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Is it worth belonging to a model railway club? Let the debate begin…..

Have you found the 'Club clique' extremely hard to break into?
I do wonder, as sometimes encountered, the 'old club members' who don't want newbie's or aren't to pleased to pass on their skills etc.
While the overall picture is one of gaining vast expertise from those who have been club members for many years, in reality often it is found that your efforts are scorned upon as being 'below club standards' etc.
You can often be placed under pressure to give up your weekends to help out with layout operations and use your car as a vehicle for club use in transporting layouts and members to from exhibitions etc.

As a 'stand alone' modeller one can gain information, expert advice and even watch demonstrations etc.
Magazines, books, videos/DVDs and the internet all offer a wealth of help guidance and knowledge.

What a stand alone doesn't have is first hand one to one debates, but even this is now taken care of via forums like this one!

So, is club life worth the hassle??
 

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I admit to not being member of my local Club.

The main reason for this is not anything to do with what you've said Brian, but simply a question of lack of time.

In addition, my wife would object strongly to me spending more time on Model Railways than I already do.

It's purely subjective anyway, because the 2 evenings my local Club meet are the very nights that my wife goes to keep fit, and the night I go to the boozer, so I 've never managed to go.
 

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My experience with the local model railway club - most certainly not impressed.
After many years away from the hobby, but having retained all rail and rolling stock, decided to approach the local club for assistance.
My main point was to decide between an oval or a fiddle yard layout on the chosen size of board 8'x3.5'.
Having contacted the club's secretary by telephone and explaining that I was undecided as to which type of layout to construct.
Secretary, suggested it be best to come along to a club night, see for myself the various layouts built by the members and pick up some expert tips.
On the chosen club night, I presented myself to the secretary and was immediately told to have a look around, however the secretary went on to say all present including himself, were far to busy preparing next years exhibition entry to spend time with me. I must say, my visit was cut short and I never did visit the club again.
 

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I think that time prevents me from joining my local club. It wouldn't be fair on Mrs spongebob if i went gallovanting off out one or two nights a week leaving her to babysit little sponge especially as she has him all day too. Distance isn't an issue as there are at least 2 different clubs within the Bradford area. There is of course the issue of finding out how little you know when faced with someone who has spent the last 30 odd years honing techniques and researching things. I suppose there is always the issue of if you get stuck with something there is always someone else who can lend a hand or get you motivated again when its all going Pete Tong.
I've been to the last couple of exhibitions held by my local club and they are currently working on a very large layout of Leicester South which had definitely made progress between visits, which is more than can be said for my layout. Their wwebsite is also pretty good as well giving photo's of the various layouts. If anyone is interested heres their website address....
http://www.mphgate.demon.co.uk/mrail/shipley.html
 

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I would love to join a club, even if I went only on occasions. Unfortunately, the local club is dedicated to Swiss (naturtally), German and American railways in HO. British OO is a definite non-starter...
 

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Isn't this really sad? Surely the purpose of an MRC, local or national is to promote the hobby and bring newcomers on board.If all they are doing is for self gratification, then they serve no purpose whatsoever.i hate to think that this is true, but from all that I read and hear it might just well be!Come on MRC's in general .get your act together and help the hobby which enables you to exist!
 

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All clubs are very much "cliques" and it really needs a special person in that club to be able to nurture new members and help them to fit in. In the past I have been in many clubs from photography to cars and have always persisted in going back again and again, eventually being accepted as one of the gang. Many people can't do this and feel unwanted after their 1st visit and don't bother again. For some in clubs they can have a bullying attitude and this puts some people off. After contributing to many web forums I think that this is very prevalent in model railways. (Heads off incoming missiles from the few who do,.How dare I express such an opinion).
I like to get on with my own thing now and just stick my unwanted two pennorth into an odd reply now and again.(chastisement and insults heading my way)
 

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Drummond, I join you and agree in what you have written. It is hoped that you will soon be inserting another topic for all members to read and learn from your experiences.
 

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An interesting thread - I agree with most of what has been said above. I visited by local club when I returned to the UK six years ago but somehow my interests (which included Japanese and Chinese outline) did not fit in.

The "clique" thing was there - competition between interests maybe is healthy (it ensures layouts get built etc.) but what I saw certainly did not feel healthy.

A couple of years ago I got into garden railways and later joined the G-Scale Society and found a very different type of organisation. I've joined the Sussex and Kent Groups of the Society and have found an "openess" that did not exist in the local MRC. I put it down to the fact that "G-Scale" itself is a mishmash - you've got Harz, Saxon and Swiss narrow gauge (roughly 1:22.5) outline, US-outline (1:29 or 1:32), UK Narrow Gauge (1:18), live steam, battery, radio control, analogue DC, digital DCC all running on 45mm track. For meets we normally have one dcc track and one analogue track so that any combination of the above can run. Later this year another spanner will be thrown in the works when Aristocraft/Bachmann introduce their 45mm Cl.66..........Still not yet sure if I will get one of those - all I would have for it to haul are some US-outline freight cars but, then again, it might look good hauling a rake of Furka Oberalp/Brig-Visp-Zermatt/MatterhornGotthardBahn panorama cars on a special working........maybe I will buy one......

Keith
 

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Not for me, the local club N gauge members are into USA & DCC of which I want no part. If/when I find a club which wants to model the local scene, East Dorset, steam era preferably pre WW2 then I might think about joining, until then I'll save my time and money.
Cheers MIKE
 

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Perhaps from what I see in this string,it is not as i imagined a problem of the clubs,but of our perception of them.They do their own thing not mine thus I want no part.Surely for the benefit of the hobby in general,and for beginners in particular we should be able as a group of reasonable adults to reach some form of compromise acceptable to all.Just a thought.
 

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Yes this is an interesting topic, and so far theres not to many positive voices towards model railway clubs, and i'm afraid i'm not going to change that, I have had an interest in model and real railways for a long time, and thought it would be a good idea to join a local club, so when i found an address to write to i duly sent off for details of meet nights ect, the response was no reply, i finally found where they met, and invited myself along, blimy was it hard work just trying to strike up a conversation, but i persisted, i tried for a year and a half before i gave up, to many rivet counters, i enjoy running and building layouts, that did not seem to be happening there, so i have gone back to just enjoying playing with my own layout, its a shame really, because it does not promote a good image towards this pastime, and come to think of it, there was not very many younger people there either, i wonder why?
 

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As a garden railway man (plus a little O scale on the side) I have found that the G Scale Society and the 16mm Association were a lot more relaxed than clubs with a fixed base. Although some "large" scale societies have their own layout, most garden rail clubs rely on visits to members homes and I think this is helpful - there is little chance of the boastful rivet-counter blustering his way out of that - it's a case of "show me", and armchair members are quickly smoked out! The Merioneth Railway Society was also wonderful in the days when they had meetings at Keen House...... ah! Happy days!

Another informal society that punches way above its weight is the Colonel Stephens Society - anyone interested in light railways really should join this organization - www.colonelstephenssociety.org.uk

60134
 

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QUOTE (Thunder @ 12 Feb 2006, 10:04)Yes this is an interesting topic, and so far theres not to many positive voices towards model railway clubs, and i'm afraid i'm not going to change that, I have had an interest in model and real railways for a long time, and thought it would be a good idea to join a local club, so when i found an address to write to i duly sent off for details of meet nights ect, the response was no reply, i finally found where they met, and invited myself along, blimy was it hard work just trying to strike up a conversation, but i persisted, i tried for a year and a half before i gave up, to many rivet counters, i enjoy running and building layouts, that did not seem to be happening there, so i have gone back to just enjoying playing with my own layout, its a shame really, because it does not promote a good image towards this pastime, and come to think of it, there was not very many younger people there either, i wonder why?
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>
 

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My reply was not as above as i have not got to grips with the Quote system. I agree wholeheatedly that the clubs are hard to infiltrate. A bit like the KGB and Mossad.
 

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I might be accused of starting a trouble maker session - I only refer and have experienced the findings to exhibitions and club shows in the northern parts of Britain.
Personal experience has found that these shows in some cases resembles the local model railway clubs - cliques.
At one show in particular, I was interested as to how the layouts lorries, buses and cars were moving - politely I asked one of the layouts helpers, if he could kindly tell how it was done. After a moment or two, I realised that I was simply talking to myself, as no response to an answer was made by the person who I was speaking too. (Could it be, he was in the same position as myself).
Is it similar to railway clubs that exhibitors and helpers are far to occupied in running the layouts, or that the paying punters have no experience or enough expertise of running or building high quality layouts.
 

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I've been a member of the local club for a number of years now but I'm getting the impression that things here in NZ a vastly different to the UK clubs. Our club layout is intended to be permanent and because our members model all different kinds of railways the club layout could be described as "multicultural". As the only British Modeller who regularly turns up on construction nights I've been given a free hand to develop a "British" scene within the layout which also has American, European & New Zealand (of course) scenes. On public open days we encourage people to bring along their trains for a run and we've seen everthing from Trix Big Boys to Thomas and generally the whole place has a very friendly atmosphere.
We certainly welcome new members but we don't lean on them in any way, if they can only turn up once in a while then that's fine, we enjoy one anothers company mostly and talk for hours about stuff our work collegues could never understand, and if someone gets motivated we might even do some modelmaking.
 

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If you live in North Derbyshire, please think about joining our club, The Clay Cross Model Railway Society. We are an educational trust, we have a large new clubroom bought with charitable funding and we need new members. We like model the local scene from any period. The Midland/LMS or the GCR/LNER and BR. Currently we have a large continuous layout based on the Midland Main Line in the period 1955 to 1963 in OO Finescale.

See on CXMRS

Colombo
 

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My local MRC, Melton Mowbray Model Railway Club, of which I've been a member for about two years has a bit of a "clique" to it like most but I managed to "get in" with some of the members as of the 12 members (myself and younger brother included in that 12) I already knew 3 of them and didn't know that they shared my love of model railways. I joined just as they lost the use of the room they used to meet in and were in the process of dismantling there club layout. So round the taking down and relocation I got to know the "politics" of the club. What we have is a "leader" who puts over a "this is a democracy" air but always gets his way because he has an n gauge exhibition layout, a lazy arse who is more interested in drinking bear than building a new layout and always sees a fault in whatever is being done but never has a solution but because of his long standing membership gets his way so we're packed up less than two hours after the start time. And the rest just go along with whatever is happening at the time, whether that's going along with the leader or packing up earlier than I'd like. The only reason I still go down is to get some of my collection out on realistic workings without looking silly and to maybe get the odd contact for use on my brothers layout. Like the supplier of plastic sheet I've just got who charges about the same for a 4'x2' sheet as the local model shop charges for an A4 sheet. Any way back to the club Vs alone, well I have to say that in the two years we've been members my brother and I have made about 10 times the progress on his layout with just the two of us than the club has on the club layout with 12 bodies going at it in about twice the length of time according to the calender, so I have to say unless you're lucky enough to find a club of people who share your interests you're probably better of just playing trains at home on you own layout.
 

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QUOTE (5696Arethusa @ 14 Feb 2006, 18:57)My local MRC, Melton Mowbray Model Railway Club . . .
<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'll say one thing. It takes a brave guy to name the Club to which he is referring in the previous post.

I hope this doesn't have any unexpected results for you.
 
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