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Bringing NMRA to the masses

Posted: Sun May 25, 2014 12:43 pm
by trevorsmith3489
not the masses, but about 200 hardy souls in North Shields!

I have had a number of conversations with Mike Hughes about promoting NMRA in the North East of England.
NMRA membership here totals about 10 and with such a large geographical area travelling times and distances preclude successful meets. (Average numbers at the bi-monthly Northumria sub division meetings has been 3.)

Through membership of the Blyth and Tyne Model Railway Club I have had some success in promoting USA modelling:
the club now hosts the Northumbria sub division meetings
the club has purchased the California Surfline layout from Mike Arnold
the club has purchased some stock to run on California Surfline
one layout has a USA theme - Apache Plains
Contikits provided a trade stand at our open day - with a significant amount of USA based stock in N and HO
Mike Hughes has provided art work for promotional literature
Ron Gager has provided an ample supply of leaflets

Culmination of this activity was an Open Day at the club yesterday. While not a specific themed event, we had three layouts running in Z, N and HO!
Attendance was in excess of 300, and while many of the guests walked past without a second glance, we gave out about 20 leaflets and about 10 people entered into conversation about the layouts and about modellling the USA scene.

Apache Plains was built by a club member and donated to the club by his son when he passed away last year.
The Saturday Evening Post layout was given to the club after a near neighbour of a member found it in attic. It is ?Z? gauge with all buildings and scenery moulded in in glassfibre type material and came complete with a working waterfall and watermill!

Photos here

Videos here


Re: Bringing NMRA to the masses

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 6:28 pm
by Mike_R
I hope you do get some members out of it. I know a club I belonged to has gained members from a local exhibition.
Getting 300 for an open day is good going.

Re: Bringing NMRA to the masses

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 7:15 pm
by trevorsmith3489
Hi Mike

Yes, 300 is a good number and we did have three applications to join the club, but I have had no NMRA follow up.

My frustration from a NMRA perspective is the number of visitors who walked into the venue, had a look around, glanced at California Surfline and showed no interest.
In contrast, Apache Plains is just an "ordinary" club layout and has some out of scale real cactii and a wagon train surrounded by out of scale red indians.
I lent the layout a New Mexico Railrunner set of commuter coaches and the general public showed more interest and enthusiasm in this layout and stock!

As they say in my native Yorkshire - There's nowt so queer as folk


Re: Bringing NMRA to the masses

Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 8:51 pm
by Mike_R
Many people are only interested in something that stands out.
My logging layout would be three deep, but only if I was unloading logs into the real water ponds, otherwise nothing.
We have helped out with RS Tower at Exeter twice with a large modular layout. The layout was open to visitors in and around it, quite a few visitors would follow trains and operators as the trains worked along the branch lines. I suspect having sound fitted locos helps as well.
Over the decades that I've exhibited layouts, I've noticed you need a really good looking layout for the enthusiasts, but action for the general public.
Anson was another popular layout, here it was the constant movement of long (30') trains, working signals and again sound fitted locos.

Re: Bringing NMRA to the masses

Posted: Tue May 27, 2014 9:24 am
by tunnelmotor

Well done. Unless you try you never know and certainly engaging 20 people in conversation out of an attendance of 300 is a good hit rate. Getting 20 visitors engaged at any show is a good rate and the attendance tends to be a lot higher. Can you follow up with ciontact with any post-event? That is what we do in the South East and our conversion rate is quite high - almost 100% at the Ally Pally, about 50% at Brighton Model World.

Best wishes for the future and great to see California Coast running again.

Mike A