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I have not been to too many shows (yet). Our club does a layout at the two annual area shows, but we're the only large scale layout, all the others are those little things my old eyes can hardly see. We also set up for some other events like at garden shows and children's hospitals. We do this for several reasons. One is for our members who have a large collection of trains, but no layout. It gives them someplace to run their trains. Another is to promote large scale and get new blood into the hobby. And, of course, we want to show off our stuff.

But what about traveling to a distant show? Some questions on doing this. Right now, I'm thinking of SEGRS and HAGRS.

1. Why would/should members of a club pack up a bunch of stuff and travel 100-300-800 miles to a show? Does it provide any benefit to the club?
2. Do LS shows typically allow anyone to bring a layout, or are there certain restrictions or requirements?

3. Do LS shows charge a group to bring a layout (like a vendor's table), other than the cost of admission?

4. Can any club ask to bring a layout, or is it by invitation only?

I've seen show layouts that are extremely elaborate with lots of buildings, bridges, multiple trains, etc. I've also seen some modular layouts. I can see how this shows the skills of the club members and some of the things your can do with a layout.


But, I've also seen little more than some carpet and a simple loop with maybe a passing siding. What would be the purpose of such a layout at a train show? The club setting up may be far from the show. It is doubtful it would generate new members. It only shows that some sectional track can be put together, no particular skills.




Please don't get me wrong, I have no intent to criticize any club or group. Personally, I think the more layouts at a show, the better. I enjoy going to any show as just an attendee, looking at all the goodies. I'm just wondering about the value of possibly representing our club with a small layout. I guess some call them micro-layouts. But would it be worthwhile to fill the backseat and trunk with a small amount of supplies and set up one of the simple loop type layouts?


I will attempt to post a couple pictures from last years HAGRS, showing the elaborate and the very basic layouts. I do not know which groups set these up, and I have no complaint about either one. Personally I am happy to see any layouts, regardless of how big or small. I guess I just want to get a feel of the process and purpose of the various types of layouts.


Thanks for your comments.
 

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Those simple layouts on a piece of carpet like what you have pictured here is what got me started in G scale. It was in a Mall ( which since has been torn down) where a bunch of guys had put down a layout on Green Indoor/outdoor carpet. The had a few simple trestles. Some buildings. All the kids were sitting on the floor all around the layout. It was the most popular layout in the show. Everybody was having fun.

Some times people have to see the simple layout to realize "I can do that". Then they find MLS and find out "I can do that too"

Sometimes the larger layouts and their modules can be overwhelming. People need to see Humble Beginnings.

I do agree with you about multiple layouts at a show. The more the Merrier.

THE BIG TRAIN SHOW for years there was only room for one large layout on the Queen Mary. Now at the new convention center they have more room. It is good that more layouts are showing up at THE BIG TRAIN SHOW.

I know the logistics of hauling a layout and setting it up and taking it down are great and difficult but don't think it is not appreciated
 

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Hopefully the guys from some of the New England clubs and the Train Runners from Maryland get into this. They come to ECLSTS with literally truck loads of very creative modules, and set up layouts bigger than most individual home layouts. Also Brian Donovan and the Washington, Virginia and Maryland club are experts at really fine meeting layouts. These guys really know how to do it.
Paul
 

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As I belong to a few of the large scale clubs in New Englland I would like to see more G scale layouts at shows as well. The biggest problem is getting your foot in the door with the people who run the shows. Most of the smaller shows are dominated by people and dealers that do not have anything to do with G scale except for odds and ends pieces. So you end up with displays running what the dealers are selling. Mainly N, HO and O. Lastly the smaller shows have a limited amount of space and if there hasn't been a G scale display there before they might not have room for one.
LAO
 

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I recently attended a train show in Tampa expressly to see the Sundance Central Modular layout which has won so many awards. www.sundancecentral.org I was not disappointed! Also at the show was a Tampa Bay G scale club with a large floor level display of trains, buildings and vehicles which seemed very popular with folks of all ages. A beautiful Sn3 layout and a plethora of HO and N scales were also on display along with the usual types of vendors. The Sundance folks have exhibited far and wide (Portland ME to Portland OR) helped by a partial sponsorship from PODS, the storage people, which I understand is no longer in force. I was told it cost $12K to bring it back from OR last summer. They now attempt to offset their costs with sales of DVDs, well worth the money, you should all visit their website and buy some. It will make you a better modeler, Richard Schmitt and Dave Revelia are fantastic modelers and great teachers. But I digress.
Back on topic, our local GScale club has participated in many shows locally with our former modular set up and now mostly with track on tables, maybe a few buildings and vehicles and this is almost as well received by the general public as the former layout was and a heck of a lot less work. One great gig is at a local plant nursery where we set up the trains and they landscape it with rocks, plants and mulch.
Personally I have a 12'x16' live steam layout I built which friends and I set up to run our steamers. We have also traveled as far as Syracuse, Scranton and York at our own expense to enjoy ourselves and show off Gauge 1&O live steam to the public. Next month I will be participating at my second Greenberg show here in Rochester, NY and giving a clinic "Intro to Live Steam". The Greenberg folks do offer an honorarium. I have only been turned down once by a local small time operator who told me that he emphasizes things attendees might normally have in their homes and he knows of no one with a live steam layout. His loss... we did do a static display...not nearly as enjoyable.
I suggest getting in touch with show organizers and set up something, simple or elaborate to share the hobby you love with the public. If near enough to your base of operations you may get some new members but at the very least you'll get a lot of "that's cool!" "that's neat!" "I didn't know they made things like that!" "My late Uncle Joe had such and so" and that's enough reward for us.
Go for it!
Tom
 

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There is an extremely well done portable layout built by two men Bob Baxter and Don Gage, with the help of their wives, a few friends and family...

Hollow core doors were used as the support for the modules. Hence the name, "Door Hollow Shortline" the amount of detail is unbelievable....


Here is how it began.....(Don Gage and Bob Baxter)





This is how the "Door Hollow Shortline" as evolved...

And of course there is the other extreme the Del Oro Pacific that's billed as the oldest and largest modular in the world...but even something like this could be started with just a few modules....



In the roundhouse at the Sacramento Railroad Museum - July 2003





Mac's London double-decker bus serves Main Street USA
 

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A new show will frequently let MLS and other communities know that it is looking for layouts. An established show will usually give layouts that supported earlier shows an invitation to attend the next show and then invite new layouts if needed. I don't know about the large scale only shows, but for many of the multi-scale shows it is very difficult to get in if you are not a prior exhibitor. I have participated in a large number of multi-scale shows over the years and several large scale only shows. I have never run into a situation where a show charged a layout. But some shows limit the number of participating members and charge a fee for participants beyound the limit.

Bert
 
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