Don't know the specific locality of any members as such Paul, but if you're in Birmingham, you have the advantage on me. Best layout in Birmingham, is Don Jones's Miniature New Street. I saw the layout in the 1980s, and even then, he need a few operators to help run the layout.
It's been expanded somewhat over the years I believe, and he needs up to 8 operators to run the layout on Open Days that he runs twice or 3 times a year. It's up in Sutton Coalfield. You should be able to find contact details via. the Internet.
The New Street layout in a back garden has an open weekend for charity every September.
You will find that many clubs don't actually have a large model layout for club members to use!
Most of the club time is spent building the large layouts and they get assembled and packed away at the start and end of exhibitions. And space restrictions can mean a layout has to be dismantled to allow space for the next layout to be built.
Warley MRC have not had a club layout for club members to use for 10 years until now (well there is an old EM gauge job but you can't run your latest Hornby or Bachmann on that) and even that was a very close run vote by commitee members with some for and some against. The argument for was that a members layout could be a draw for new members but the argument against was that this would be a dissentive to work on ongoing projects which have strict timetables unlike Central Trains!
The members layout argument won the day as more members would mean more working on projects (in theory!).
But being in a club often opens up doors and there are often people who would like and extra pair of hands. even if for the first exhibition you are only making tea for them. its a way in.
The best club i have ever belonged to was Gloucester MRC. they had/have great awdry which is a wonderfull layout but getting a bit tatty these days and the new one (un named when i left for uni) that is now up and running.
hi all, at the Melton MRC we have the best of both worlds it seems, The first Monday of the month (Monday being club night) is running night the rest of the month is spent building it. Seems to work most of the time.
Best bet is to do a search of local clubs and see if any of them are looking for new members. Then as others have said you may find they have a layout in the club room, but more likely you will be operating them at Exhibitions.
I am a member of a local club and we can only erect some of our layouts in the club room, and then it is only to check them for the exhibition apperances. However we attend about 10 exhibitions a year so there is plenty of opportunities to play!
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