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Club v Stand alone

5772 Views 47 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  neil_s_wood
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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It is interesting that Model Railway clubs come over as full of old, boring and fixated individuals. Guess that with a club layout they might feel some "ownership" and resent new members. The existing membership might also not appreciate a new member that might effectively tell them that the 1890's model that they have been building in their own way for 5 years is of no interest as anything pre 1997 is boring. Whilst this is not quite what new blood is looking for I can understand those with a demonstrated long term commitment being sceptical of new faces who will probably disappear equally quickly.

The above is a complete contrast with my experience of the larger gauges. The 16mm Association & the Gauge One Association survive by having regular meets at the railways of the members. These are nearly always at someones home where hospitality is most generously provided and help/ encouragment unreservedly given. Families are welcome & wifes have as sociable a meeting as husbands. There will always be the odd sullen individual but in the groups mentioned they are an absolutely tiny minority. The other model group that I have experience of is the model engineering groups with the 3.5" & bigger models. They have always been delighted to welcome new members & are very keen to help you succeed. They can have fully equipped workshops for members use & there will nearly always be someone to help you use the equipment if you need it.

Seems an amazing contrast.

There is an obvious difference between the aims & timescale of the clubs. The OO/HO type club seems to be about building & owning a very limited number of railways that are owned by the club whilst the larger gauges are more about running trains on existing railways.

I guess you need to find a model club that has the same interests as you do. If there isn't one you can always do what the existing members have done already & set up your own.

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