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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all.
I posted this thread here instead of in the events section hoping more people would see it and respond, i have been invited to set up some largre scale trains at a local show coming up in Kingston NY  on april 6th and i need some advise from you guys that have done and  helped out at shows before.. i thinking about doing it just to promote large scale in general as no one in my area of upstae NY that i know of does large scale and i woould like to introduce people to the wondeful world of large scale, i was told that i can have a 20 by 40 ft spot at the show and trying to figure out if i can do this on my own or if i will need help... show set up time is from7am to 10am and then the show starts. i was thinking of doing 2 loops with 16ft dia curves and maybe 24ft straight sections with rail clamps. it will be on the floor and i was thinking of buying some green indoor outdoor carpet to put it on and maybe building some small 2 ft high  rope extantions to put around the layout  to keep people from getting real close to the trains. any ideals from you folks would be great, i have the track, trains and everything needed to do the show ,but i don't know if i can pull it off on my own. if there are any of  you out there that live in the upstate area  and would like to help , i think it would be a fun time and bring your own trains to run if you like. if you would like to help out for a day please contact me at    [email protected]
 thanks again for all your advise and help.
Nick.
 

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Nick,

 Help is good!!  It is kind of hard doing it yourself. I did it for about ten years by myself and it is a lot of work.
The green carpet is a good idea, and do make some kind of rope barricade to keep kids back. Most are pretty good but you aways get one or two that dive right in. We had one run right threw the middle of the layout.
 

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Things our club does that may help -

-Rope barriers are a good thing. We use cheaply made posts from pvc pipe with plywood bases.
-We also use 4"x4" posts around the bottom.
-We use green and brown burlap (but needs to be treated with a fire retardant) for grass and mountains.
-We use regular rail joiners with rubber bands around the ties of each track to keep the connection tight. Works great and at the end the rubber bands are just snipped and swept up at the end. (Much faster than rail clamps)
-Even just a few buidlings, vehicles, and figures help
-a few small trees (either real or fake is nice)

20 x 40 is a big space. It will be easier to manage a smaller layout. Also, find out if there are any smaller scale clubs also displaying at the show and see if any of there members might be willing to lend a hand.

You can see some of our displays here - Displays

-Brian
 

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Nick,

Keeping it simple is also a good idea.  Omit switches and keep the lines independant, no crossovers.  That will help reduce derailments.  Also, you may find that you get involved in conversations and you are unable to keep your eyes on the trains, so independant lines are a must.  

3 hours seems like a long time for set up, but it is not.  Doing all those rail clamps will be a big pain.  If you have clamps on half your tracks, that will reduce your total clamping time.  Also, get some of those knee pads. Are you planning to use stainless or brass track?  Brass track, don't forget the track cleaner.

Variety is the spice of life!  Have one freight train and one passenger train.

Be prepared to shut down your smoke units.  I was at a show running my LGB mikado, which has low smoke output, and one of the HO scale guys asked me nicely to not use smoke fluid since it messes up their tracks.  You aristo smoke units will pump out tons of smoke.  Be aware of your fellow modellers.  The MTH smoke units put our huge volumes, too. 

If you make it to the ECLSTS, you may get some good ideas from the display groups.  The first one you'll encounter in the show is the local club's.  They use live plants and have a water feature.  It takes almost 6 hours for a team of 30 people to get that one together.   

Mark
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Mark, Brian,
Thanks for the advise, mark i thought using SS track would work the best, i'm only useing the rail clamps because i thought it would give the best electrical contact for no hassle running' i will preinstall them be for the show to save time. i thought 3 hours was a very short amount of time to set up, i don't know how some of these clubs do 1 day shows seems like a lot of work for one guy but i will still give it a shot... i was planning on running one loop with one siding on DCS and one  loop under plane old DC. 4 trains total 2 freights and 2 passenger, 2 steam engines and maybe 3 or4 diesels, looks like its going to be a lot of work, but i think it will be fun. Mark i will try to find you at ECLSTS it would be interesting to meet you, thanks again,
Nick./DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/hehe.gif
 

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Vermont Garden Railway Society has put on displays at several levels of complexity.  In some cases, we have arranged for the show organizer to set out six banquet tables for us.  We set the tables in an open-center rectangle and covered them with dark green bed sheets.  Then we put down two concentric ovals of track made up using 10 and 8 foot diameter circles.  Each oval had one siding for storage and we put out a few fake plants and some buildings.  We were able to set these layouts up in about two hours using two-to-four people.

Several members have since built modules and we now set up a modular layout at most train shows and four-to-six people can set up in about three hours.

We also do shows at a museum where we place our tracks on the ground in a 20 foot x 30 foot open-sided tent (provided by the museum).  They put down a few yards of mulch which we rake out and also use to build up hills.  The museum also allows us to dig up plants in their numerous gardens to plant in our layout.  As above, we have two concentric ovals (only bigger) and we put in buildings, cars, people and other odd accessories.  This takes eight-to-twelve people six-to-eight hours to prepare.

Our biggest efforts are layouts at a biennial local flower show.  These are typically 25 x 44 foot layouts with very elaborate plantings and support framework for the track.  This usually takes 20-to-30 members working two-to-two and a half days.  The flower show is a tremendous amount of work; but, it's a lot of fun for the club and a great chance to show off what we do with garden trains.

Llyn
 

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Nick on the complete opposite end of the spectrum I've done three successful live steam demos now for the local Cub scouts. Well not so local as both groups I've "performed" for are about an hour away. I'm usually given aobut a half hour to set up and another half hour to tear down. I've done a simple loop on the floor with rail clamps pre-installed on the straights and used the regular joiners on the curves. i set the slightly Modifed Ruby on a table and let the boys watch her come up to steam and talk about how it runs and why. Explain a little about real railroad safety and talk trains while she is steaming. After she comes up to steam & she's run in on the rollers, I shut her down and top off the fuel and water. Get her back to steam and let her run on the loop for a while. Depending on the group and timing I can steam her two to three times. I'd love to have a module set up or at the very least some low ropes but I think they may be more hassle than it's worth for now?

I'd love to come help but alas my wife already has plans for us and it's a 6 hour dive for me one way. Although i've only been out there once in my adult life (dated a girl in college from the Rondout area) it was a nice place & I'd love to come back!

Chas
 

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What about  Pre assembled sections.   Cut out some  plywood to match the track.    Have the straight sections on a piece of plywood and the curves on another
The curves could be in  1/4 sections.    This would cut down  set up time.   What brand of track are you using? 

Also  Avery labels  have a  set of  lables for business cards.  You could print out some  with MLS  address on it.    If people are real interested  give them a  business card with MLS  address on it.  

I hope everyting  goes well for you  and  that your promotion is a big sucess
 

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You're too far away, otherwise I'd say, "I'll give you a hand!"
 

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Our club has a modular setup. We have a total of about 20 sections that comprise a layout that measures roughly 15' x 30'. It has a two track mainline with a dual siding track on one side for switching out trains. That would be on heck of a project for you to put together yourself in the time you have available, but may be worth consideration for future shows where you have some help. We can set up the complete layout with three people in an hour and a half.

Two views. Utah Garden Railway Society Modular Layout.




Transportation may be an issue as well. The club owns a 15' cargo trailer that the modular setup lives and travels in when not in use.

In the short term, We have found that two loops runnig opposite directions works very well. It seems to hold peoples interest as they never have to wait too long for another train to pass. It also allows for good photographic opportunities for people. We generally let one train run steadily and will start and stop the other, simulating switching, passenger stops, etc..
 

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Here's my 2c....First, find at least one other sucke...er helper, you ARE gonna need him. Not just for set up/tear down, but to help keep an eye on stuff while you smooze with people, go to the wc, and eat (or maybe see the show, lol). Two loops running in opposite directions is good. Three is better...the the third can be just a circle or small oval of R-1 but should have Thomas, Annie and Clarabel (a Stainz with "kiddie" cars will work in a pinch, but bright and cheerful is the key). This will get as much as or more attention than the "good" stuff .....

As for other advise, always remember the KISS principle. (Keep it simple, stupid!) the less exotic it is the less that can go wrong. Can't say enough about rubber bands as rail clamps.... they are fast, easy, cheap, reliable. Keep some bread ties handy also for "emergency" couplers. Have at least 2 more locomotives on hand than you think you will need (and an extra power pack). If your primary ones work as they should, you can always put the others on a card table for display. Literature is a MUST, biz cards are ok, a single sheet of paper better yet... colored paper gets attention. Sceneryof some sort is a "must have", but doesn't have to be very elaborate. Bring a station, water tower, a few of the houses and a bridge or two from your own pike if need be. This is the wrong time of year for cheapy xmas trees from the craft store, so here's where you get creative. If the rules allow see if you can borrow appropriate plants (in pots, lol) from the local garden center in exchange for a small sign ("Plants provided courtesy of XYZ Nurseries - (123)456-7890". A tunnel made of two folding chairs and a brown or green blanket with a couple portals is fairly fast and easy...Also, don't forget a toolbox!

Chairs...if you're gonna be there all day for one or more days those #$%& metal folding chairs are a real drag, at least bring a pad... one of those canvas things is more comfortable, but takes up more space and can sometimes be hard to get out of. Fence...gotta have it if you're on ground level. The decorative plastic garden fencing with the stake part set into little squares of wood is attractive, but rather expensive. PVC pipe and nylon rope is fast and cheap. Bring water, and maybe some hard candy, just talking is thirsty work.

As soon as I hit post, I'm going to think of at least half a dozen other things.
 

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This is a much simpler solution, but it works. Instead of ropes, put some yellow/black tape on the floor about 1-1/2 ft back from the layout. Get a few visitors used to standing behind the tape and the rest will follow suit.you can always add a sign that says, "keep children behind the tape."

Mark
 

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nick s. asked for pics after Llyn Rice's post.
Before flower show 2007-empty frame work



Flower Show 2007-why we do it.


Shelburne Museum Rail day -  2007


ALL of these setups used at least 5 people, and most twice that, plus a lot more person hours than 3-more like 60 to 120+

Suggest you do a dry run of setup, as doing 2 loops, and keeping them running, along with crowd control will be a challenge.
Please post pics, if you remember to take any(I had an open house and totally forgot!)..
 

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Better bring a friend with you. Wife, girl friend, neighbor, son or daughter. There will be a time you will need a bath room break, or something to eat or drink. Then there are problems with the train or operation, and talking to people. It's always good to have another set of eyes around to keep an eye on things. I was at one train show, and while the operator was busy someone took an engine (G scale), and another time a brass HO engine. The G scale was taken from a dealer table, and the brass steamer from an operating layout. The train didn't come around, and when they walked the layout the train was sitting with no engine or tender. Hope our endevor is successfull, I'm sure it will be a fun day.
 
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Discussion Starter #16
Thank you all for your replies,i will use them all i have recruted 6 bodies for help, i also took the advice and talked to a local nursery and they are going to donated some plants for the show, i just finished making 12 2ft tall exstansions for around the layout, bought 40 ft of indoor out door carpet today now just need to figer out track plan and what trains to operate, boy this is a lot of work but i think it will be a fun day after its up and running, hope we can get it done in 3 hours????? after this show i think i AM  going to build a large module layout to take to some shows. my brother has donated 25 sheets of 3/8ths plywood, i have the trailer 12 by 8  i used for harley daytona trips. just need to re think the track  and see if code 250 would be ok to run on the modules with normal large scale trains??? but i'm getting way ahead of my self. lets get thrue this show first/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/sick.gif
Nick/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
PS i just found out we will be setting up upstairs  GEEEEEZ/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crazy.gif thats going to be alot of lugging stuff up a flght of stairs..../DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/crying.gif
 
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