Operating at the show

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RodTT
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Operating at the show

Post by RodTT »

While sorting through some old files I found this account of the first show I attended as an exhibitor with a friend some years back...

The show began and we were ready to start running trains on my small HO scale switching layout. The friend who’d come with me as co-operator is a seasoned British outline modeller but had never operated an American model railroad and had never used DCC. So I’d brought along some carefully prepared switching sequences, which I thought would be just the job to keep us occupied, the public entertained and help my friend get used to my layout.

I made up the first short train for him to start moving out of the fiddle yard. He soon got used to my DCC system and the Kadee couplers, and for a short while all went well.

Then he said, “Shall we put this blue boxcar on? It’s my favourite.”
“Er, no, not yet”.
“Well, we can stick to the list if you like…”

I could tell he wasn’t greatly enthusiastic. “I suppose there’s no real need as long as we’ve got something running”, I said, “yes ok, let’s put the blue boxcar on.”

“And we could put a tank car on. I like tank cars, they’re more interesting than boxcars”, he said. So I got a tank car ready.

We had brought seven locos, but only one had sound. Guess which one took up all the running time on his watch? With bell constantly on the go and horn blaring away?

When the next couple of kids came along to watch, he said to them, “These brown boxcars have chocolate in them, and the yellow ones have bananas”. Something told me he wasn’t that interested in sticking to the sequence.

But at a show, a layout is meant to entertain. And I realised that my friend needed to be entertained in a different way from me. So the rest of his stints at the controls were focused on running the sound-equipped loco up and down, colour-grouping the freight cars and getting himself into knots by seeing how many cars he could squeeze into a given section of track, despite my warnings that those sidings were pretty short.

Nobody really noticed. The layout was just as much fun for them. And as a bonus my friend turned out to be an excellent frontman. I relaxed, abandoned the switchlist and we both came away happy. Which is important if you’re going to need your mate’s help again!

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ConducTTor
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Re: Operating at the show

Post by ConducTTor »

Fun story. I imagine we're all pretty specific about how we run our trains. I for example MUST run trains at proto speeds. And never mix cars that would not be found together in real life. All that goes out the window when entertaining people at a show though.
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RodTT
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Re: Operating at the show

Post by RodTT »

Actually for me, the bit about not mixing cars all went out the window when I started with US TT! I just got what was available. I don't really like the pre-1970s roofwalk era but on my layout, 40ft boxcars with roofwalks and date markings as early as the 1930s run together with 50ft and 60ft cars from a later era.

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AstroGoat760
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Re: Operating at the show

Post by AstroGoat760 »

"I runs whats I likes, and I likes what I runs!"
Life is short, play with TT Scale Trains!

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Bigelov
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Re: Operating at the show

Post by Bigelov »

That is a great story. Makes me smile :)
Its interesting how different we all are in how we like to do things, and how sometimes we can just worry about things that aren't that important really. How you reacted to the situation is a great example. Being flexible is a good thing!
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