Author Topic: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?  (Read 2318 times)

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chuck geiger

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2011, 01:40:32 PM »
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Good shows:

First Frost and First Melt - Allentown 2x year
Timonium
Simi Valley Model Railroad Club - LA 2x year
Chuck Geiger
Page, AZ
provencountrypd@gmail.com

Bsklarski

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2011, 01:43:59 PM »
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No the days of good deals at shows are gone. Maybe you will find something here and there, but for the most port, its all retail. At least at the Amherst show thats how its been the last 10 years. Yes, most of those layouts are set up once MAYBE twice a year. And since that is the case, the boys just want to play trains and ignore the public, as its basically the only time these layouts are set up. I can name one in particular here in Massachusetts. Goes back to previous threads on here and and other boards that pretty much agree that most people do the buying online now days.

Brian
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bman

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2011, 02:16:30 PM »
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   Having been going to shows for 5 or 6 years now as part of an NTrak club,  I agree it is easy to get that same old same old feeling.  How many times can you see the same module with the same scenes needing attention.  There are a lot of variables to consider.  Who can attend and bring what, etc.  But it is what you make it for sure.   We here in Central Ohio have one of the N scale clubs working on a new travel layout so that is a huge plus.  It is a work in progress and is ever changing at this time.
  Our NTrak club tries to at least vary the layout from show to show, using various member modules combined with club modules.  But it is easy to fall into that same old same old trap, as it makes things easier.  You could put us in the "same but different" category.  We do have plans to rebuild some old corners that are dated, as well as look into building some new club modules to add to the variety to try to always make it different from show to show.  We are also lucky enough to have some younger members with new ideas and infusing the club with energy to keep things interesting.
     As far as vendors,  lots of good points brought up here.  I am sure ebay has some to do with it.  I pretty much stay away from ebay, my choice, so I do wander through looking for that out of production item now and then.  I normally look for something I can pick up cheap to try a kit bash project on.  That way when i totally trash it and toss in the towel,  I am only out time and a couple of bucks.   Our shows have a decent mix of memorabilia and hobby items IMHO here in Columbus.  Mostly HO and Lionel, with a hit or miss selection of N.
The World's Greatest Hobby show was in town last Jan, and that was great with the mfg's there, with a good selection of vendors.  And the CRHS was there.  What more could you ask for!   B

Andrew Hutchinson

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2011, 03:34:00 PM »
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Hello,

I hear this topic come up quite often at just about every train show I go to so there has to be some truth to it. Having said that, I feel as if it is as much a reflection of the attending public as those who are displaying.  IF you want it to change, figure out the direction you want to focus your energy and participate. These shows are your community in a sense. If not, the question becomes why you were there in the first place.

There is a lot you can do. I remember back ten to twenty years ago when people would build or work on layouts during the show, bridging the gap for interested onlookers between how'd-they-do-that and finished product.  On-the-floor demos are a great way  to attract attention and stimulate meaningful discourse. Just get a table with a couple of friends (the show I am involved with doesn't charge displays of this nature) and demonstrate your techniques or modelling to the general public. Got a small semi-portable layout? Bring it to the show!

But if you don't have the time and energy to do so then why expect that much of others?   

And to all  the complaints about cost, what is that cost? $3,$5,$8, $12? If you've got no money any amount will be too much but I know of a couple shows that have a policy of not refusing entrance to children (and their guardians). There is poor and then there is cheap. A lot of model railroaders that I know fall firmly into the latter category.  For value see paragraph one.

I am sorry that the tone of this post is so blunt but I feel there is little benefit to sugar coating my message.

What would I do?

Mostly stuff I and others across the continent are already engaged in - you know- going around to all of the moaners asking them if they could contribute a little something so that we don't burn out our regular presenters, so that our volunteers don't vacate us completely, so that the show might go on one more year.  When I am done that I'll be sitting down to go over all of the mistakes that were made this past year and trying to figure out a way around them in time for the next one.

Starting from scratch I would go to the heart of the matter and and pick a theme that reflects what I believe makes a worthwhile show: Modelling. Seeing it AND doing it, and making it as accessible as possible where ever  possible.

Get the participating clubs to supply a couple of members to do demos at one corner of their set-up instead of just flogging stuff on a table and watching stuff go round and round. Post a schedule on one of those Do Not Touch posts twenty feet in front of the layout  with information on when you'll be displaying and describing the steps you took to canuck that GMDD lashup running laps and people might even show up interested. Need trees for your layout? setup on that same table and show how you make armatures. Have some extra scissors on hand and get the crowd to make some armatures. Let them take one home perhaps with a handout that reinforces the techniques used.  Not every process is well suited to this format but some such as casting  rock molds, or doing some flocking would work well and show that model railroading is something you do, that it is a process and not a picture in some magazine. If they see the risk/reward equation is not so bad as they first thought they might actually try it out by themselves at home. As for the clubs not complying, why wouldn't they? They have to have at least a few altruistic members willing to teach and inspire. Besides, where else do modular clubs set-up? If a few shows in an average sized region took this approach the clubs would be compelled to return to a more communal role or risk having nowhere to show. Simillarly, if attendees show up knowing the purpose of the event is to foster more modelling and that their participation is key to this end they might be less apathetic and get their hands dirty.  Little kids get it... If you give them something to colour and cut out or a train to run they're over the moon.

Andrew Hutchinson

TiVoPrince

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2011, 09:32:10 PM »
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Visiting 
a few shows a year, mostly to chat with friends.  The trains just aren't so much the focus, just a common thread for us to rally around...
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PacRail

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #20 on: November 20, 2011, 12:25:59 AM »
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I have to agree with the comment about how some groups that set up layouts tend to ignore the crowd.  I drove over to a Southern California show two years ago that had two Ntrak groups there with layouts.  One group was talking to the crowd, answering questions, etc. and had large smiles on their faces and the atmosphere was very pleasant.   

The other group didn't have that many visitors and you could feel the change in atmosphere as you walked up.  The members were only speaking to each other and I saw a guy that tried to ask a question about some special run cars they had displayed get ignored by the members.  However, the best part was about 2 minutes later when a couple of people on the other side of the layout starting yelling, "Hey! Excuse me! You guys!", etc. but were also ignored.  The people continued to yell and I walked over to see what was going on.  Just as I arrived I watched several engines slam into a caboose and several reefer cars and within seconds there were cars and engines all over that area.  The people had been trying to tell them that the train had come apart and the caboose and several reefer cars were left behind.  When the rest of the train came back around it hit the part that had come uncoupled. 

Brakie

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #21 on: November 20, 2011, 10:51:39 AM »
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I go to 5 shows a year since IMHO these are the better shows.I go to Bucyrus,Marion,Berea,Dalton and Milan.I still enjoy these shows.

Side note:I also go to the Ohio  N Scale Weekend in Columbus.I call that a N Scale meet and not a train show.

Side note: One complaint against the Berea show is the lack of apple pie. :(

Here's the thing about shows..You can rush through them and miss the deals and then complain about the show not having anything or to high price or you can take you're time and shop around and explore every table top and under the front of the table-don't laugh..Did you know most of the better deals can be found there?

Why?

Simply because the dealer puts his high dollar items on the table.

Display layouts.

Ah,now you went and done it! That's my number one beef with shows.

Why do they wait till the last minute to test the layout or DCC? I seen a club fool with DCC  and never ran a train the 4 hours I was at the show!

Why do they think they must run trains at Marc one? Nothing looks as silly as trains flying around a loop.

Why don't some members inspect and fix their faulty equipment before the show?

Are you racing slot cars? Why is every train going the same direction at high speed?

Now..I do see train shows declining in the coming years as the old line dealers retire or pass..I don't see that many young dealers.

As a side note.

I can remember when train shows was nothing more then modelers displaying models and selling/trading their unwanted stuff and most shows had modeling clinics.

I'm not sure when shows went commercial and lost the "show" side.
Larry

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Zox

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #22 on: November 20, 2011, 12:50:09 PM »
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Brakie, there's merit to what you say. Clubs do need to pay attention to maintenance between shows, and the audience during shows. But there are mitigating factors as well.

Why do they wait till the last minute to test the layout or DCC? I seen a club fool with DCC  and never ran a train the 4 hours I was at the show!

Every time you set up a modular layout you're effectively building a new layout. Even if everything worked perfectly at the end of the previous show, by the time you get all the modules assembled--usually about 7PM Friday evening, after the last members stagger in for setup--there's a good chance that something won't work. Depending on the "something," it may well take hours to debug. (DCC seems to be most vulnerable to this; DC layouts can often have something running in "local mode" to keep the visitors entertained while repairs are underway.)

Quote
Why do they think they must run trains at Marc one? Nothing looks as silly as trains flying around a loop.

People like to watch trains run, and moving trains are the best way to move people along the layout and get them to look at the whole thing. If everything's running at scale 15MPH, it's almost as bad as if they aren't moving at all; the audience will get bored and wander off.

Quote
Why don't some members inspect and fix their faulty equipment before the show?

Some members don't have space to exercise their equipment between shows; you can't do much "inspect and fix" if you just run back-and-forth on the 43 inches of mainline that a 4-foot module holds. And in any case, they can't test how their equipment works on everyone else's modules--and the interfaces between them--until the layout's set up.

Quote
Are you racing slot cars? Why is every train going the same direction at high speed?

Because unless you're completely ignoring the audience and focusing solely on keeping the trains running, you simply don't have the bandwidth to do elaborate meet-and-pass operations. You'd end up having all but one of the trains parked while you thread the needle with the other one--and then the trains aren't moving.

Quote
I'm not sure when shows went commercial and lost the "show" side.

When renting a building for a show became financially impractical for most non-commercial entities.
Rob M., a.k.a. Zox
z o x @ v e r i z o n . n e t
http://lordzox.com/
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Catt

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #23 on: November 20, 2011, 01:03:57 PM »
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Being one who displays a Z layout at shows along with a buddy and his N scale layout.I have to agree that some of the layouts that tour never change and most don't run worth a damn.

Bill's N scale layout and my Z scale layout are always changing some times it 's small change and sometimes it's big.For instance my layout is now 14" longer and one end has a bumpout.Bill just built a yard for his layout the more than doubles the length.

The NTRAK part of our group is always in a state of change.We have found this keeps people coming back to see our layouts and ask questions.Interaction with show goers is the really fun part of displaying,but if your layout never changes people stop looking.

(PS) The last time I actually bought anything but food at a show was probly 3 years ago.I already have more N scale than I will ever use and Z pricing is insane. :(
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
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Denver Road Doug

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #24 on: November 20, 2011, 01:27:24 PM »
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Well, I think for a given locale, this phonomenon is not unexpected.  You have the same clubs, and it's not reasonable to expect that they're gonna completely revamp every year.  You have the same local "basement" dealers, and generally the same "road show" dealers will make the trip.  If you can get 10% new blood in either of these categories you are doing good.

I think the biggest blame goes to the show management.  Most of the local shows have the same governing body year after year.   Often, the same person is the show director, and it seems the passion fizzles after a while.   Then when you do get a new person in there, often there are personality conflicts, costs often go up, and what you gain in enthusiasm is lost with attrition.  And keep in mind, these generally aren't "professional show managers" that run these things.  I have bought tables at every one of the shows local shows we have, and not once have I received a sales pitch to buy another the following year.   Some years they didn't need to, but in the past 2-3 years I know the shows haven't sold out.   And even trying to get a table is like pulling teeth because often the DON'T KNOW if they're sold out or not.  Anyway, I'm not trying to be too critical here...it's usually not their day job and probably doesn't pay much if any.   But, I suppose if you want to change things...offering your help to them might be key.

I think trying to motivate the clubs is a challenge, too.  It is difficult to dictate what a club does, and no real good way to incent them to keep things fresh.   I suppose show contests for best modules or best whatever could help.   I think at some point you just have to make the best of things...chat it up with them, engage them, FIND OUT what's new, etc.

Our latest show this past weekend was pretty pathetic in all aspects, maybe one of the most disappointing shows I've been to in years.   The final two shows (OKC and Plano) are always the best, but this one usually holds its own.  Not so much this year.
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

inkaneer

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #25 on: November 20, 2011, 03:11:21 PM »
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Just some ramblings on various points brought up here.  First, good deals do seem to be a lot fewer at typical shows.  My best deals lately have been at events like the Bedford and Columbus N Scale Weekends.  I was able to pick up Atlas covered hoppers [less trucks and couplers for $1.50] at Bedford this year.   Got new Lifelike SW switchers [undecs] for $25.00 the year or two before.   Got some building kits at the Columbus event plus some MDC tankers [with MTtrucks and couplers] for $4.75. 

Regarding set up of layouts at a show, with the new economy this is becoming a real challenge to set up an entire layout on a Friday night.   Anymore we have peole who just cannot get to the facility in time before they close.    So we have to do it on Saturday morning.   We have a seasoned crew who can work independantly and that really helps. 

As for clinics, we have offered to do clinics for the Greenberg show that comes here three times a year.   However, they apparently are not interested.  That is a shame because we have some very talented people who can  present a very informative instructional clinic on a wide variety of topics.    Maybe they think people attending the clinics are not spending money?

train1

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #26 on: November 20, 2011, 03:27:36 PM »
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 I am also inclined to agree with the majority here in saying that a 'newness' needs to be injected into the hobby show. The same dusty stuff from last year isn't going to cut it anymore. There are those hardcore modellers who specifically look for the holy grail and the newbies who wish to get their feet wet in the hobby.
  I model N but belong to a local HO Club that uses the show(s) to get rid of quality gently used equipment which doesn't fit in with the operations, and items which are created by members. We had members inspect items, dust and price them ahaead of time. I personally created a neat little item for the show and in fact was complimented numerous times with 'bringing something a little different' to the show. Our Club stuff did good sales ( for the club ) and I did pretty good too.
PS You can see my item here ..if interested PM  ;)
http://www.trainboard.com/railimages/showgallery.php/cat/2420

Brakie

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #27 on: November 20, 2011, 04:18:19 PM »
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Rob wrote: People like to watch trains run, and moving trains are the best way to move people along the layout and get them to look at the whole thing. If everything's running at scale 15MPH, it's almost as bad as if they aren't moving at all; the audience will get bored and wander off.
-------------------------
True dat but,the choir is the ones watching the show not the general public.Still no need for Marc 1 speed.
--------------------------

Rob wrote:
Some members don't have space to exercise their equipment between shows; you can't do much "inspect and fix" if you just run back-and-forth on the 43 inches of mainline that a 4-foot module holds. And in any case, they can't test how their equipment works on everyone else's modules--and the interfaces between them--until the layout's set up.
-----------------
Sorry,I'm not buying into old and feeble excuse..

I don't have a HO layout but,I have a 60" test track..I can run my equipment for 5-6 hours and have zero derailments simply because I inspect and maintain my equipment.
------------------
Rob wrote:Because unless you're completely ignoring the audience and focusing solely on keeping the trains running, you simply don't have the bandwidth to do elaborate meet-and-pass operations. You'd end up having all but one of the trains parked while you thread the needle with the other one--and then the trains aren't moving.
----------------
Still no excuse on a 4 track modular layout to have trains "racing" each other in the same direction.Looks silly.Also people does like switching action-even the general public..I seen them stand for several minutes to watch the switching.
------------------

I still think a club should always put its best foot forward during a show because nothing can damage a club's reputation like constant derailments or electrical problems and Marc 1 speeds..

Snobbishness of the membership toward other modelers and the general public is another turn off that must be avoided.

Larry

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wm3798

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #28 on: November 20, 2011, 07:54:47 PM »
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Maybe I've been spoiled, but I try to get to one Timonium show a year, and I rarely come away disappointed.  Yes, it costs a few bucks to get in, yes, you have to wade through a lot of crap to find something worthwhile.

But, it's not unusual to stumble across an estate sale, or a messy divorce sale, or some other bargain bonanza that allows you to get some tremendous deals.  Presently I'm kicking myself for not picking up an N&W Alco by Atlas I saw for $30, but I'm still elated I picked up four more pulpwood cars for about $6 a piece, plus an old Rowa coach that will stand in nicely for WM's business car, 1700.  So yes, you can still find bargains and long out of production stuff at a good show.

More importantly, I had the opportunity to shake Lance Mindheim's hand, marvel at some spectacular work in a variety of scales, and of course, enjoy the goonery of the Railwire Asshats Union, Baltimore Local.

I've been going to train shows since the Baltimore NMRA convention in the mid 70's, and the Greenberg shows when they were at the Towson Center.  Yup, there have been some dull ones.  And yup, if I waited for train shows to amass my current fleet, instead of running up the Pay Pal account, I'd be way behind the curve.  But I always enjoy roaming the aisles, and I still get a little excited when I see even a small array of N scale jewel boxes.

So let the shows go on, I say!
Lee
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Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net

Catt

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Re: Local Train Shows....leaving me cold ?
« Reply #29 on: November 20, 2011, 09:34:41 PM »
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I for one would not expect anybody ,club or individual to do a complete rebuild of their layout ,or module.But little changes that don't take much time or effort will get people stopping by to scope out the layout show after show.Friend Bill and myself are constantly doing small changes like detail paint a building ,add some more trees,place vehicles in different locations,maybe even switch railroads (have done that in the middle of a show). Changing out buildings is another ploy that works.

One thing I would expect from a dealer is rotate the damn stock.We have a guy here in West Michigan that not only has carried the same locos and freight cars but he always puts them in the same exact order and has done so for years.

I have more stories to tell but my meter has run out. :D
Johnathan (Catt) Edwards
Sole owner of the
Grande Valley Railway
100% Michigan made