Club takes the fun out of it

J911 Sep 4, 2014

  1. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

    My only experiences with clubs are all out of my area. Years back I used to help the Great Falls club during their open house during state fair. This open house paid their rent for the year in the public school building on the fairgrounds. Many of the members didn't have a layout due to a lack of space, and the club layout was the only place they had to run their trains. The only restrictions they had was limiting trains to a certain length because many of them were still using horn hook couplers which weren't reliable with long trains.

    While traveling and visiting with outher out of state modelers I did have the opportunity to visit many club layouts. There were a few clubs where politics were a problem, but again I found that many members again didn't have a layout and the club layout was the only place they could run their trains.

    I never ran across an incident when members wouldn't share their knowledge or experience. A lot of the younger modelers were quite grateful for the help. Nobody ever starts off as an expert. I have been in model railroading for decades and I'm still learning from other modelers, and I am always more than willing to help someone out if I can.
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    It is usually one person who comes up with the idea. When I used the word "he", I meant it in a collective fashion. A reference to those who start a group or club. And I have seen it take root with as few as two people carrying the load.
  3. COverton

    COverton TrainBoard Member

    Late to this discussion, and I have only read this others. I have a policy of not belonging to organized groups. They tend to get stale very quickly as the leader(s) impose his/their vision and values on the members still willing to submit to, and to adopt, them as time goes on. Most of us are lone wolves anyway who like to run at our own pace and on our own track, not those of others.

    That said, there is a great deal to commend about clubs and other organizations. Pooled resources, commiseration, advice, help, and of course the social aspect if it is a cohesive group. As a psychologist, I know full well, though, that most groups suffer from a restriction of range in currency (keeping up with new methods, materials, and ideas), and from what is known as "social loafing" where a number of the membership sit back and let others do the heavy lifting, but they enjoy the results and will sometimes have the gall to claim an instrumental role.
  4. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    We have a local club. However, I have a layout in place. Summer we run twice a month (and at least one member here attends). My railroad, my rules, the guys usually bring their own locos and cabeese, as long as no Kadees or Kadee height they can pull my stock. This February, 21 years of doing it.
    I suppose the only thing that really drives me nutzoid is when we spend the time to maintain it, get everything set out for ops, and folks sit in the shop and don't run.
    I guess I'm one of those grumpy old one-man shows, right?

    I did this primarily as I knew folks in the club needed a place to go and run, and it has worked out well.

    I don't like clubs. I recall reading once someone would never consider joining a club that would have them. Politics usually take over at some point when you have lots of occifers (sp), and I've dropped out of several due to that.
    I find some I just have membership into have it, don't do meetings, stay away from politics.
    Makes life easier and blood pressure more stable.
  5. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

    I remember this from a Woody Allen movie.
  6. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Could be. Never watched any of his movies.
  7. WPZephyrFan

    WPZephyrFan TrainBoard Member

    And then there was Groucho Marx: "I outta join a club and beat you over the head with it."
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    His humor certainly still holds up well.
  9. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    I showed my posts to Laura, (my wife). She said I could start a club as soon as the living / diningroom were cleaned up. She added that it would be a bonus if they played spades or scrabble. Hmmmm
  10. traingeekboy

    traingeekboy TrainBoard Member

    I have thought about wanting to be in a One Track Club. I've seen a lot of N-track layouts at shows and they get boring to watch for me. But a single mainline and some operation on get togethers would be fun. Also, one could build at home and just do their own thing so long as the modules mated properly.

    In my area there is also the boulder model railroad club. I've seen their modules at shows. The thing I noticed fairly quickly was that they had a huge age spread as well as girls in their club. The younger members were very excited to be at a show. It was the most happy and energetic group I had ever seen at a train show. If they weren't a 45 minute drive on busy highway from me, I would join their club.

    Their site with module specs:

    This line under the titles, "This is a guide book, not a rule book." It pretty much sums up my idea of an ideal club environment.

    Years ago I was at a train show in Denver and there was a HO modular group who had a fairly large and elaborate set up. The thing is, one of their members had brought a very modern european train with pantographs on the loco. (their layout was US prototype without overhead wire.) So what did they do? They did the obvious thing and just let the guy run his train. He didn't just run his train either. He ran it at about 300 scale miles per hour. Which may not be scale speed, but it gives the proper effect when experiencing high speed european trains. I wasn't into european trains back then, but the fact that it was something different at the show made me stay and wait for the train to lap the layout several times just so I could see it.

    Perhaps a club should have prototype operations night when everything goes by the book, as well as bring your odd train regardless of whether it meets NMRA standards and run it night. It's just so easy to be inclusive with these things.
  11. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    I've been thinking of joining a half zero club for a I can run my analog Varney steamers and cars with Mantua couplers and drive them all nutzoid!
  12. virtual-bird

    virtual-bird TrainBoard Member

    One issue I have found with most clubs, is the age thing... out of the 3 train clubs I have been in the majority of members with the *control* are over 60-70yrs old retirees with more time to spare than I'll dream of..
    If your club is like that, wait for them to die out and then change will come about.

    Luckily the latest club I'm in (I've rejoined recently after leaving in 07 when they started arguing about building this new layout that still isn't 1/2 finished due to arguing!!) has gone DCC.. the issue for many is that their locos aren't upgradeable to DCC without major surgery that the fossils are not capable of undertaking.. and at 70yrs old good luck affording to upgrade 40-100 locos @$40ea to DCC.
  13. J911

    J911 TrainBoard Member

    Yep! Everyones ancient, love to hear themselves talk! LOL
  14. Candy_Streeter

    Candy_Streeter TrainBoard Member

    YES!!! .... and it's not that expensive to convert.
  15. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

    Depends on what you mean by not that expensive.
    Can be a real sticker shock in some scale/gauges.
    When you end up ripping out thousands of dollars of brass track and installing tens of thousands in stainless. And boosters. And wiring.
    Not pretty.
    We're not even talking decoders yet.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2014
  16. retsignalmtr

    retsignalmtr TrainBoard Member

    When I installed DCC on my clubs three layouts (two permanent layouts and one modular show layout) I wired them to allow running either DCC or DC to accommodate ALL the members of the club. And nobody has to run their locos on address 00. The older members know that for the club to survive they have to adapt and realize the younger members will keep the club alive and then they will become the old farts. I drive 45 miles one way to the club,
  17. Mr. SP

    Mr. SP Passed away August 5, 2016 In Memoriam

    In April of 1985 the Longview Kelso & Raiinier MRRC was formed by Jim Davis, Don Stanton and myself. The club is still going strong. There are now sixteen members. Don Stanton passed away some years ago and Jim Davis left the club about 1990 leaving me as the last of the original three. Our club has by-laws and elected officers. There is also standrds that ALL equipment has to be built to. This is for compatability and reliability regards operations. We routinely run long trains on the club's portable railroad.
    If something doesn't meet standards it isn't allowed on teh railroad.
    The club is a laid-back club and we all get along well.
    I'm now a life member of the LK&R. A life membership can't be bought. It's awarded by the membership to someone who has done things for the club beyone teh call of duty as it were.

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