Author Topic: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention  (Read 839 times)

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NSEGeorge

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Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« on: September 08, 2023, 09:48:37 PM »
+1
Hey Everybody!

The team at the NSE is deep into planning for next year's Bethlehem, PA convention, and the issue of layout tours is a hot topic. In this location we have an abundance of N Scale layouts, some farther away than others. We are wrestling with the following issue- How long is too long to be on a bis to see a layout?  We have tried to keep travel time to an hour on most of the tours, but there are some great layouts that are two hors away. Is that too long? 

Love to hear your thoughts, as we have to lock in our routes fairly early to arrange all of the busses and layout hosts for the tours. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

George
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Rossford Yard

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2023, 12:29:58 PM »
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Well, this seems lonely, so I will provide an answer based on last month's national here in DFW.

We have one outstanding N scale layout over an hour from the convention center, and I believe it had good attendance.  Some other mid size, less finished, and lesser known N Scale layouts (like mine) that were somewhat far from the convention attracted only six visitors.  Of course, being a multi scale tour, I think most HO guys skip the layouts that aren't huge or well known, which wouldn't be a problem in your case.

So, I guess my opinion is that the crowd will be fine if the distant layouts are really something to see.  I don't know if your tours are self guided and over how many days, but at the National, they divided both bus and self guided tours into areas, i.e., Ft Worth and West was Wednesday, Dallas area layouts were Thursday and Tuesday, etc.  It would help to group them similarly.

I have to believe that seeing great layouts is almost always the main goal of many, so I wouldn't skimp if you can minimize the inconvenience.

rodsup9000

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2023, 01:06:40 PM »
+1
 

Hey Everybody!

The team at the NSE is deep into planning for next year's Bethlehem, PA convention, and the issue of layout tours is a hot topic. In this location we have an abundance of N Scale layouts, some farther away than others. We are wrestling with the following issue- How long is too long to be on a bis to see a layout?  We have tried to keep travel time to an hour on most of the tours, but there are some great layouts that are two hors away. Is that too long? 

Love to hear your thoughts, as we have to lock in our routes fairly early to arrange all of the busses and layout hosts for the tours. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

George
N Scale Enthusiast


 I would say 2 hours on the bus ride for at least 2 very nice layouts. You could make it a all day tour if you could 4 or 5 in the same area.
I know we usually do half day tours, but we could try a all day on this one, or do it as a extra fare on Monday or Tuesday.



Well, this seems lonely, so I will provide an answer based on last month's national here in DFW.

We have one outstanding N scale layout over an hour from the convention center, and I believe it had good attendance.  Some other mid size, less finished, and lesser known N Scale layouts (like mine) that were somewhat far from the convention attracted only six visitors.  Of course, being a multi scale tour, I think most HO guys skip the layouts that aren't huge or well known, which wouldn't be a problem in your case.

So, I guess my opinion is that the crowd will be fine if the distant layouts are really something to see.  I don't know if your tours are self guided and over how many days, but at the National, they divided both bus and self guided tours into areas, i.e., Ft Worth and West was Wednesday, Dallas area layouts were Thursday and Tuesday, etc.  It would help to group them similarly.

I have to believe that seeing great layouts is almost always the main goal of many, so I wouldn't skimp if you can minimize the inconvenience.


 The tours all bused to the layouts
Rodney

My Feather River Canyon in N-scale
http://www.therailwire.net/forum/index.php?topic=31585.0

drgw0579

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2023, 01:47:32 PM »
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I've got two cents.

I hope to attend this one, and the layouts *are* going to be one of the top attractions that brings me there.

I was at the narrow gauge convention in Colorado last month and they had layouts on self-guided tours that were as far as 2 hours from the convention hotel.  But the Front Range of Colorado (to Wyoming) tends to group things in a 180-mile-long corridor, so there was a logical route where one could hit all the good layouts in progression.  Those layouts were open during the two "long" days and then the two other days featured layouts closer to Denver.

I imagine, given my time when I lived in PA, that those layouts are going to be in all directions from Bethlehem.   If that's the case, I am less likely to want to sit in a bus for more time than I'd actually see the layouts.  I'd probably be more interested in the long distances if it was self-guided.

Bill Kepner

haasmarc

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2023, 08:00:23 PM »
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Another vote for a self guided option.  I have been to conventions both NMRA and N scale with self guided tours and I really enjoyed the freedom you have with this option.  I have done bus tours as well, but I am less likely to pay for a bus tour then go on a self guided tour.  I know, N scalers are cheapskates.   :P
Marc Haas
Keeping the Reading alive in N scale!

NSEGeorge

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2023, 08:46:39 PM »
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Thanks for the replies. It helps us with our planning to know what people want.

Yes we are aware that model railroaders want to "conserve their funds" for other RR purchases (I think the characterization 'cheapskate' is a tad strong, Marc! :-) We try to keep the price of tours down to just covering the cost of the busses. And having the rours bus based allows the people showing their layouts to know when they need to have trains running, etc. That said, we will see if we can work out a self drive option. Makes sense to me.

George

superchief

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2023, 10:11:45 PM »
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George, let me rub the other side of the coin. As a layout owner who has had several bus tours to their layouts, most home layouts cannot handle a bus load of people. While holding half on the bus and swapping them out gives just a limited amount of time for viewing. I prefer self guided tours as people can stay as long or short as they want. Smaller buses my be the answer (20-25) seats. Just my two cents, Thanks for all you do to promote N Scale.
                                                            Gordon Bliss - Santa Fe/ All the Way

NSEGeorge

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2023, 11:38:09 PM »
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Gordon-

Thats a really good point. I will add that to the discussion. Thanks for bringing it up, I had not thought of that quite that way.

George

larry p mahoning division

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2023, 04:28:52 AM »
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I agree about having self guided tours. I had a bus tour in 2014 come to my home and my layout room could not hold all the people at once. Some people were only able to get a quick view while others stayed for quite a while. I have open house in November and we go from 10-4 and that allows people to stay as long as they want to see everything.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2023, 10:03:03 AM »
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I much prefer self guided as well, both from a host and an attendee.

peteski

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Re: Layout Tours at the National N Scale Convention
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2023, 10:48:01 AM »
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Some convention participants who arrived by some sort of mass transportation (like an airplane or train) might not have a car. I suppose the might seek another convention attendee to get a ride to  a layout, but still, that is something to consider if bus tours were to be fully replaced by self-guided tours.  Also if the layout is some distance away, a bus is likely more economical mode of transportation.  Plus with self-guided tours, people will miss the fun of buses getting lost on the way to the layout.   :D
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