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wahiba
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:cry:I have visited a number of shows recently and to be perfectly honest I was not impressed.:cry:

Too many layouts are now more models of scenery, building etc. with the actual railway playing second fiddle. End to end lines seam to be proliferating with one loco, if you are lucky, slowly moving. Maybe it is showing the contol wonders of the latest DCC chip, but I am afraid it bores the pants off me.

I also think I am not the only one because I think visitor numbers are down. I can actually get to see most layouts. With nothing running quite easy.

I seem to remember seeing layouts where there was always at least one train, if not two or more moving in front of the audience. Also as one dissapeared off one end another appeared from the other. Single line loops where all the trains follow each other seem to be in decline.

Not only round and round layouts but end to ends can be interesting. I remember one layout based on Swiss railways where a simple automatic sequence had a couple trains moving most of the time.

I rarely get my camera out and certainly do not bother taking the camcorder any more. What is the point, nothing is moving.

I came back from a show today and told my other half that it was another show where watching grass grow would be more exciting.  Again there seemed to be fewer people than in previous years. This trend has been going on for a while and I suspect people are not bothering anymore. I must admit i have only visited very local shows, not going further afield as I have done in the  past.

So if you enjoy model scenery shows, with trains occasionally appearing as part of the scenery then visit all the show.

Only good point for all organisers is the removal of the concession for over 60s at many shows now. As most attendees seem to be over 60 I have suggested a premium for this age group! The family tickets are a ggod idea, but from what i have seen recently youngsters are likely to be put off by the lack of movement of any trains.

From a presentation show point of view some of the best layouts have been made from three rail Hornby Dublo. No extra sound effects needed. The tinplate track produces enough from two or more continuously running trains.:pathead

Lets have more modeltrains and less model scenery.


toto
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From what I've seen and I'm new to this, I'd agree. People, especially the younger ones will vote with their feet. And when they are gone ......... You'll never win them back.

As I've said before, it needs to be more interesting and have something to excite and build in the imagination. Also, as far as the actual modelling goes and some of the reference materials go, we need new pioneers to take things forward. Get rid of some of the wooden tops of yesteryear. No wonder the hobby doesn't go forward in terms of reputation or glamour.They'd send you to sleep. They are skilful, no denying that, but there must be people equally as skilful with the ability to enthuse and who at least have a bit of character and are able to convince you that they still have a pulse.

I think for the time being .......... Until the revolution .......... We are fighting a losing battle. Maybe a bit more direct confrontation at the shows with the operators. I'm not talking about slagging them off or abusive comments, just some face to face honesty. If enough people were giving out the same message ......... There and then ........ On the spot, maybe we would get our running trains.

Some serious changes required. Of course, all of us are in the position to influence. If you ever enter your layout in an exhibition. Don't just turn up ........ Put on a show.

Cheers

Toto

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Last edited on Sun Sep 27th, 2015 12:45 pm by Silver foxx

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Hi David,

Some random thoughts.

I've just got back from the local (Montréal) charity train show, held on 3 floors of an ex-high school located downtown.

There was a real mix of layouts, nearly all were operating trains continuously (shunting doesn't go down well here, tail chasers are the order of the day, mostly freight although there were 2 layouts with passenger trains). Lots of families with young children turned up, and they had a chance to play trains on at least 6 layouts (that I counted). Everything from Brio wooden trains with a big table to build your own layout to an O-scale 3-rail Thomas/James/Henry with smoke and sound. Plus they had a room to themselves with a variety of building activities (Lego, etc.).

Several layouts were short-handed although they did their best to keep the trains running. The organizer quickly moved in and got them assistance from other layouts.

Plenty of individuals with a table doing demonstrations and showing that "it ain't that hard".

The scenery ranged from non-existent (wood/cork/track) through to a 3 season layout (winter/summer/fall - spring only lasts 2 weeks here so nobody bothers). 

So what standards should we expect when going to a show? If it's a big show (Warley, Alley Pally) then expect the best and accept no other. You've traveled far (in my case 3500 miles if I go) and paid a lot of money (as Mr. Cohen puts it - "financial inconvenience"). You want VIP treatment and continuous entertainment for 2 days. The layouts are for you to see, get those trains running! Complain to the show manager about the less than stellar layouts and demand a refund if it's that dreadful. If it's a local show in the local church hall enjoy the fun. Admission will be cheap, the tea plentiful and the exhibitors friendly and willing to discuss railway topics. Plus the used items are generally in better condition and reasonably priced. And usually for a good cause.

One thing I've observed over the years is that there are a fair number of show layouts around in the UK whose members look upon the occasion as an opportunity get free admission and to go shopping. The other members hide behind the backdrop and run the occasional train. Or not. Always worth inquiring "where are the trains?". You never know, the club member who should have brought the running stock may be stuck in a traffic jam a 100 miles away. If not, see above.

I'm not sure that all this effort we put into the scenery means anything at a show. People want to see trains running. One of the most popular layouts around here is a G-scale Lego set-up, no scenery. Keep the highly detailed scenery for the home layout, the club layout should be about running trains.

Not sure about keeping discounts for the oldies, it's a nice gesture but what's a $2.00 or a £1.00 difference? Where there should be a discount is for families and youngsters.

I was running trains for a day at a large trains show in Virginia recently (August). The layout is modular, members of the club bring their own modules, so getting the scenery reasonably uniform is a challenge for the organizer. Most of it is basic, even perfunctory. Twenty four 4-foot modules with double mainline tracks, plus spurs (sidings) for various industries, and a couple of passenger stations, it got interesting. There were at least 4 trains at any one time on the track (2 on the up, 2 on the down), so the public got entertained. Trains were controlled from outside the modules (radio DCC), and it was expected that anybody running a train would answer questions and explain what was going on. Plus youngsters capable of negative feedback (it's going to fast, slow down!) and high enough to see the track got the chance to run trains. And count the dinosaurs strategically located here and there. I did manage to go shopping for an hour in the afternoon.

It's a hobby, have fun! No Bill Shankly philosophy.*

Nigel

*"Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that."




toto
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Hi Silverfox,

I'm fifty next year so no spring chicken. I'm not on about age as such. The more mature modeller is probably where about 70% of our knowledge base lies. What I'm driving at is moving with the times and a bit of fresh blood in order to make the hobby more appealing to a younger audience. I think the hobby has had enough interest to sustain itself over the last generation or two but that is sadly slipping.

I think it really just needs bringing up to date in terms of promotion with the critical consideration being the target audience. I don't think the mature modeller needs to be enticed. Most have had the itch since their childhood days. However given what the hobby now competes with, I don't think the same promotional materials are powerful enough.

The exhibitions have their part to play and where the tickets are pointed towards and are substantially attended by the general public in order to fund them, the exhibitors should keep that in mind and give them something back for their money.

Apologies if my initial post came over as ageist in any way. It was not intended. I'm aware of the average age group throughout the hobby not just the forum and can't think of a quicker way to alienate myself than intentionally making insulting remarks. You must admit though some of the past materials still being pumped out today are a bit outdated. Some one ( regardless of age ) could make a fortune bringing some of these DVD's etc up to date, as although the techniques etc are still relevant, they could be more viewable.

Cheers

:thumbs

Gwiwer
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I'm not exactly a youngster either and am no veteran of shows as there are precious few around here other than a couple of big ones every year. At those some of the same layouts appear annually.

I can however state that I have visited shows in both the UK and Australia, ranging from local to national and including some specifically related to a club including internet groups such as this one.

I partially agree with the original post. There are some layouts where nothing is moving and where the scenery is the main display. In some cases that is clearly intended to be the case.

When I first operated a model at a public exhibition back in the 1970s that had a clear message displayed towards the operator stating that "The public have paid to see trains MOVING - ensure at least one train is visible at all times and at least one is MOVING".

That was easy enough on a layout which had a two-track main line with a loop and a siding. You kept one train stopped in the station while another ran laps of the opposite track. Then you swapped them over.

I recently had the chance to exhibit my own work in the UK and for this I was a sole operator of a single-track circuit layout which has a loop and sidings. One train was almost always moving, and one was always in view from the public side, even when I was away for refreshment or toilet breaks leaving things to chance.

There are many styles of layout some of which don't lend themselves to continuous operation. A shunting plank can usually have something moving but something like St. Mawgan, a very effective yet extremely simple single-track (no points, no sidings, literally just a single track), cannot have something moving all the time. One train arrives, waits and departs hence it came before repeating that move. The scenery is as much a part of the display as the train.

End-to-end layouts have gained popularity because, I believe, they are quicker, easier and cheaper for the one-man band or a few people to build and operate. Spectacular layouts such as the Gresley Beat or Black Country Blues take teams / clubs and require significant logistics to move to and from shows. Gresley Beat apparently takes over an hour just to get all the rolling stock in place for example.

A large show aimed at a general audience should aim to have a number of large headline exhibits, perhaps just one or two, a range of smaller layouts and not overlook what one man can bring in the back of his car. Or in my case in his airline travel bag!

My home layout has been described as a model scene through which train happen to run. It wasn't begun with that in mind but the scenery is widely regarded as being as good as some on the exhibition circuit. I set out with no prior knowledge to do things which no-one had told me were difficult. And I succeeded. Not many layouts show substantial sea scenes for example.

The hobby in constantly changing and evolving. It is up to us to ensure that evolution is for the best by what ever means. A related but pertinent question might be "Are there now too many shows for the available exhibits and marketplace?"

Last edited on Sun Sep 27th, 2015 06:41 am by Gwiwer

Gary
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One thing I'll add to this (debate) is the amount of retailers at exhibitions. The exhibition I'll be attending next weekend has 91 stands. Out of that 91, there are only 25-26 layouts in total. Out of these layouts, over 30% of these have been at this event in the last 2-3 years. This seems to be an ongoing affair in Australia, as we also have a smaller population and probably not that many layouts to be exhibited. Out of all the layouts on show, the AMRA U-Drive layout and mine, will probably be the only 'hands on' layout there. If we want more people entering the hobby, we need to entice them, get them involved and not the usuall, "Please don't touch..." I know both kids and adults feel like they cannot ask questions in fear that they may look stupid, or for the fact that the operators are not interested in the paying public. It seems that exhibitions are just social events for the organisers and club members and the public are there to pay for them exhibiting there layouts.

I will also add that the retailers at these events 'mark up' there goods for sale, putting the humble trainset outside the reach of a 'new modeller', even in the second hand stalls the price is above average. I often get asked where I purchase my stock from and when I reply, "From the UK", I get the look and the talking down that I am doing their business harm....

Cheers, Gary.

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I'm fifty next year so no spring chicken

Hey Tom, if you ain't no spring chicken at 50, what am I at 81, an old boiler?

I think shows vary greatly, a lot depends on the show manager and others involved in the organisation.  A good manager will mainly book well known popular layouts with a few unknowns, if the unknowns prove to be good then spread the word to other managers, if lacking however then a few suggestions for improvement should be offered. The increase in traders may be to offset increased costs for exhibitors.

Asking the viewing public to vote for "best layout" (in each scale?) may provide some incentive to operators/owners.

wahiba
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Well I did not get lynched.

I like the term 'tail chasers' and must say that they are usually the most interesting at a show. At many shows there used to be the odd three rail Hornby Dublo layout that just ran.

My rant came about because in the last couple of months I went to four shows and the predominance of 'grass growers/paint dryers' seems to be overwhelming. At the last show I went to they were all like that.

I am not bothered about trade stands. I reckon the balance is about right. Sometimes there are real bargains

Also I have been to two shows this year that did have mainly tailchasing continuously running layouts. Both were for collectors of older trains. Those big gauge US models running around on three rail tinplate track take some beating. There is also a guy who has a couple of ovals running Hornby clockwork locos that have been converted to steam! Have not seen it for a while, but it certainly never lacks an audience, and most of the time two trains are running. Going down to N gauge I have seen layouts of US systems which is just one big loop winding through scenery with a number of trains tail chasing, kept apart by simple auto block switching. It can be done.

As for end to end layouts. I have tried two methods of auto running trains end to end. One reversed the polarity on the loco, the other of the supply. The latter using a 555 timer, circuit in the Babani book on 555 timers. For on board reversing a latching relay is needed. Only tried it on a meccano model so far but reckon it should work on 00. With train operated ponts a nice end to end with two trains running is easily possible.


Petermac
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I'm actually going to be the odd one out here .................:pedal:pedal

"Modelling", whatever the genre is, to me, creating a miniature version of the real thing.

In the real world, the scenery was there first, covering a massive area.  The railways cut a thin strip through this scenery en route from A to B.

Unless you are modelling either "A" or "B", then the scenery will dominate the scene.  If you are indeed modelling "A" or "B", then of course, the railway will dominate and one would expect to see plenty of train movements and shunting etc. depending on what type of location "A" or "B" is.

Modelling "trains" is not particularly difficult, especially with today's superb RTR offerings.  Modelling scenery is extremely difficult - if it is to look at all realistic.

Of course, at an exhibition, you do need to see trains moving - it's a "model railway" exhibition, not a "landscape" exhibition but, (IMHO) unless the scenery is of a high standard, the layout looks like something a child could have done.

Regarding speed - my major exhibition grouse is that trains run at a scale 300 mph.  Not acceptable !!!

If you stand almost anywhere on the railway network, you will see scenery and experience boredom punctuated by the occasional passing of a train.

I've seen some incredible dioramas where absolutely nothing ever moves but the level of skill is such that I could spend an age studying the detail built into it.

Regarding attendance - I'd love it if I were the only "anorac" there !!!  I could spend time looking at every layout that interested me rather than being crowded and jostled by the unwashed.  I've been to some "good" exhibitions that, for me, have been spoilt by the crowds.  I want to see model railways, not people !!!

Does that make me odd - or just "out of step" with you guys ?


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Hi Mike,

No danger. I've seen the ladies that flock around you on your away days and you ain't no old boiler. You also don't look 81 ( not that there is anything wrong with being 81 ). I'd say you are more of a state of the art " combi boiler " reliable and waiting to deliver in an instant.

:mutley hope you've had your pipe work checked for the oncoming winter.:thumbs

Cheers

Toto


Peter,

I don't think you are the odd man out. I think everyone likes to see quality scenics. It's the difference between just looking at it ........ And walking through it. I am also the same with regards to trains hammering around a layout. A sensible " scale like " speed is nice to look at. But ....... Just runs some trains and if your prototypical schedule only runs one train every half an hour .......... Bin it. You can play that card when running your own personal running session or club session , just not at an exhibition. It can still look realistic running to scale ( with the first class scenics ) but maybe just exaggerating the volume of traffic in order to entertain a bit.

Some of the best threads on this forum are such because of the amazing quality of the scenics. Marty, Gary, John Dew to name but a few And all an absolute joy to see.

Cheers

Toto

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I wasn't suggesting running trains to full scale timetables Toto - that would indeed be boring - some of the "branch line" layouts wouldn't see any movements at all on the Sunday of the show................:mutley 

Our "OO" gauge models are 1:76 scale so maybe a timetable running 76 times faster than the real thing might work ...............although thinking about it, that's way too fast.   :roll::roll::roll:

I can't remember what speed these "fast clocks" run at but that's what they're for - to speed up the real world for modelling purposes.  I think Max has one and I know Sol's operating sessions run to a timetable but I'm not sure if he uses a "fast clock".

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To add my two-pen'orth, I think it all depends on how big the exhibition is, and where it is.
In our limited experience we have only exhibited within Pembrokeshire/Cardiganshire, and at small venues. The layouts that we have shown have been 'Cardigan', 'Kilgerran', 'Cardigan and Kilgerran' together, and latterly 'Cardigan and Boncath' together. In all instances we have tried keep a bit of movement, but do it for the publics benefit - if someone wants to take a photo, we will stop a train - if they want to see cattle waggons, then they get cattle waggons! The sidings and fiddle yard are on view, and if someone wants to see a particular engine run - we oblige - the show is for them, not us.

Probably because we have modelled the area as it actually was, there is more interest in the scenics, but people always want to know how trees were made, how was that house constructed, was that fence really there. If a train is stuck in the station while we answer queries, no one seems to mind.
And if there is a sticky point, people get a kick out of helping. It's fun, everyone enjoys it, and we get satisfaction from seeing our work appreciated.

I think we will stick to our little local exhibitions, they sound a lot less stressful and angst ridden than the big semi-professional shows.
Save the big shows for the rivet counters and time-table addicts.

Hope I've not offended!

Shaun.

Last edited on Sun Sep 27th, 2015 11:02 pm by gastwo

toto
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Sounds like my kind of show Shaun. Plenty going on and loads of ad hoc chopping and changing to please the audience.

Much more interesting.:thumbs

Cheers

Toto

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This topic is interesting as it brings out peoples' preferences in what they'd like 'exhibition layouts' to be. It would seem that a preference between the balance of 'model railway' and 'train set' is tilting towards the little boys in us all for trains rattling around a layout. Fair enough, I'm aware that a public exhibition should demonstrate the skills of the true modeller, but also entertain with a busy timetable.

The important aspect however, for a really good model railway exhibition (IMHO), is to offer a broad appeal for all ages, types and skills of modeller. I for instance, would like to see a carefully crafted track bed, railway property, attention to detail, as well as correct rolling stock, architecture, road vehicles, clothing and technology appropriate to the period and location being modelled. However, I would also expect a few more 'specials' to be run in an exhibition timetable, as well as someone on hand to answer questions and help explain the story behind what has been modelled, but that's just me.

As I suggested, a successful show will need to offer something for all of its visitors and frankly, it's a neat trick when it can be done. I'm looking forward to he Cheltenham show on the 24/25 Oct to see how well the organisers do, although the appearance of 'Much Murkle' will make it a sure-fire success for a GWR enthusiast like me!

All to our own, but tolerance for others :thumbs

Cheers m'dears,

Bill :)

 

 

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The "fast clock" runs at twelve times normal speed for OO/HO.

Peter's views match mine in that I wold prefer to see trains running at something like scale speeds (an honourable mention here to Poynton Sneer) and I agree that those trains might be running through open countryside, suburbia, an industrial scene or may be almost confined to station / depot limits. Each to their own.

What doesn't "do it" for me is layouts at an exhibition which feature large flat areas of grass mat with RtP fences perhaps because the modeller(s) haven't had the inspiration or maybe time to do justice to the landscape through which their trains run.

Peter says correctly that the railway came last to the landscape and cut through what ever was there before, rather than everything being fitted around it. I'm afraid a number of layouts I have seen exhibited don't make it appear that way - more that the scenery (such as is there) has been very much an afterthought.

It's time-consuming and can be costly to present stunning scenery. But the satisfaction in achieving it must be immense. Tetley's Mills will probably stand for all my days as a shining example of how to do it and do it well.

Bill
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I agree I waited almost 5 minutes at 2 layouts to run something while the club members just stood around chatting.I don't understand why they act in this way.If they can't be bothered they should turn down any invites to attend and make for layout owners who actually want to exhibit  their pride and joy.
Bill

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This is my opinion and mine alone, I would not for one second decry anyones idea of what a model railway should be nor insult anothers standard of modelling, and over the years attending a lot of shows I have seen some horrors, but I have always found some part of a layout or stock that I can enjoy, that being said my personal preference is for a railway running through the scenery, and that scenery to be original and authentic, it must-to me-look like the real thing, I know I will upset some folk out there, but I do not like Metcalfe model buildings, just my thing sorry but I especially do not like to see them on an exhibition layout, as I feel it makes one layout look the same as the next, card modelling using down loads such as Scalescenes is light years away though and some of the models I have seen done on this site, as well as some of the scratch builds in card are amazing and to me that is modelling of the finest order. I hope I have not upset too many, railway modelling is a broad church and its followers can at times have tunnel vision, I am guilty of it myself, so I hope we can see the best in all our different methods of achieving our goals, but except we will not please everyone.


Cheers for now, Pete.      

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I have just been to a small show on this weekend (14/15 Nov) at Colne in Lancashire. Only a small show but very friendly, and the layouts have running trains!!!!!!!!!!!

First two I saw actually had three trains running simultaneously. All the rest, even the small ends to ends were actually moving. It can be done. A show interesting to afficianados as well as the casual punter. But above all to the next generation. Kids want to see trains running.

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Our local show has really gone downhill. Mainly because the local council, who owned the site of the previous shows has put up the hiring costs to an unacceptable level so the organisers had to find something cheaper, which was only available for one day instead of the usual two. That aside there was a lack of general movement on the layouts and what seemed like a lot of poking and shoving of locos to get them to run at all. Some of the operators/owners seemed interested in speaking to watchers but one or two, when they could bother to tear themselves away from their mates whist discussing what the pub they were in the night before was like, seemed aloof and looking upon somebody as though they had been bought in on the bottom of a boot.
Operators, get real. If you don't perform and appear courteous and interested in those watching you will only end up with no shows to go to.

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I might be being a little unfair but had almost the same feelings about Gateshead today Mick.

They were friendly enough and, in the main, happy to chat but several layouts seemed to think running trains wasn't a requirement.

There are really 2 things that get to me about exhibition layouts:

Firstly, the speed they run the trains.  I just walked past several because they were running trains at a scale 200 mph - even light engine or shunting - even given DCC and it's superb slow running capabilities.

Secondly, railways are never clean and, in the steam era, they were downright filthty.

Modellers seem to go to the ends of the earth to get the buildings perfect and the trackwork accurate, even sourcing the right locos and stock for 4pm on Thursday, May 26th 1954.  The rolling stock is pristine, the track looks as if it was laid yesterday with washed ballast and the buildings have all been repainted and powerwashed.  Why can't they model the real thing ?  :twisted:

There were a few layouts that appealed to me but one of those was having huge electrical problems and another had constant derailing at one curve ......................:roll::roll::roll::roll:

Not a bad show but I'm not sure I'll drive the 2 hours from here next year - assuming I'm in UK that weekend.  I'm expecting great things from Spalding tomorrow .................;-)

Another thing that stuck me was the price of "used" stock - wow - you can buy new for a few quid more ................:shock::shock::shock:

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You can also guarantee Petermac, that if you are trying to sell used stock the dealers offer you peanuts.

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G`day Folks,
Having just read this topic again and caught up with the latest from Peter.........I have to agree with everything said. I can only talk about Australian exhibitions but it seems to me that we are following the same line as the Brits.
Running trains is what we pay to see. Friendly, informative operators is what we expect. There seems to be an attitude from some operators that we the paying public are simply there to watch their trains circulate endlessly whilst they have a conversation amongst themselves behind the back scene.
Not so I must say. I didn`t pay for that !!!!...Imagine a young boy or girl who sees one of these exhibitions for the first time and thinks.....Wow!!!!....that`s what I want to do, yet when they come to find out how to start or what`s involved.....the operators are too busy in their own little world to recognize that this child is genuinely interested and needs help. Well that child would be severely disappointed and frustrated I would imagine and second thoughts may arise and they might say no, forget it. 
Now I`m being unfair because I think the ignorant operator is actually a small percentage of exhibitors here, nonetheless they exist. Show organizers need to reinforce with exhibitors an expectation that they will, in effect, provide an entertainment for the paying public. Almost like a contract.....we allow you to exhibit and in return you must provide something worth watching.
If they need an example of how an exhibitor should present and operate a layout and engage with the paying public, I would recommend they go and watch Gary when he does one of his future exhibitions........that`s how it`s done folks.!!!!!.....pretty to watch!!!!
:cheers  Gormo




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I enjoyed the Spalding show last year Peter, so I'm looking to see plenty of action and detailing tomorrow, hope you think it's better then Gateshead!?

Cheers
Ron

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At our AMRE* last year, we had our NMRA* stand with members demonstrating scenery building, et. al. - Also we had a John Allen Timesaver layout set up for the kids to try their hand.

http://www.wymann.info/ShuntingPuzzles/sw-timesaver.html

Our SIG* had a layout set up with all of the wiring on top so people could see how it went together.  It was also running RailRoad & Co TC software.  There were always at least three members there, engaged with the public.

*AMRE = Adelaide Model Railway Exhibition.

*NMRA = National Model Railroad Association.

*SIG = National Model Railroad Association Special Interest Group.  This group specialises in DCC and allied topics.

Come to Adelaide next year.  6 - 8 June.  :cool:

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I have to apologise for any perception of falling standards at next week's Sunshine MRC show in Melbourne.

I was due to exhibit the Boghouses micro (travel-in-the-bag) layout but have had to withdraw due to being unable to swap my work shifts for a weekend off.

:brickwall

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As exhibition manager for my club Hayle mrc here in Cornwall,i try to make sure that in the main i only invite layouts that i know will entertain the PAYING public ie movement of trains,keeping in mind that most of the people that come to our show may only have a passing interest in model railways,because we are a holiday area its some where to go on a rainy day we have our regulars of course because of this i insist that the public can see trains running.                                                                                                                Regarding Metcalf card kits its an opportunity to show some who is just starting out in the hobby how to be able to put buildings on their layouts at a reasonable price and fairly easy to put together and it has been proven that it leads onto scratch building at a later date.                                                                                                                                                                                                    

g0ibi
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Got to say I was well impressed with this weekend's Spalding Rail Show! Lot's of good quality layouts and most with trains moving!! I also liked the idea of keeping the traders stalls separate from the layouts albeit in the same hall.
Well done Spalding MRC!

Cheers
Ron

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It has been interesting to find that my opinions of some train shows and their exhibits are shared by others.

So on a positive note I was wondering what people would actually like to see.

First of all we all seem to agree on moving trains.

Regarding the speed of trains. I quite like the older layouts where the fact they keep moving at a constant speed is interesting enough. For the more realistic layouts I think that there has to be a balance between '200mph' trains and the boredom of really slow movements. Watching a US diesel take a couple of minutes to move about 2 feet, even if it is the right scale speed, can get tedious.

As for scenery. Realism is all very nice, but when modelling the steam era it means grimey townscapes or twee country sidings which after a while all look the same. My preference is for trains running through the countryside, absolutely realistic or not.

I have seen pictures of model trains used on commercial presentations where the line and train is in full colour, but the backtrop or cityscape is just white. It shows the space passing through but emphasises the focus of the display, the train and line. If I am not mistaken is there an advert on UK TV with something like that at the present time?

If there are any architectural model specialists around it would be interesting to learn of their opinins. My suspicion though is anyone who spends their day making models of cityscapes and the like probably has a hobby completely different, like sewing or pottery!


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Hi, agree with you, scale speed should be easier to achieve with DCC I'm sure!
As regards model building etc, this guy's stuff was great at the Spalding show;





Cheers
Ron

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Hi Ron, did you see the notice on the front of that display? it had cost him just £7 ( plus the vehicles and figures etc ) because it used materials that we throw away!

Pete. 

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No I didn't Pete, makes it even better!!




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I like to see trains moving. I prefer them to move at a speed appropriate to the location and layout size portrayed. But I accept that in all things we are forced to compromise to some extent. Even the biggest layouts usually have the same trains with the same engines on the front passing by every minute or two.

Having operated layouts at exhibitions I have always agreed with the little note pasted on the operator's side of the very first one I ever got my hands on. That said "The public have paid to see trains RUNNING - make sure at least one is always in view and that one is always moving"

That was quite easy on a two-track simple circuit where one was stopped in the station and the other came by for a few laps then vice versa.

Having my own-build layout exhibited earlier this year which is a single-track loop proved more of a challenge in that respect. The single track had a remarkably frequent DMU service (every 20 seconds or so!) and the unit was in view for just over half of the circuit. There was always at least one loco and a few wagons in the sidings however and therefore there was always a train on show. When the DMU stopped around the back the freight could be shunted.

Every layout is unique in its own way. A single-track plank can be the best piece of modelling in the world but you cannot run a continuous service upon a length of straight track - in and out is as good as it gets. That's fine in such a case.

What I also like to see having paid at the door is a standard of modelling commensurate with the entry charge and general standing of the event. I'm perfectly willing to accept lesser-known and perhaps seldom-shown layouts at smaller regional or club events but at the likes of Warley I would hope not to see crumbling scenery, faltering electrics or a layout with nothing happening and abandoned by its operator(s) entirely while they head off for a break. It's almost always possible to find someone to cover for at least a short break even if you are a one-man band. Ask a fellow exhibitor for help - it costs nothing and is usually offered very willingly.

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I thought Spalding show was excellent - well worth the drive.

Plenty of really good layouts and plenty of movement and grime.  Just up my street although some may say I lack the movement bit ...............................:roll::roll::roll::roll:   In addition, it was great to meet up with Ron, Pete and Paul.  I now know who's writing when I read their posts.  I hope my dates will coincide with the show next year.

I could have spent the whole show listening to and watching Paul's demonstrations.  You clearly don't blow your own trumpet Paul so I'll blow it for you.  A great stand to visit.  :thumbs

I'm pleased you posted some shots of Roy Hickman's dioramas Ron - absolutley stunning modelling - right up there with our own Chubber. :thumbs  I did lash out £4 to buy his tutorial notes.  as you say, most of his stuff is from household items.

I do like the idea mentioned by Max of a layout with all the wiring on the surface.  That would be so helpful in expalining the dark arts usually hidden from view.  Maybe someone in UK might try that.  I'm sure it would be popular at shows.

I head off for home tonight - hope the wind drops before we sail otherwise my "hotel on the high seas" may not offer ther good night's sleep I expect ..............................  I use this route because I expect additional security delays following the horrors in Paris, through which I have to drive, it could take longer. :cry::cry::cry:

I'll post up some of the photos I took at the shows here and there when I get home.

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t5his the reason I did not go to gateshead this year i did miss our little m,eet up but,Iwanted to go to spalding but this dam illness I have hits hard when it feels like it so daren`t drive far, hopefully next year,
:thumbs;-):cool:
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I don't think it's just Model Railway Shows that seem to be going downhill as well. Our local Stamp and Coin Fair has now got so bad I don't even bother going anymore. None of the dealers seem to have any new material but promise something at the next show but it never appears.

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A good point Petermac, at all the shows I have been to there has always been some demo stands usually the organising clubs members, kit building, scratch building, etc but I have never seen any one demo-ing layout wiring, there is no reason a layout couldn,t be wired on the top I am surprised no one has brought it up before, I will bring it up at our next club meeting.

Pete. 

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gormo wrote:  Show organizers need to reinforce with exhibitors an expectation that they will, in effect, provide an entertainment for the paying public. Almost like a contract.....we allow you to exhibit and in return you must provide something worth watching.
Hi Folks,
While I'm new here, I'd just like to say that this is a very interesting topic, I agree with much that has been said, especially about Metcalf kits(!) but the quote above - Absolutely Sir!
That for me, really hits the nail on the head.
It's got to be enjoyable for the operators but if you don't enjoy it, why do it?
Most of all, it's got to be enjoyable for the paying public whether they be seasoned modellers or mum, dad & the kids.
I've advertised one of my clubs shows on here, I am pretty sure it's going to be great but the best show I've been to this past year was the Derby show at "The Roundhouse" in May.
It had pretty much everything, British steam & diesel, US and European layouts, roundy-roundys and end to ends, standard and narrow gauges, imho you'd have to be very picky indeed not to find something you could really enjoy.

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jakesdad13 wrote: Hi Ron, did you see the notice on the front of that display? it had cost him just £7 ( plus the vehicles and figures etc ) because it used materials that we throw away!

Pete.


What!!!!

No resin-to-plonk  Harburn Hobbies Corrugated Huts at £14.99p or their 'Two Rows of Greens [12 cabbages] at £7.50p nor Townstreet stonecast Engine Sheds at £99 or £125 [+ £4.60p postage]?

The man should be taken outside and soundly thrashed for failing to support the railway modelling industry....

Mr S. Kinflint
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Interesting topic,

I do agree with most of posts so far. Over here in Australia shows are few and far between the AMRE show that Max mentioned is definitely the biggest and usually one of the best in South Australia. It was my first time operating a layout at an exhibition this year and I must say, I thouroghly enjoyed it.
Last year Dad and I did a presentation at a convention and the topic was 'getting young people involved in the hobby' because let's face it, less people are getting involved in the hobby.
We concluded that one of the best ways to get young people involved in the hobby is engagement. We found that at exhibitions there needs to be more layouts that children can operate such as the 'U Drive' that Gary noted on.
The problem with that layout is it says (but not to fast!) under the layout title which could be a little difficult for young children to understand that trains don't need to go at the speed of sound.
I think the shunting puzzles are an excellent way to get people involved because it's interesting but also gives them a challenge and something to do rather than just looking all day at layouts.

Just my thoughts
Connor

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Engagement is absolutely critical if we are to attract and, as importantly, retain new blood in the hobby. It doesn't have to be young but the younger ones may have many more distractions along the way than those if us perhaps a little more grounded and set in our ways.

I opened a Facebook page for my layout which really only shows some of the better pictures and doesn't go into discussion or detail. But the reasoning behind it was in large part to use a social media channel as also used by very many younger (and not so young) folk to engage them in what I do and to draw some towards the hobby that way.

It's had some positive effect. My images are typically seen by upwards of 1000 people and sometimes by far more - one recently reached 13,500 people - and I have almost 1200 actively engaged having "Liked" the page meaning they automatically receive and are notified of every post.

Exhibitions are one thing. Their place in our hobby is assured for so long as others are willing to pay at the door and come in. But the displays within must be of a standard worthy of the event and the door fee. Social media is free to use and anyone can adopt a "take-it-or-leave-it" approach.

It is one mouse-click to un-follow a page so it takes a fraction of a second to effectively turn ones' back on my posts there. That's actually more of a challenge to me than keeping up appearances on show because it is so much easier to lose followers and the instant gratification generation - to whom we are trying to appeal - will just as instantly click a mouse and look elsewhere for their next "kick" if the interests cannot be sustained.

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I have very recently found some model railway sites on face book and have joined two or three, from what i have seen and read there are quite a lot of younger people on there, some have been modelling for a while some are just starting so I think the hobby as a whole is in better shape than it appears.


Cheers, Pete.

Chubber
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Relevant point, Pete, in a way our saying here that the railway modelling scene is in decline is akin to the Chelsea Pensioners saying that the 'clubbing' scene in the West End is going down the tubes....


Doug

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Do not forget that we need to get people through the door to entertain them.
//Start Soapbox
Since 1997 the company that I work for has owned an Internet Service Provider. It maintains a list of Australian Model Railway Exhibitions at http://www.tech2u.com.au/trains/exhibits/index.html. This advertising is free. The company even supplies door or raffle prizes for shows when requested. Every year it is a fight just to get the people running these shows to tell us when their events are on. We often wonder how the hobby will fare into the future when free publicity is turned down.
//End Soapbox

Andrew

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Its not just model show organisers who need to get their act together, in my other hobby vintage engines the magazine that caters exclusively for them, Stationary Engine, offers free promotion and advertising to show organisers and clubs but it seems like pulling teeth for the editor every year he offers free listing in the events guide but only a few shows take it up.I don,t know what the answer is but something for nothing seems a good deal to me!

Cheers, Pete.   


                 

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