Just A Little Story

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Kanawha, Mar 9, 2008.

  1. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Let me share with you all a little story about something that was once very near and dear to my heart. I belonged to a model railroading club in the Phoenix, AZ area, I won't mention which one. I was a member there for over 10 years. Our membership was rather large, but our active membership was rather small. We worked very hard for many years to make enough money to construct a club building to call our own. Its not easy building anything in the deserts of AZ. The ground is very hard, the summers are 110 degrees or more. We dug foundations, poured concrete, walled and roofed a building of over 2500 square feet, all in our free time. Once that work was done, I was pretty much about to go to college. I had less and less time to go to club activities, but I tried to go as much as possible. After about 3 months or so that I wasn't there, I came back to find something new.
    The plans for our HO scale layout had been finalized. Despite numerous complaints about the unimaginative design, it had been started as such. :confused: And also, a group of new people had joined and were apparently calling the shots. We had been a relatively laid back club. We were in it because it was fun. But these new guys were rapidly changing our layout construction into something we never in a million years wanted, a chore. :cry: Older members were attending less and less, and these new guys had the gall to tell the rest of us that we weren't putting enough effort into the layout. Where on God's green Earth were they before the air conditioning units went in and we were doing REAL work every day, not model?:curse:
    I was treated like a newcomer when I returned, like I was incapable of laying some track without one of their "experts" looking over my shoulder. They said it was because they wanted to bring "standards" to the layout construction. I'm sorry, but who the !$%*@ are you to say my work isn't up to standard when you don't even know me?
    I talked to some of the older members about what was going on and they said they didn't like it either, but a few people had given in, and with a majority they started all these crazy new rules. I paid my dues and then some to the club, and I felt like I didn't even belong there anymore. I didn't go for several months. They finished the new HO layout, with their Nazi-like rules for how it operated. It wasn't fun, it felt like work. And so its been about a year and a half since I went. A lot of people I knew there stopped going as well. We were a very close knit group, but thats all changed now. :(
  2. RonP

    RonP Member of the WMRC

    Basscially stole the layout from the founders ? wow I would try to retain ownership properly with an executive committee as loosing out on your vollunteered sweat is a damn shame.

    I wish you all the best.
    And as a relatively new member of a club, I think I am going to just shut up and build for a good while yet.
  3. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I scoped that same place out about a year after you got the building up. I really wasn't sure if I wanted to join the HO group or the N scale group. After visiting the club during several building and operating sessions, I became of the opinion that the HO side was pretty much a select group of grouchy old guys that could only blame everything wrong on somebody else using the foulest language possible. Therefore, I joined the N scale side. After only a year of membership, I became frusturated with the politics of both sides as a whole, and I got tired of seeing parts of the layout I had worked on get destroyed. I quit going, let my membership run out and built my own layout at home. Every so often, I visit to see the progress (just today as a matter of fact) and the members tell me to come on back but I dunno... The N scale side is even less interesting than the HO side... a real waste of space. Several times I gave ideas on how to easily make it more interesting and I was met with, "we don't have enough room for that." How big is that building again? I'll be there for next weeks swap meet though.
  4. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Its actually close to 3000 square feet. 30x100. Yes, they had enough room in there for anything but an airplane hangar. But bad layout designs put an end to that. Oh well.
  5. coachC

    coachC Member

    Sounds like a bunch of chodes !! I would just tell the name of the club and get it out there. They deserve to know that what they did was unacceptable in the model railroading community.
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    I've seen the same thing a few times.

    For one, I had some friends that operated a club in western Ohio. They were operating a few 1:1 scale excursions per year to raise money to purchase the depot they used as a club house. Some new members showed up, and the old members are essentially gone. Swept out...with them went the plans to actually own their building.

    I was part of a really cool club down here, but I found that the once a month members were darn good at elected a few people to the board whom were awful. Those of us that were several-times-per-month regulars knew it, but it didn't help...we didn't have enough votes. Fortunately the worst of them was voted off. I got tired of back stabbing politics whenever someone tried to really organize something, and joined a Bible study on club night instead. Still a great group of guys though.

    The contrast:
    My dad's group with the 765 has endured quite well through the years. They emphasis short leadership terms (easier to re-elect good ones than get rid of bad ones) and have done a good job of keeping long-time members in the decision process (my dad and the other remaining co-founder are currently VP and president)...but still getting some new blood on the board. They've only had a couple implosions in 30+ years...but neither interfered with the mission. It probably helps that there are far fewer people whom understand operating mainline steam than their are whom understand how to build a model railroad :thumb:

    It seems that the big challenge is mixing new blood with old blood...but the new learning from the old.

    Hopefully things will improve for you...Kanawaha and Trainnut.
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    That really is awful to hear. Especially after you put so much into it to get it off the ground. I know I'd be livid. Too bad there is no way to put pressure on these interlopers seemingly taking all the credit and control away from the founding members.

    While I hold out hope that people are generally decent and want to do the right thing, I also believe that sometimes people also need to be told to take a long walk of a short pier every once in a while. That's putting it nicely too.
  8. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Sad, but typical. Some people just like to take stuff over. These may just be people without home layouts trying to make the club layout their "home layout", and design it to their wishes while ignoring the wishes of the group. Everyone else won't speak up loudly because a) they don't really care enough to start an arguement b) they feel that if they get aggrivated, they can just leave. The problem is, if the controlling people want to do things that the majority doesn't want to do, you wind up with a lot of un-motivated club members and nothing gets done.

  9. sgtcarl

    sgtcarl Member

    I am saddened to hear of such atrociuos behavior by "grown" men. Sounds more like childishness, than anything else. Ssome people are just like that, though. Who owns the building? Whose name is on the title deed to the property? Sad to say, but maybe you could find some legal way to roust the take-over bums.
    In short, "God forgive them for they know not what they have done." What goes around, comes around, if it doesn't jump the tracks.
  10. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    Thanks for all your comments. It makes me feel better to hear this isn't an uncommon thing. I've moved on, I'm gonna start a new layout of my own once I have the room. Right now I'm slowly building up an engine roster to keep my interest until such time I can really put them to use. There are a lot of nice models out recently. I wish I still talked to some of my old pals there, maybe I'll stop by next time I'm in the area to see whats new.
  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Human beings have several bad features hard-wired into them. One of these unfotunately happens to be the "lead dog" syndrome.

    One of the majors reasons I do not belong to a club in my area, as much as I would like to, is my previous experiences with modeling clubs. Personally, I detest politics in all its forms, and I really detest it any type of recreational setting.
  12. scubadude

    scubadude Member

    :agree1:...I tried a club for a short while and the politics were oozing all over the place. Two meetings later, I bailed...That's why my club is my own, my meeting place is in the spare bedroom, and I can do what I want when I want with no unwanted comments from anyone. I rather THE Gauge be my club, as you guys OFFER advice and opinions without forcing them on anyone!!!! THE Gauge is THE best mrr club out there!!! :thumb:
  13. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    The biggest and oldest club (I believe) in my area (Ottawa Valley Associated Railroaders) does not have a layout, in part for this very reason.

    There are lots of "round-robin" operating groups in the area though. They all seem to follow one rule - - "house rules". Wherever you are, owner's rules apply. Works very well.

  14. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Hey, there are plenty of us gaugers in the phoenix area. I'm kinda busy most of the time, and with a little bad luck, I havent had the opportunity to meet up with the others. But I know several of them get together for the local shows, and when I get my layout into a "more than benchwork" stage, I plan on having an "open house". Sometimes having a friend with a good layout is better than a club.

    And this IS the most friendly forum on the net. Wander over to the model railroader forum and watch people getting into pissing contests over the silliest issues. I've seen someone post a photo of their hard work, and rather than people giving them compliments on their attempt of doing something, the armchair modeler who doesn't do ANYTHING will pipe up and belittle other's work as crap.

  15. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    I've often wished I had some expendable income every month for rent so that I could start my own club... but then you get into the politics thing all over again.wall1 I hear the guys over at McCormick are getting a new BIGGER building!
  16. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    On that note...I happen to notice there is a few of us in Onteribble. Perhaps at the next train show we could hook up. That would be pretty sweet. :wave:
  17. Glen Haasdyk

    Glen Haasdyk Active Member

    The Club that I belong to had a simular problem. It had about 30 members, havlf wanted to work on the layout and operate (fun operate) and the otherhalf either wanted to just sit around (which was okay) or try to tell the others what to do. Things came to a head one night and the other half (non-workers) left to form their own club. Since then the club has operated quite well. I think the secret to our success is the fact that we deliberatly keep our membership small (under 15). Of course that doesn't work for other clubs that want their own building, but we get space for free from the local museum.

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