Courtesy While Visiting A Layout

BarstowRick Oct 2, 2009

  1. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    I have to say that well over 90% of the visitors to our layout are respectful, follow all the common sense rules, and don't steal from us.

    We're a fairly accommodating bunch. I am probably the "meanest" one out of all of us, and that's simply because I am less shy about telling someone that they're crossing the line.
  2. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    John, Thank you!

    I can't take credit for the thread but those who have participated here certainly can. :)

    Your layout is a joy to visit and you feel safe standing next to it. Mine on the other hand has track running around the lower deck and if I'm not careful my elbow can take out a whole train. Any equipment I have sitting on those tracks isn't safe for me or visitors. I typically keep the area cleared and then bring it to their attention that a train is about to move through the "Elbow Zone". Grin!

    When Steve and I visited your layout I'm not sure we were good guests as we did talk about our layouts. I believe we were comparing features we liked about yours to similar features we built into ours.

    Anyway, we had a good visit and want to come back again soon. Seems we are both tied up with things that have to be done before winter hits. We need to winterize where our flat lander friends don't have to.

    With regard to your :thumbs_down: comment. Most of my non-railroading friends have no idea what I mean by custom paint and detail work. Or the dedicated time and cost of such. As mentioned here by others they see it as a cheap toy. Even my ready made $60.00 to over $100.00 locomotives surprises them as I discuss the cost.

    A recent visitor had a very overactive son along. Even though he, the son, agreed not to touch, he went right into normal mood for a child and wanted to handle everything. His daddy put a stop to it immediately and shoved the youngster out the door. Don't I wish they were all that responsible. No damage done...this time.

    He was invited back in and lesson learned, kept his hands to himself.

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

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter


    You have to be assertive and unafraid to speak out. As a club member, I feel responsible to point out or make a visitor aware that he or she is out of line. The same is true when I visit another clubs layout. Kindly and respectfully...of course. Even so it can still come off as MEAN! To bad, it can't be ignored. It's a kind of self policing thing, where we all need to be active and watch over each others layouts.

    In Ohio, I was visiting a club and un-be-knowns to me a sting operation was about to take place. I ended up in the middle of it as I reported the theft, as it was in progress. I confronted the guy knowing full well the locomotive belonged to another club member. They got him, but for a minute or two they thought I was going to foil the sting. Just doing what I would hope anyone else would do if they saw my piece of equipment being lifted. Just doing what's right.

    Adam, you are one of the good guys and we need more like you.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  4. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter


    Thanks, Rick!

    I think that probably well over 90-95% of us out there are "good guys" it's just that the very small percentage of "bad guys" kind of screw it up for the rest of us.

    I am pretty assertive about these things. The usual transgressions aren't much - usually people wandering into members only back areas (all the best views are in the public areas) or grabbing at things. Most of the grabbing has been dealt with since we have a plexiglass barrier. It was put up to limit damage and theft. It's too bad, but because of all those who didn't follow the basic rules we have basically barrier between the layout and the public.
  5. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    One more shared incident. Now you can get yourself in trouble with asking someone not to reach in and touch a layout.

    I spotted a fellow who had his kid in his arms and allowing him to reach over the plexiglass barrier to pick up something off the modular. I walked up and remarked to him that most clubs don't want children reaching into the layout to pick something up. He responded, with a kind of look of surprise...he didn't know me. When he turned I could tell from the patch on his pocket he was a club member. It was his kid picking up something off of their modular. Realizing my error I was about to apologize. When, He said with a big smile, I don't know you but I appreciate your willingness to say something. I belong to the club and proceeded to introduce himself and his son. A handsome lad of two years old.

    I ended up getting an invite into the interior and allowed to run a train or two. I still wish that club was closer to where I live. A bunch of good guys and model rails that actually know how to run trains.

    Well, at least it seemed like I might be in big trouble for half a second or two.

    I still think we need to look out for each others layouts and protect them and the equipment to the best of our ability.

    As Adam pointed out: I quite agree the majority of model rails are the good guys.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  6. brakie

    brakie TrainBoard Member

    Pat wrote:I was operating a priority passenger train and came upon a caboose and a pair of flat cars sitting on the main while the rather small extra train was in the runaround track and switching an industry. He was clear of the mainline except for the last three cars. The club rules specifically stated not to leave cars on the main at this location. He was supposed to have flag men out protecting the cars on the main and notify the dispatcher. Anyways, My train came out of the tunnel and hit the cars. Nothing derailed but I felt a little bit of heat for that one too.
    Pat,Enquiring minds would like to know.Where was your block protection? The CTC board should have shown the block to the occupied.The last signal you past should have shown a ABOSOLUTE STOP...What was the DS doing? Why didn't he contact you?
  7. SteamDonkey74

    SteamDonkey74 TrainBoard Supporter

    We had a club member at a show ask one particular kid who kept putting his hands up and over the layout ask the kid to stop. He stopped and then promptly had a meltdown because, perhaps, nobody ever told him no before.

    His mom came over to get in my club-mate's face about being "rude" to her boy. We started lining up with the club-mate as he advised that her son had been grabbing at stuff and that we don't allow that, and saying "no" is not rude.

    I am a parent and say "no" to my kids, sometimes several times per day. I think sometimes NOT saying "no" is actually a disservice to young children.
  8. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Good question:

    This reminds me of another occasion where three off us model rail train crews was operating two trains westbound, that needed to go into one siding / block and the other train an eastbound, opposing passenger train running at break neck speed was about to drop in on us. I was the second train into the siding having been given a warrant to pull forward up to and behind the first train, in hopes I would clear. The crack passenger train was one curve away, almost on us. My crummy foiled the switch and despite trying to compact both trains by pulling them forward and then in reverse we still couldn't get that crummy out of the switch. I signaled an emergency stop to the engineer of the passenger train and he was able to make the stop in time. Because, his passenger train was shorter then the siding, he was able to pull in so both switches to the siding cleared. The first train, ahead of mine was given clearance to highball and pulled out of the siding allowing me to pull forward and release the switch to the now stopped passenger train. The points aligned to the passenger train and clearance given to the engineer of said train, (big smile on face) he then highballed out of there and things got back to normal.

    Now, I like these kinds of operational problems as it can make things sticky and yes accidents happen. Vigilance being a key factor here. To hear my family of rails talk this happened more often then they liked. In our model railroad worlds we aren't so far off from performing the same functions and problem solving as does the rails on the 1X1 foot scale.

    It is fun!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2009
  9. Mark Watson

    Mark Watson TrainBoard Member

    Kid's with model trains remind me of the Marshmallow Test

    [ame=""]YouTube - kids and the marshmallow test[/ame]

    While I was visiting home this past August, a friend of my mother's came to visit from Montana with her husband and two young boys at that age where most kids are hardest to control. Their kids, however, are simply the most well behaved kids I've ever witnessed, and to top it off, their oldest son has down syndrome. I offered to run trains for them, and their father simply said "Let's go be guests in their train room". Instantly their sons put their hands behind their backs and walked into the room. As I ran the trains for them, the kids kept the best behavior up. Instead of pointing and reaching like even many adults do, the kids would say "Look at the red and silver one daddy", with their arms still behind their backs. Impressive for any standards, but the fact that one of the boys even had down syndrome makes these parents outstanding. If they can teach great behavior to their kids, anyone can teach it to their own.
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter


    The parent should be taken out and spanked. No child should be left alone in any environment. A parent that does so is putting their child at a high risk of abduction or worse.

    Telling the child "No" and attracting the attention of the parent is the best thing you could of done for that child. No problem-o!


    What a interesting story. Every parent should read it. How about that?

    And the marshmallow test says it all. LOL

  11. GP30

    GP30 TrainBoard Member


    1. That portion of the layout was "dark" (hence the reference to flagging read of train) and operated with train orders. Was informed that train would be in the siding but I was to pass at restricted speed. The cars were parked in a low visibility area behind a couple structures. I think he uncoupled them and they rolled a little ways down the main.

    2. Dark territory

    3. Dispatcher wasn't informed the local switcher intended to leave a couple cars on the main.

    4. Engineer violated the rules by failing to notify me (his orders said I was to pass him at that location), and failing to protect the rear of his train. He needed to do one or the other; call me on the radio system or place a flagman out.
  12. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    I see we got moved. To hot to handle for the N scale group. :)

    If I may back track to a club I visited in Ohio. Amazing group of guys and gals. Seems to me there was two ladies in the group.

    They use hand signals much like those used by the real railroads. The engineers of the trains operated from a booth and at times unable to see the train. In order for them to know which direction they needed to go, when to stop and when to get underway they had hand signals that would inform the engineer. Working a local and acting as a brakeman, signaling the engineer as we see sawed our way through the job, setting out empty freight cars and picking up loaded ones. I got a glimpse of my engineer watching me like a hawk. I think he enjoyed it as much as I did. I absolutely enjoyed it... operating trains in this fashion.

    Has anyone else had this experience?

    Oh, I wasn't a member...when invited to participate, I didn't pass up the opportunity!

    Courtesy does count.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2009
  13. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    I don't know if anyone else has noticed that Rick has the power of persuasion down pat.

    Be afraid, very afraid.

    Not really, when Rick visited me the heat of my garage in summer took care of him in short order. Even when offered a throttle he seemed to think it better to just enjoy watching.
  14. GeorgeV

    GeorgeV TrainBoard Member

    I have a "one of these days when I get to it" project to make a sign about keeping your hands to yourself.

    There is a web site for fans of old computers which has the following text on it. Way back when we had this posted in the computer room where I worked:

    ACHTUNG! Alles touristen und non-technischen peepers!

    Das machine control is nicht fur gerfinger-poken und mittengrabben. Oderwise is easy schnappen der springenwerk, blowen fuse, und poppencorken mit spitzensparken. Der machine is diggen by experten only. Is nicht fur geverken by das dummkopfen. Das rubbernecken sightseenen keepen das cotten picken hands in das pockets, so relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights.

    There's a model railroad version of this text rattling around in my head somewhere - just have to shake it out and make up a nice sign in a big "railroad-ey" font.

    George V.
  15. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    Now John, don't be tell-in stories on me like that. It might ruin my image. Grin!

    I know, I know...what image?

    He is so right about the heat and sitting on my tush.

    I rarely jump in on the first visit to operate. I'd rather observe and watch what the club or private owner is doing. Some clubs like to just run trains while others have all kinds of switching puzzles built in and switch jobs to work.

    Next time John, next time.

    Me thinks I will hear... Rick, it's time for you to go home.

    Bringing up another point of courtesy, don't overstay your welcome.

    It's all about having a good time and good clean fun.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2009
  16. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    I've already said what I'd do if someone was visiting my layout.
    What I always do when visiting somebody else's, unless told otherwise from the get-go, is:
    1: Don't touch
    2: Refrain from any comments, good or bad, about the layout or location the layout is (house, barn, warehouse) unless specifically asked.
    3: If I think I might want to run some of my trains on the layout, and don't think to ask before, I'll take them with me, AND LEAVE THEM IN THE CAR. Ask before bringing them inside.
    There have been some layouts I've seen in person I wouldn't put a 30 year old Bachmann F unit on, and some I'd be embarrassed to put my trains on.
    4:When in doubt, ASK.
    5: Shower before visiting...:tb-hissyfit:
    6:I bring some kind of treat (donuts, cookies) along to bribe, err, promote goodwill.
  17. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    So Terry, when you coming over? I like the chocolate covered cake donuts and the apple fritters and be sure to be here by breakfast time. Grin!

    Is that presumption or presumptuous? Overstepping ones bounds. Probably but when it's met as a joke...nothing but fun.

    There are times when a conversation will lead in a direction you can give constructive comments and or suggestions for improvements.

    Yesterday, afternoon I visited with someone who is fast becoming a good friend. He had a problem with a switch and Steve volunteered my assistance. Greg, allowed me to look at it and I followed his directions, made a few suggestions and asked permission before manhandling the switch. Turns out it's not the switch as it is gauged properly and everything works as it should. He had put the track leading into the switch on an angle instead of a smooth arc. Once we figured that out and he could see it, he then asked me to step back so he could fix it. I did just that.

    The point is we can all help each other but it needs to be done carefully, respectfully and in a way that uplifts the owner and not put him or her down.

    You ought to see the buildings on Greg's layout. Detailed, lit and with interiors. Amazing.

    I'm not afraid to compliment anyone's work and show a real interest in what is going on.

    Should you ever visit my layout. I won't be offended if you say you don't like where it is. I don't either. That I have to much going on, in such a small space. I would agree. That you would worry about the extreme heat and cold we get here in the mountains. So do I. The track is to close to the edge. Yes it is so watch your elbows. It's scary to run your trains I'm afraid they will fall off the track and onto the floor. Me too!

    One friend of mine commented, "This is crazy to have a layout that nice in a metal shed", I concurred with is crazy. However, that's all I got right now. I wasn't offended and ended up laughing and having a good time. You see a good attitude toward your guests is important too. You can choose to be offended or sluff it off like water on the back of a duck.

    If you want to bring your trains over to operate on my layout you need to ask in advance. Because, there are two things I will ask you do to before you get here. One, make sure your wheels are clean. Two, check the gauge to be sure they are properly gauged. You don't have a gauge, no problem, I do and we can do that when you get here.

    You will know when you can be free with your comments and you can't and I agree it's better to error as per what Terry, just shared then put something out there that may hurt your host's feelings.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2009
  18. Tracy McKibben

    Tracy McKibben TrainBoard Member

    I'm about to suffer through some of these "don't" rules myself. In a sudden turn of events, my brother-in-law is starting a 6-9 month work project in North Dakota (they currently live in Ohio). Three weeks from today, his wife and twin 4-year-old girls will be living with us for 2 weeks while he squares things away in ND, and their stuff is in transit. During those 2 weeks, they will be here alone while my family is at work/school. None of them, girls or mother, have ever been around a model railroad. I've considered putting a lock on the door, but that would make the laundry facilities unavailable as well. I'm hoping I can convey the seriousness of the situation to their mother. Otherwise, I may have to chain a rabid Rottweiler to the layout... :tb-wink:
  19. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    May the great one have mercy on you and your layout. May he watch over and protect it.

  20. maxairedale

    maxairedale TrainBoard Member

    I think that a rabid Rottweiler will cause more problems then it will cure.[​IMG]

    Any way to put of a barricade (other then the fore mentioned Rottweiler) and still have access to the laundry? A sheet or 2 of plywood between the laundry and the layout for example.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!


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