Courtesy While Visiting A Layout

BarstowRick Oct 2, 2009

  1. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    This won't be one of those questions like you find typically thrown out here. Where a discussion will rage on and the promoter never participates. This is meant to be a running commentary, one where you can feel free to add in your comments and thoughts and know I will chime in from time to time.

    The subject: Courtesy While Visiting A Layout

    I will start the ball rolling by suggesting some courtesies and you can add your own or comment pro or con about something I or anyone else has said. Yes, we need to keep it civil otherwise the moderators here will shut us down and leave us out in the cold, with no food or blankets or .... and we want to keep those NMRA Ninja's at bay as well. Oop's I must have gotten carried away here.

    Adam, a premier president of an outstanding model train club noted a few things with regard to this subject on a prior thread..."Weight" in train cars as in when is to much, to much? He suggested that if you come to visit his layout and or the club's layout and your train cars don't run well on either one don't take out a pair of pliers and screwdriver to adjust the track. That should be a given but I've seen guys attempt to jump in on my layout and try to rebuild it, when I just finished checking it with a NMRA gauge, in their presence...(right in front of them) and it's fine.

    Here we go: Courtesy Dictates

    Hands off someone else's layout and train equipment unless invited or directed to do otherwise.

    Don't wave or point into the layout. The stove or diesel unit you inadvertently knock off the tracks and hits the floor comes under the category of "You broke it you bought it", as in you will be expected to replace it.

    Home layouts and some club layouts will have tight areas to get into. You don't go there unless invited and when you do so you watch your elbows, dun lapped tummies and your hands. You want to leave the layout and train equipment in the same shape you found it.

    Truth, should you damage something it's best to admit it and say how it happened. Most of the time it can be fixed quickly. If they end up troubleshooting and spending hours on figuring out how it may not be invited back.

    You see a derailed car, broken rail, switch hasn't closed and you are tempted to reach in and correct the problem....DON'T. Advise a club member of the problem and let them fix it....unless invited to provide assistance.

    Unless invited to provide assistance. Usually you have the trust of the club members and their president. If you have arrived at such, guard it carefully by continuing courtesies on your part.

    Ok, that should get us started.

    Now you can add your ideas, comments and thoughts on the subject. Feel free to jump in as many times as you'd like and add something you may have forgotten.

    Civil guys and gals. Forward, to the point and clear as a sunny day in Ohio... but we must keep it Civil. :we2-policeman:

    Being mean, ugly, awful and testy is in my job description. What, what, what did he say?
    I used to be a supervisor and sometimes, I glitch back into that roll. Like a dirty diaper...

    Have fun!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  2. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I would like to add that if someone suggests that there may be a problem to not take it personally if it's your rolling stock, loco, or track, but to work together in good faith to get to the bottom of it and resolve it.

    I have very rarely actually had to literally pull someone's gear off our club layout. Usually, we can work it out where someone checks the track gauge, etc., and someone else checks the car wheels, etc. and then we compare notes. Only a few times, when someone has doggedly insisted on pressing on and their constant dramatic derailments threaten other equipment have I actually seized something and removed it.

    Another one, and this is really obvious, is to not steal someone's gear. We've been lucky that we haven't had more theft, but we've had some incidents.
  3. sd90ns

    sd90ns TrainBoard Member

    When it comes to people looking at my layout I just ask them to keep their hands at their sides.

    One problem with visitors, besides the fact that they are Nazi Lizards in disguise here to steal our water and eat us. . . but I digress, is the aisles on my layout are built to my scale (130lbs) and don’t allow for much clearance beyond that.

    Like Disney Land I should have signs outside my layout room that reads “You must be this thin to view my layout”.
  4. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I always move slowly, when visiting. Less likely to bump into something that way...

    Also, I always ask ahead of time, for permission to bring along a camera.

    Boxcab E50
  5. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I don't always think to ask permission to bring a camera ahead of time, but if I do bring one I keep it in a bag and then ask, before whipping it out, whether photos for my own personal use would be fine. That way it's not a high pressure situation.
  6. RBrodzinsky

    RBrodzinsky Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I treat visiting a layout as I do going into a store with breakables. I may be in my mid-50s, but I still remember my mother telling me to keep my hands in my pockets and not touch!
  7. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member

    Hey! Nice (insert 200-hour scratchbuilt structure here)--*snap* Uhm, I need to go, I think I left the oven turned on at home...
  8. seanm

    seanm TrainBoard Member

    Guess I am never gonna get to see SD90NS's layout unless I cut myself in thirds. Naw, too much mess.
  9. absnut

    absnut TrainBoard Member

    DO NOT offer advice, criticize, or count rivets unless specifically asked to do so.
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Let's say you are invited to operate on a club or persons layout. Ask about the rules of operation. If there isn't any then by all means remember common sense and courtesy dictate the days fun.

    I would suggest following the rules of the 1x1 foot scale trains as much as possible. Yield to another train as per regular rules of operation.

    One club I operate with has no rules, it's first train to arrive at a block occupies it. This does create for some operational night mares that are a real kick to work through. That is if you like that kind of thing.

    Keep a sense of humor about you. There will be times you will all want to throw up your hands, pack up your trains and head home early. Seeing the funny side of something can be a real relief valve and once reset you are on your way to working it out. Having a bad temper and my way or the highway attitude can rue the day.

    Don't be handling other members train equipment unless you have their permission to do so.

    Find someone you enjoy working with. I found three guys I like to operate with. We take turns leading and following each other and we had a great day of fun.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  11. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Humm, I wouldn't of thought we'd have to talk about things you need to do at home before leaving. Turning off the oven would be a good idea. Now what structure was it you were asking about?

    LOL Good one!:pwink:
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  12. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

    At one HO club I am a member of and at the N Scale club all cars and locomotives are "pooled" in order to enhance operation.That is to say the train you sign up for could be pulled by my locomotives while the cars belong to everybody the only exception being passenger trains but,they to must be switch at each passenger terminal.

    You see this is the only way a point to point club layout can be fully utilize and enjoyed by all members.

    What are the rules?

    If you don't want a highly detailed locomotive ran tell the hostler and he will park it on the display(deadline) track in the engine terminal area..Better if you don't want it ran leave it at home.

    Treat all equipment as if it was your own-you break it tell the owner and come to a mutual agreement for repair/replacement.Failure to do so can lead to membership privileges being suspended.Repeated violations will result in termination of membership.

    All trains will be ran at scale speed..NO exceptions!

    All signals must be obeyed and called.NO EXCEPTIONS!

    There are several other rules as well that governs operation.

    We have signs for visitors..


    While you are welcome to take pictures we ask that you do not use tripods.

    While we welcome questions please refrain from asking the dispatcher or yard masters.

    If you would like to run a train ask a member and he will guide you as you operate the next available train...Oddly we don't get that many request.
  13. SleeperN06

    SleeperN06 TrainBoard Member

    I would have never thought about the camera. I personally would be flattered if someone wanted to take a photo of my layout. I guess I don’t understand that one unless they wanted to climb up on the layout or something.
  14. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I still have a place where a dancing girl can jump up out of the middle of my helix. Maybe there should be a rule against that? No dancing girls on my layout? I will have to think about that one. LOL

    Oh, but bring your camera.

    Seems to me I remember two very polite guests asking if they could take pictures before doing so. I did appreciate that and was "Flattered". They'd be welcome back here long as I'm here. On the other hand here's the key to the house and don't forget to feed the cats. Grin!

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  15. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    Fingers and hands found on my layout will be removed. You may reclaim them when you leave.
  16. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Ask permission to operate your equipment on someone's layout. Don't take your engines out and then ask permission. Generally, whether you will operate your equipment on another persons layout should be set up in advance.

    Does this seem obvious? I have had an open house and had visitors I did not know bring engines to operate. I am more likely to let them run one of my engines.
  17. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    As I told my children "Don't touch it. If you do I'll break your fingers off." Okay so I never broke their fingers off but they did learn at an early age to keep their hands off stuff, and I expect that others do the same.

    When I visit a layout (club or personal) my process is

    • Look but don't touch.
    • Ask questions on how something is done even if I have an idea. This provides an opening for the owner to talk about a process that he/she used to do something.
    • Listen to what the owner has to say since it is his/her show.
    • Keep my options to myself unless asked for input, and then do my best to not be critical.
    • Get permission before trying to go down any aisles. Removing any jacket that I may have on, trying to make myself smaller and removing the chance of snagging something with the jacket.
    • Ask before taking any photos.
    • If I see something that is not right, I point it out in a non critical manor, just because I think it is not right, it may be how the owner wants it.
    • When leaving I thank the owner for his/her hospitality.
  18. jacksibold

    jacksibold TrainBoard Member

    I would add " Look with your eyes not with your hands" (as i often told my daughter and now her children) and "Think as though you have just hired out on the prototype".

  19. DaveD

    DaveD TrainBoard Member

    Knowing how some people can be and how expensive layouts are, I think the people that allow others to use their layouts are a real sport. I'll never forget going to this model show/competition... I was walking around the tables looking at people's entries for the competition, including some very nice dioramas. Well, I'm looking at this one that has tons of detail, one item being these little thin antennas sticking up. A giant day-glow orange sign was two inches away from the model saying "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!" So right as I'm standing there, some guy puts his finger on one of the antennas and promptly breaks it right off. This isn't a kid we're talking about, or some person not in control of their faculties... This is a perfectly healthy grown man. If there had been a phone book sitting there, I probably would have hit him in the head with it.
  20. Rossford Yard

    Rossford Yard TrainBoard Member

    Only heard it mentioned in jest, but by all means, find something on the layout that you like or find impressive and compliment it, non CNW style (i.e., lefthanded). And, as a practical matter, if the wife is present, make sure you compliment her, too, for being as supportive as she is!

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