthly meeting, they were also filled with questions about operations and scenery.  I took some special delight to point out some of the problems that had to be fixed or tweaked and we all got a good laugh out of it.  I have never had to answer the how much does it cost question.  The only time that issue has come up is when a friend sometimes comes over with her dog.  The first time I told her that I had gone to some expense with the layout and I would prefer that the dog not be allowed in my trian room.  She said she understood.

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:15 AM

Of course posting all of these rules and recommendations here are fine, but how to you get those sods who visit to follow them, I'd guess the majoriity of them don't read this forum.  Hmmm?  Preaching to the choir may not help much ... unless it just makes you feel better.  But feelings are no good if they don't change your experience.

There lies the rub.  I think you'd have to have an iron stomach to have lots of people come visit the layout.

 

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by marksrailroad on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:25 AM

The only other layout than mine that I come in contact with on a regular basis belongs to a friend which had me to build it for him some years ago. Now each time I go to visit him he wants me to do some kind of work on it...

As for other peoples layouts. I keep my hands to myself and just look them over and pay my respects. It's the non-model railroaders that you have to worry about.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:42 AM

marksrailroad

The only other layout than mine that I come in contact with on a regular basis belongs to a friend which had me to build it for him some years ago. Now each time I go to visit him he wants me to do some kind of work on it...

I used to know a guy in Indiana where I went to college who was building a very ambitious layout in his basement.  Last I heard, he had worn out his welcome with a number of club buddies who he depended on for making progress on the layout.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by bearman on Thursday, April 26, 2018 6:49 AM

Rio..if you have a layout big enough that the public, railroaders and non-railroaders alike, would be interested in touring it, then it is not impolite to have a sign at the entrance that lays out the basic rules in big block letters.  Other facilities, e.g. museums, certain retail stores etc. have sign with the necessary admonishments, why not a layout?

Bear "It's all about having fun."

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