Do You Belong to a Model Railroad Club?

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#21
these winter months have given me more time to participate in model rr activities.Am member of nmra and got a little bit of experiance with a module groop. I am also in process of joining a perminent layout club. What I am finding is there are a lot of good people in this hobby. When I got/get out of my cellar layout I learn soooomuch from others. Now i'm getting into operations and learning that aspect of the hobby also. FWIW..here is what i have learned!!! I did not know anyone at either club so I just started showing up and have been welcomed.On other hand ,(there is always anoter hand)there are people who are not very talkitive and there are still some "Rivet counters" in the hobby, but people still want to have FUN!
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
#22
On other hand ,(there is always anoter hand)there are people who are not very talkitive and there are still some "Rivet counters" in the hobby, but people still want to have FUN!
There will always be rivet counters, to them that is the fun! There has to be someone out there constantly raising the bar on both knowledge and quality of models. Likewise there are always the chatty type and the reserved type. That's just people.
 

Beady

Active Member
#23
There will always be rivet counters, to them that is the fun! There has to be someone out there constantly raising the bar on both knowledge and quality of models. Likewise there are always the chatty type and the reserved type. That's just people.
I wouldn't worry until/unless they start to insist that you should be a rivet - counter, too.

This signature is intended to irritate people.
 
#24
I am the last remaining founding member of our local club. I've been roped into being an officer throughout our 36 year history. I've put in more than 25 years as president off and on, and currently the president again. We started the club in 1981 in the second story of a downtown building in Greenville, Ohio. We had a video of the layout on Photobusted, but that's not available anymore. We have operating sessions every second Sunday with at least 3-5 non-members participating, plus the usual members.

We use the Digitrax system with both radio and tethered throttles. Our layout is about 16 x 60' plus a back room for dispatching and a staging area. We also have a train show/flea market the 1st Sunday in March. Good bunch of guys and we get along great for the most part.

Joe
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
#25
I have to correct my statement on the first page of this subject. I am now a member of the Livingston Model Railroad Club located in the basement of the old Northern Pacific depot in Livingston, MT. I was not aware of the club until recently. They do use Digitrax. Being a DC operator, I do have to borrow a throttle. They have a couple of spare wireless throttles available. I had one DCC steamer which I use there and even picked up an Alco RS-1 with DCC just to run at the club. The scenery is well done and the back drops very closely follow the local scenery in this part of Montana. Unfortunately for me it is a bit of a trip over to Livingston over Bozeman Pass which could be difficult in the winter months. Around a 50 mile trip one way. A nice informal group of folks there. We have had up to a dozen trains running at one time during the nights that I have operated there during their Saturday open house.

 
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#26
My 2 cents worth - for what they are, frankly around here they are a bit secretive. I was out chasing one afternoon and one of the guys there said he had to go someplace, not sure where but it turned out to be the local club. Wouldn't take me along, or introduce me to the thing either. WHY?

Not only that but i never knew where they would meet until I was changing locks in the building, and there in the basement was their old club room. All painted up with their logo and name! -- Found out where they are now, but cannot crack the code of silence. Perhaps one need to be "asked" kind of like a fraternity.

Ya well, I have my own club down here in the office. Greg knows me -- so ... you have a pass, so come on over Greg!

The Aerojet
 
#27
I'm a member of The British Model Railway Club of Montreal. Obviously being a British railway oriented club in the largest French speaking city outside of France in a place were there has historically been a large amount of animosity against the English has its challenges in getting members. So we are only a club of 9, I think historically the largest the membership has ever been was 13. Anyways, I've been a member for 15 years , we meet every Sunday...I get to about 50% of the meetings.
 
#28
I haven't really seen the value so far. If the local HO club hadn't disbanded I possibly would join. There is a club 2 hours away that I would like to join with a nice layout. I don't think my schedule would happen to sync with their operating sessions. Time is my biggest concern and secondary is money/gas. Most clubs seem to have meetings when I already have plans.


Modeling the roaring 20's
President of the Lancaster Central Railroad
President of the Western Maryland Railway
 
#29
I used to belong to a club back when I liked in MA, but there are no clubs near me now that I moved to Cleveland Heights, OH. Oh well, all my stuff is in storage until me and my girlfriend can get a house.
 
#30
We have three (maybe more) clubs-with-layouts within an hour's drive. One is centered on its annual show, one is coasting on a layout built by now-gone members, and the third is focused on monthly operating sessions. All have their own level of internal politicking, but the one with the op sessions seems to have the least. I've been there for seven or eight years now. Dues are $15 a month, the layout is 30x60, with finished track but a lot of scenery and structures to come. Work sessions are twice a week, but no more than a dozen of the 30 members turn up -- even that is a higher level of participation for a club. I'm thinking about cutting back there and building at home.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#31
I was a member of a local club, for about a month. Had a similar experience to aerojet. Each time I turned up I was, more or less, made to stand in the corner and was rarely spoken to by anyone. At the time they were doing the scenery and wanted someone to do it. I offered and was pretty much ignored.

I put up with it for a month and finally said to hell with it - this isn't why I am in the hobby. Ironically the "club" was located directly opposite my favorite (and only) watering hole. Was in there the week after I decided to quit and was asked why I wasn't over playing with trains. Told the person the reason and their only response was ...

"do you drive a new Merc or Beamer?"

I said no. They only smiled and nodded.

So now I have my own "club", and it's called "wombats layout". A club where anyone is welcome, regardless of what they drive :)
 
#32
yes I am a member of a local club! Also the NMRA regional Div. and have a home layout.... there are some really nice clubs around Mass and new england. I just started to participate on ops. All been good......Perhaps if we had some sort of list from people who would like to meet with other people in the hobby to get to know one another it could lead to something in their area as far as a group goes. For example I live in Mass....so list would have my name and general geography infor for other to contact....well my 2 cents
 
#33
I would like to join a club that has Operation Sessions or at least be able to watch a good operations system being used. Many of the clubs, like Chet's in Montana, are a longer drive for me and night driving is not fun.

I have to plan to visit Forum Member Aerojet's layout before my pass expires.

Greg
 
#34
I belong to a club that is focused on operations, and am kind of amazed at some of our members & applicants -- can't tell a box car from a reefer, have no idea about how and why trains run, aren't active model builders, say the current magazines "don't have anything that interests me" etc etc etc
Some hang around until they're voted in and then do a fade-out.
Why do they want to join a model rr club? Why should we accept someone too lazy to do a little learning on their own? Are they just looking for a warm place to get out of the house for a while? Some guys show up long enough to mine the membership for ideas for their own layouts. We really aren't snobs, but we do have a facility-imposed limit on the number of members, and more applications than places.
 

wombat457

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#35
Perhaps some want to join to get a feel for the hobby before they commit time money and effort. Shunning them because of limited or no knowledge is giving them a completely wrong idea of the general hobby community. Perhaps those who leave after a short amount of time may not have done so had they been made to feel welcome and encouraged to learn and participate.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#36
but we do have a facility-imposed limit on the number of members, and more applications than places.
I must admit, that's the first time I've heard of a "facility imposed limit on the number of members" a club can have, but I guess if the club is renting it's space, or other owner restrictions e.g. parking, it could happen. Would make it hard then to have to be selective. Maybe the club needs some sort of questionaire, that outlines and explains those reasons for the club's selection process, to any prospective new member and asks a few pertinent questions of the prospect as to why they wan't to join, what they're hoping for from their membership, why are they interested in trains as a hobby and in the manner in which the layout operates.
 
#37
They aren't being shunned. They're learning about scenery, wiring, etc. But you have to wonder what got them in the door. One guy did say "I didn't know it would be so much work ... " There are other clubs in the area who report the same things. It is a little surprising how long it can take to absorb the idea of prototype operations, and our system is pretty friendly and low-key.
 

tootnkumin

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#38
They aren't being shunned. They're learning about scenery, wiring, etc. But you have to wonder what got them in the door. One guy did say "I didn't know it would be so much work ... " There are other clubs in the area who report the same things. It is a little surprising how long it can take to absorb the idea of prototype operations, and our system is pretty friendly and low-key.
I wasn't suggesting that they were being shunned, I know it's a somewhat delicate process to determine who might and who might not fit in with the constraints you have. If this membership number restriction is something that is placed upon the club from external sources, then any new prospects need to be aware of this up front. Apolgise for it if necessary, so they know it's not just abitrary on someone's opinion of whether they like them personally. When someone say's "I didn't know it would be so much work", but doesn't follow up with, "But it looks like a lot of fun, hope I can join soon", their interest is probably going to be shortlived. It's a shame that circumstances force your club to have to be like a business looking for suitable employees, but some streamlining, tactfully, of the joining process, could be in order. There's a lot of people looking for something to enjoy, but model RRd'ing is not always the one. Why, in your case, a short questionaire on what they think is their reason for wanting to join, what are they hoping for from the experience. That way, the club is showing it is interested in making sure they, as a member, will get out of it what will satisfy them.
 
#39
I'm not in a model railway club and never have been. In any case, as my collection is all 3 rail, if I were a member of a club, I wouldn't be able to bring along any of my locomotives or rolling stock, as they would short circuit everything.....

Nothing to do with trains, but I have been a member of a one-make car club for 14 years and, for the last 10 years I have been editor of their monthly magazine and been on the club's committee.
 
#40
"I wouldn't be able to bring along any of my locomotives or rolling stock, as they would short circuit everything..... "

That seems to be the purpose of many clubs -- a social center where fans can bring their own trains to run. My uncle's club in Florida had a long-standing low key competition on carrying cases.

Are there many clubs out there with specific focuses beyond providing scenicked track? Historical recreations, scheduled operations, etc.? It seems like it takes the focused vision of one person to build this sort of railroad.
 



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