Just got back from Tampa

f2shooter May 15, 2014

  1. f2shooter

    f2shooter TrainBoard Member

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    Evening all,

    I returned Sunday from the convention down in Tampa. Other than a few references in some ads I have seen almost no mention of the event anywhere. It was a nice venue and though the layouts we visited were too far apart ie. way too many hours on a bus, I did get to see some excellent working garden railroads as well as a couple of indoor setups. I was impressed by the use of space (why do they put houses so close together down there even if they aren't on the water?) the thought and planning and the execution of those plans in nearly every instance. One indoor layout was completely computerized and another was a building full of scale modeling as good as I've ever seen. Plenty of vendors too and lots of good prices. I aquired a Little Critter set NIB for $60 which solves my problem of getting a new locomotive for this year's Christmas train. The CBAM&J has also aquired another U25 as well as some passenger excursion cars and some badly needed boxcars. Looks like the paint shop will be busy the next few months. I also got some outdoor plumbing and a caboose for the hobo village as well as various odd parts for future needs.

    There were about 450 registered participants from just about every state and several countries including Australia and several from Europe.I did notice something I thought was interesting. There seemed to be two types of garden railroads.There were several gardens that had railroads added to them as well as several railroads that also had gardens. It's a distinct dfference in approach as well as what kind of operations were found. The first type tended to have fewer operations, fewer structures and fewer trains running at any one time. It was very relaxed and the trains tended to just cruise. A prominent feature in one of these was a comfortable looking hammock. The second type tended to be much more complex with more operational detail, more trains and more separate tracks to run several trains at once, generally noisier and more intense. I can't say that one was better than the other but they all seemed to suit their owners. I came away with several ideas for the direction of the CBAM&J and also discovered a few things I plan to avoid.

    There were several workshops held in the evenings. I found most of the ones I attended very useful though aimed at newer railroaders such as myself. I missed a cople I would like to have seen though.

    I don't know where it will be held next year but if it is within reasonable traveling distance I may have to go.

    Rick H.
     
  2. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I had certainly not seen or heard about such an event. Did you happen to catch a few photos, which might be shared?
     
  3. f2shooter

    f2shooter TrainBoard Member

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    I got a lot of photos and will post some later in the day. They've been having this event for some 30 years. It's usually written up in Garden Railroad Magazine in advance but not this year. I gather there may have been a few planning issues. Looks like it will be in Denver next year.

    Rick H.
     
  4. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    According to two sources, 160 registrants (worst ever), meaning about 300 bodies (spouses, kids, maybe none), plus vendors.
    Nearest tour railroad was 90 minutes one way.

    Been hearing for three years that the age of the annual GR convention is over. Needs to go to every other year if they hope to have anyone attend. Too much travel expense, aging participants.
    Dave
     
  5. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow. That's a sad read.
     
  6. f2shooter

    f2shooter TrainBoard Member

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    Interesting, I'd been told there were about 450 registered. The real problem in my opinion was in the layout tours. I was told by a participant who lives in the area that there were about 30 layouts within an hour of Tampa.We went as far as Ocala, Orlando and down to Ft. Meyers. Just too many miles even though there were some superb modeling efforts. I was the second youngest person on the tour though. The participants were nearly all retirees and I suspect that the average age in most forms of modeling is climbing. I'd agree that doing this every other year may be a good idea. I wonder what hobbies like railroading are going to look like a decade from now.

    Rick H.
     
  7. J911

    J911 TrainBoard Member

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    When I was an active large scaler now ho due to $ lol. I always seemd to be the young guy. Now at 30 I feel as though I still am. There is no grabb out to the young crowd. When I go Christmas shopping with my wife for our god kids, neices and nephews, Ive noticed over the years at big chains like Toys R Us carried less and less of model trains now zip, nada. There is no longer a hobby section. No model rockets even. Nothing to engage and stimulate the young mind. Not even a train set for the Christmas tree. If there is such a train set its plastic and battery operated. Even in HO scale I find it hard to join a club full of retirees no offence to anyone for those are the ones full of the most knowledge. I remember the worlds greatest hobby campaign which has seem to have dimmed. Time will tell but what can be done is maybe a train commercial here or there by manafacturers?...... I remember haveing several high school teachers into model railroading but were secret about it until they saw your diorammas or vast knowledge on railroads in history reports. All anyone can do is try and introduce youth to the hobby to continue the blood line. But times are tough even for a $20 box car kit even that for a kid.

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
     
  8. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Could that number have been the 160 noted above, plus their family members? If so, a way to inflate things a bit, or pad statistics.
     
  9. ScaleCraft

    ScaleCraft TrainBoard Member

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    They always pad the numbers. Makes them look better.
    In was involved in one or two conventions, know for a fact the second one they padded the numbers. HUGELY.

    Dealer halls are really stupid.
    I was on the other side for many conventions...same faces going past, for hours...days.
    All the questions are asked and answered in one hour, yet for some reason they keep the halls open.

    Tours are really the big thing, to actually see what others are doing.
    Seen a lot of bad, as in really bad, layouts over the years, and some really nice ones.
    To have them spread out that far away was poor....but if it's all they had to work with...can't fault them.

    Worst one I ever saw...Sandy Eigo....fresh retaining wall, fresh dirt, LGB track plopped on the dirt, potted plants and trees stuck on top of said dirt..obviously started two weeks before the convention and finished the night before it started.

    Then there was the BIG pike....all concrete retaining walls, huge curves, double track....yet one transmitter, and no thought to what happens when the transmitter batteries (imbedded) go flat.

    My problem was theft.
    When I get two pieces of rolling stock stolen during a tour, I decided I would never have a tour here again. Closed.

    We do normal, regular ops sessions, but no more public stuff.

    Dave
     
  10. J911

    J911 TrainBoard Member

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    Belongd to a club where we opend for garden railway shows, same thing happend. My own personal stock dissapeard! 2 tank cars and a reefer. That was the end for me. Sorry for your loss just thought I would let you know your not alone! lol

    Sent from my SPH-L710 using Tapatalk
     
  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I opened my layout for a tour one time. Although not the same scale, I was ripped off. I knew everyone who attended, and had my suspicions. That was it for me. Never again.
     

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