Clubs and organizations?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by RobertInOntario, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    I just thought I'd ask whether many members belong to many train clubs or associations? ... this could be either model railway clubs or heritage railway organizations.

    My tendency is to want to join "everything" so -- knowing this quirk about myself -- I've been purposely restraining myself from joining too many organizations. Right now, I belong to two heritage railway associations in the Toronto area (see and as well as an association of British model railway enthusiasts (

    But I find myself wanting to join several others, yet there is only so much time and money I can commit to this!! For example, I'm interested in 2-3 other heritage railways in Ontario as well as some vintage model train collection associations.

    Do other folks struggle with this? Am I on the right track by restraining myself and waiting to see how my interests evolve?

  2. Dick Elmore

    Dick Elmore Member

    :wave:I belong to a local model railroad club and to the Santa Fe Historical and Modeling Society. While these two organizations don't cost me very much money, they pretty much occupy all the free time that I have to spare.

    Texas Chief:thumb:
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Dick. That sounds like a good balance. Rob
  4. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

    Rob:wav:, I'm a member of the Union Pacific Historical Society:thumb: , it costs just $35.00 a year, and with it i get 4 issues of "The Streamliner", and a few other nice perks:winki: , WELL WORTH IT to me:mrgreen: .
    :deano: -Deano
  5. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Deano. That sounds similar to what some of the societies up here offer. I could also look into similar Canadian historical groups such as CP. Cheers, Rob
  6. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I used to belong to a local club here in the Phoenix area but after a year of many frusturations and waaaaaaay too much bad language I got tired of it and let my dues run out. My wife and I discussed areas of the house where I could build a layout and spend that time at home with my family instead. A far better scenario. I still occasionally long to be a part of that group but only because I could run the really long trains out there.

    COMBAT Member

    I have heard way to many others say the same thing about clubs. I like doing my own thing so I dont think I would fit in any place like that. I guess I am fortunate to have a room for such a large layout. :)
  8. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

    I am a member of the Central Arizona Model Railroad club.
    Currently we are a round robin group. We rent a church hall once a month for an all members meeting, a members swap meet and a show and tell to show off our trains to each other. We also have guest speakers.
    On the second meeting of the month, the group splits up into special interest groups that meet at members homes.
    This works out good as each member does his own thing on his home layout and has access to help from other members in the club.
    As for restraining from joining, I would research a group and get to know some of the members to get a feel of how the group functions and then decide if you would enjoy being a part of it.
    I had a bad experience with another model railroad group that I joined hastily without researching the group. It turned out to be a grumpy old mens club that was more into club politics than modeling. That turned me off to the whole club scene for quite some time.
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, Ray. That sounds like an excellent club -- good fellowship, offering practical advice and workshops. It sounds similar to the British one I belong to.

    Time is a huge problem for me when I have a young family, so I can't really join a "layout" club at this point. I can only be sporadically involved with whatever clubs I join.

    Too bad about the bad politics though -- it seems that they're everywhere!

  10. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    I don't belong to local clubs since there is not an N scale-specific one and the best general railroad club meets on Thursday nights, when I usually seem to have a class.

    I was a member of various railroad historical societies in high school and early on in college but as it wore on and my discretionary income waned I've had to drop them.

  11. TA462

    TA462 New Member

    I'm a member of a local club, its small with only 8 members. Our club house is the VIA Rail station in Port Hope. I'm also a member of the Ontario Northland Railway Historical and Technical Society. I just joined this group a few months ago because I model the ONR in HO scale. There are a few others that I would like to join but I'm not sure I could give up anymore of my time.
  12. myltlpny

    myltlpny Member

    I used to belong to a club. It was OK. As others mentioned, some could be a bunch of Grumpy Old Men who talked more about politics and less about trains. It was an N-gauge club. I got into N-gauge just for this club and for the social aspect of belonging to a club, and it was far easier transporting N-gauge than HO. The club layout was cool (they've since lost their space), but it takes a lot of time, something I just don't have. So many hours for maintenance, so many hours for construction, so many rules. It rather takes the fun out of trains, so I built a nice HO layout in my bonus room. I still collect and run my N-gauge stuff from time to time. I've been asked to join a new club forming, and at first I liked their idea of going from club member layout to layout. I like learning new things, even if it's not in my area of railroading. Now, they're talking about a club layout in a building. Count me out. I barely have enough time to work on my own layout, let alone a club layout.
  13. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    BINGO! At our club all the grumpy old men could do was curse, blame EVERYTHING that went wrong on somebody else and gripe about their wives. Plus, for the HO section, you had to literally take and pass a written test just to run a train on the layout. Not for me!
  14. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    That would be funny if it wasn't so bizarrely sad!

    I'm pretty much "lone-wolfing" it in the hobby & I'm happy to pop down to the basement and mess with my layout. As a father of two young kids, it's hard to get away on my own. Although there is a really good train club close to our house, I'm happy just to visit their open houses for now.

    In the future, I'd like to connect with other model railroaders for feedback, fellowship and operating sessions, etc. Ideally, I'd like to find a network of model RR collegues in the Toronto area for "mutual visits".

  15. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I belong to a modular ho club. I've met some great modelers at the club, and enjoy running my trains on a big layout when we set up. We set up about 6-8 times a year for weekend shows. Otherwise I intend to build a small switching layout at home. I've been fortunate with this club. I haven't seen any politics spoiling things, and it is pretty much a good bunch of guys to work with. I joined this club when first starting out in model railroading, and I've learned a lot from the more experienced guys about what works and what doesn't. Probably the biggest "downer" for me with the club was when Galen (Ocallie Creek) left the club to move to Washingtron State from So Cal.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: I've had times when I joined everything in sight, and others when I wasn't in anything. Sometimes you join because you want to support good work but you still get the appeals to contribute more (like PBS). Right now I'm in Platelayers, BRMNA, and NMRA on the model side and Bytown RS for Canadian news.
    There are both CPR and CNR historical groups/SIGs (Special Interest Groups) and I know TH&B and CP Electric Lines.
    Some clubs are very fussy about what they do. One of my friends left one because he couldn't run his trains there -- first it was wrong couplers, then it wasn't painted in the club colours.
  17. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Good points, David. I thought about joining BRMNA bought thought that the Platelayers pretty much covered that area of interest but it sounds like it's worth joining both. Would you recommend my joining BRMNA? I've also thought about joining some of the Hornby and Triang clubs. For example, the UK-based Triang society appeals to me because I run quite a few older trains, including a few Triang products.

    I think my Canadian historical railway interest is pretty much covered by belonging to the South Simcoe Railway and the York-Durham Heritage Raiways.

    There are so many branches to this hobby (modeling, collecting, historical societies, heritage railways) and corresponding clubs that you have to be selective! and I'm interested in all of these aspects.

    Cheers, Rob

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