Central Jersey Modular Club Interest

Jugtown Modeler Mar 11, 2021

  1. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    Hello all,
    Lurking in the background here for awhile.

    Now looking to drum up interest in forming a club.
    An opportunity has come up for a possible location to call home and likely have it as a rent$$ free space, although some community service time on a display layout would be involved. Storage space, work space and exhibit/show space would be available. Modular would be the most likely option. Location would be Flemington, NJ, 08822

    For now, a few interested individuals and I are leaning towards a modular T-track or FreeMo-N or possibly both(?) just to get the bodies in and some momentum.
    While communicating with the owner, I want to find some modelers looking to for this kind of an outlet. I have no real club experience and would be interested in more experienced modular modelers.

    For now, I would like to keep the discussions in this thread. Eventually, maybe via email or Facebook group?
    I am sure there is much more to address. Right now, just looking for interest and commitment levels. Still some time before space would be ready but would like to get a head start on this, so when we all get ahead of this covid, we can really get into this.

    Thanks.
     
  2. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    It's been a long time since I lived there but is there not already an N-Trak club in the loosely defined "Central Jersey" area? I'm asking, because I really don't know.
     
  3. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Northern NJ N-Trak, Jersey Central and NJ Southern.
     
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  4. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    Yes, my understanding is there are active N-Trak clubs in NJ of varying sizes and levels of activity. Northwest NJ, Northeast, NJ and South Jersey.

    There has been some interest in the FreeMo style of modular railroading as well as T-Trak. I am actively trying to create interest for those styles at this time. This opportunity for a "home" location is compelling if it works out. Thought for sure there would be more interest.

    Looks like a number of people have viewed to post.

    Anyone want to add some more thoughts and get more of a conversation going?
     
  5. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    There seem to be more western modelers posting here than eastern. Hopefully more New Jerseyan or eastern Pennsylvanian N Scalers might surface to participate. Like George, it's been a long time since I called NJ home.
     
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  6. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    My $.02 on the matter. First off I am not from the area, and I would not be joining unless in spirit! But I am a member of 2 clubs in my local area. One is an N-Trak (or whatever they are called now) and the other is a T-Trak club. Both clubs fit a niche that was missing in our area. First off the Ntrak club was born from a group of modelers that wanted the freedom to create the modules they wanted, and not a set of modules based on the ideas of others. While that first group has a beautiful layout that all has matching scenery, they were a bit too rigid in their rules. So some left and created a group that was free to build what they wanted and do it how they wanted. It's a pretty fun group.

    The T-Trak club actually spun off the Ntrak group due to reasons. But they formed a T-Trak club where there was none and we are doing pretty good with it. I actually spend more of my time with the T-Track group as it is a bit more informal, and the members are closer to my age, so conversations are a bit easier.

    So Starting a club sounds like a great idea. Find the niche that is not well represented but still popular. If that is T-trak or Freemo then run with it, but don't try to do more than one format. Having a club with more than one format for shows will cause a conflict of interest and membership will be hurt in that respect. If T-Trak or Freemo is used and you will have a clubhouse then a good idea would be to have "club" modules that live in the clubhouse for all to use at clubhouse events. This prevents the layout from being gimped if someone leaves the club, or takes their modules home for work. A club owned set of modules should be able to create a reasonable layout for public display, and would benefit from having a staging yard to assemble trains to go out on the main, and also a functional yard to show how switching works to the public, and to give operators something to do other than just running in circles. At this point you have a complete layout, and the club member modules just add to it and increase the fun.

    And for the dirty part of a club. You will need to establish offices, rules and regulations, a fee schedule, NMRA or not, Membership requirements and all the other dirty stuff that goes with being a formal club. It would also be a good idea to write the rules in a way that they could be changed as needed to allow flexibility as times and people change. You can google club charters and adapt them to suit the needs of your club.

    And don't forget about the most important part of the whole deal

    HAVE FUN!!
     
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  7. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks @Massey
    And thank you for your service.

    Appreciate the input.
    There was some interest 4/5 years back for a FreeMo N club but it never gained traction.
    I had hoped to find some people near enough to this location that had some level of club interest, then get together and hash out what direction to go.
    Probably a naïve approach.

    Guess I am a bit let down that there does not seem to be more interest. A few folks reached out but have little modeling experience and the one person who has modeling experience lives the furthest.

    I will probably attempt a meet and greet get together and at least find out how committed folks are.

    Maybe the best way forward is to encourage joining existing groups until we all have more experience with chosen modules and with a club setting.
     
  8. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I have posted things here that got little or no traction, it’s just what it is. Don’t gauge this forum as the only source of club members.

    So you can always start a club of 1 and run from there. Make a few modules that will fit on a table to two and rent a space at a show, when they open back up. Make a little sign stating you are looking for members to grow a new club, and run with it. Show them the merits of your chosen format and see where it goes. Once you get 5 or 6 members built up ask in a club meeting if they would like to keep this format or change to another. That would also be a good time to set the groundwork for the club itself. Gotta start somewhere, and a club of one is a start.
     
  9. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    Massey, you have a great idea there. Some shows will provide free exhibit space, particularly if you're not selling anything, as working train layouts of any size are a draw to the show. There is also the possibility of exhibiting at non-train shows, what I call "taking it to the enemy" :) .

    The nice thing about trying to grow a club this way is that by talking to individuals at a display, you and they can get a sense of whether they would be a good fit for such an organization. Train clubs aren't any different from other clubs... there are some whose only interest is running the club. (I'm putting this as diplomatically as I can.)
     
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  10. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I know exactly what you are talking about! Also look into schools when they do their winter fairs or even as a presenter. My HO Scale modular club in VA did this a few times. It was fun, and showed the kids something neat. We had fliers to take home to mom and dad and we would get quite a few visit us at the next show. Which of course would be on the show schedule we would put in the flyer!
     
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  11. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    I'm really glad you were able to get into schools! Up here, when my kids were still in school (one is 20 and one is 24 now), any attempt to bring something extra-curricular in was met with a polite "No thanks, no time in the school schedule." Or, "We can give you five minutes at the end of the year, maybe." I won't go into why since it would probably break several rules here, but it was quite disappointing.

    I hope that is only true in my neck of the woods...
     
  12. Onizukachan

    Onizukachan TrainBoard Supporter

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    Lol at above. I’m a club of 1.
     
  13. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    We would set up in the gym and throughout the day, grade by grade the kids would come and visit for a few 10 or 15 minutes, and they also had the option to see the trains during recess. A couple well behaved kids got to run the trains, and we would usually be done and gone by the end of the day. We had a little presentation to give them about the modules and the club, it usually took 3 to 5 minutes (the length of their attention span while trains are near by) and that was the show.
     
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  14. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    An update for those interested.

    I have spoken to the owner of Northlandz and he is welcoming the opportunity to have a club "Open House" next month.
    This will give those interested a chance to meet and discuss the possibilities, interest levels and direction we might go.
    Also, they will give us the opportunity to tour the railroad display.

    I am aware that among more serious modelers, this display does not represent the approach many modelers prefer. It is much more an artistic, creative fantasy than the scale modeling many of us prefer to represent and aim to achieve. But, having spent some time working on this display has given me a better appreciation of Northlandz's place as an attraction for non-model railroaders and as an inspiring intro the world's greatest hobby. People of all ages and walks of life come through and appreciate the world it's creator, Bruce Zaccagnino, has brought to life.

    The new ownership has spent 100's of thousands to up date and maintain the display. They are dedicating some space for a club to store, work on and display modules in return for a donation of time doing maintenance on the display layout. In lieu of rent, I consider this a fair offer. It will give us a chance to practice our skills and help promote model railroading.

    The current pandemic has put a damper on the display to bring in visitors but that is turning around as restrictions in NJ are lifted.

    Tentatively, we are looking at this club open house to be on the weekend, April 23 or 24. This is not 100% set yet. Stay tuned.
    If you are in driving distance of Flemington, NJ, interested in some form of a club (likely modular) and open to having a good time with fellow model railroaders, you are invited.

    This could be a great opportunity for modelers with a common interest to get together and learn from each other.
    If you don't have the experience, space, time and money to build that basement empire, a club module group might just be your ticket to enjoying the benefits of large layout train running.

    I will post a confirmation of the date and create a flyer we can share with acquaintances.

    Thanks.
     
  15. Massey

    Massey TrainBoard Member

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    I will be no where near you for your open house, but I will be wishing that everything turns out for the best for you all! Good luck!
     
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  16. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Same thoughts from here! (y)(y)(y)
     
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  17. SecretWeapon

    SecretWeapon TrainBoard Member

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    ATTN ALL MEMBERS OF NORTHERN, CENTRAL & SOUTHERN NJ N-TRAK CLUB!!!! APRIL 23/24 @ NORTHLANDZ.
     
  18. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    Appreciate the enthusiasm. Lets get a confirmation first.

     
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  19. umtrr-author

    umtrr-author TrainBoard Member

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    This all sounds very promising! It's certainly possible that you'll get some of the General Tourist Traffic interested as well. It's too bad that the World's Greatest Hobby promotion has apparently shut down-- their small "magazines" were great giveaways.
     
  20. Jugtown Modeler

    Jugtown Modeler TrainBoard Member

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    Update!
    We are set for an afternoon of model railroading at Northlandz.
    If you would like to join us, please note the requirement to RSVP in advance.
    If you have a module that you would like to bring, mention that in the email message.
    I am not sure how many, if any, modules will show up.

    For the time being, it was recommended to focus on the Free-Mo N aspect but we can certainly start and learn from the T-Track standards to get going and practice.
    I hope to see and meet a few fellow [​IMG] enthusiasts.



    Please use flyer email contact for questions and RSVP.

    (Let me know if you can't see the flyer above)
     

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    Last edited: Apr 8, 2021
    mr_mike_m, Massey, tonkphilip and 2 others like this.

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