Today had father and two young boys in to see the layout.  Figured they were old enough to know rules.  One proceeded to push an auto onto the track shorting out the layout.  The other manually threw a switch just to see if loco would "crash" into other on siding, fortunately the siding was un-powered and loco stopped short much to his disappointment.   A few weeks ago a grandfather bought grandson  to see trains.  Kid was more interested in pushing autos around and gouged a rut into foam street.

Kids have attention span of gnats I am convinced, spoiled no doubt by the violent video games parents let kids play (have to have continuous action stimulus).

So my new policy I will tell visitors young and old (unless they are adult train operator known to me) will be:  To keep hands in pockets and just look, no touching ANYTHING.  Or::

ACHTUNG! ALLES TURISTEN UND NONTEKNISCHEN LOOKENPEEPERS!

DAS TRAINMASCHINE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKEN.

IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.

ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

 **********************************

Whats your layout policy?

Original Post

When I designed my layout, I looked at the layout table and the room, and decided to leave a space to lean on where people seem to stand to watch (they follow me as I go over to the control panel, but never seem to follow me around the corner without an invite). After crossing the gap, I have a single track with no switches, followed my a row of houses facing away. Anything beyond that is out of reach. I have had one or two people rest a hand on that track, and another guy pick up an engine I had sitting in that leaning area, but that's about it. Knock on wood

-Michael R.

 

TCA 10-65677

 

Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.

-Will Rogers

It's funny how some visitors to model train layouts think it's okay to touch anything.  After all, aren't they toys ?   

Last summer, we had a friend bring his young sons to see my garden railway.  Well, they are not that young, maybe 10 and 8 or so.   These kids, I knew from having been in their company before, proceeded to walk all over the railway, which is also my wife's garden.  I finally said something to the father to the effect that this is not a toy.  He was offended but didn't act on his offense.  I just stopped the trains and put them away.  End of problem.  I don't usually act in such a way, but from time to time, I get annoyed at peoples indifference to another's things.  Would you go into someone's house and proceed to stick your hands in their aquarium ?   Would you tear out stamps from a collection book ? 

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

I think that the "look and don't touch" mentality will ensure that this hobby dies much sooner. I think most of us can remember that part of the great memories from when we were kids was running locos so fast they flew off the curves, or putting plastic cows, lincoln logs or army men on the tracks causing derailments. We need to not take things too seriously or we risk never allowing children to build those memories that will allow nostalgia to bring them back to the hobby when they're older.

Jay in Ottawa

Jay Ottawa posted:

I think that the "look and don't touch" mentality will ensure that this hobby dies much sooner. I think most of us can remember that part of the great memories from when we were kids was running locos so fast they flew off the curves, or putting plastic cows, lincoln logs or army men on the tracks causing derailments. We need to not take things too seriously or we risk never allowing children to build those memories that will allow nostalgia to bring them back to the hobby when they're older.

Jay in Ottawa

Well to each his own opinion but, I strongly disagree.  What with all the "high end" model trains now available, the "hands off" policy is certainly appropriate. However, that said, we are certainly NOT talking about the "non scale" toy trains with track laid all over the floor, which are definitely made for "hands on playing with".

Having memories of what we may have done as kids usually was a train our parents bought on a loop of track on the living room floor.  Going to someone else home and letting your kid just have at the layout and not seeming to care about your property,time and money that went into it is plain ignorant!  Kids are kids but parents should know better! If they are my grand kids some day I'll let them run my layout with supervision but for now just my train friends and family if there interested. 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

Penn-Pacific posted:
Dan Padova posted:

 Would you go into someone's house and proceed to stick your hands in their aquarium ?   Would you tear out stamps from a collection book ? 

Uh oh, guess i wont stick my hand in my neighbors aquarium anymore....   (jk).

There might be Piranhas lurking behind that rock....LOL

 

I agree that we cannot put bars on our railways, lest we alienate new comers to the hobby.  However, as someone pointed out, scale model railroads are for looking.  Toy trains can be a different matter.  Someone, like myself, who builds an operators layout, full of post war type accessories, will still get an ulcer if parents don't police their own children.  

"Train Sets", are for floor playing.  Just as when we were kids, the newer generation of children are going to want to crash the train.  But the trains we had as kids were bomb proof.   

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Rule is: keep hands on remote, not on trains.  This policy has been allowing my grandkids to run trains from time when they were two until the leave for college, leaving me alone at the throttle and wishing they were back.  

Methinks the answer is to have an oval of track and some cheap or discareded conventional stuff that the "kids", ages 1 to 93, can wreck to their hearts' content.  Those wishing to SEE the "adult" layout get a short course in keeping their hands in their pockets. 

ACHTUNG! (ditto whatever RRMAN wrote)!

I have very short tolerance for parents who let their kids run wild around my layout, and some adults are just as bad.

Given that, I have an area just for kids under my layout where they can crawl trough a kid-sized tunnel portal and watch some trains from inside of the mountain. There are some old plastic trucks and tractors in there if they need to touch something.

I ask them if they want to see the inside of the mountain...the answer is almost always yes. I also let them know that only kids can go in there; no parents. They love it!

The parents can safely watch them from just outside the portal.

TJ

Re: small children.

Number 90 assisted the Lone Star HiRailers in hosting a "Day out with Thomas" in Grapevine, TX this past weekend.  I could not attend, so we talked on the phone for about an hour while he drove home, and the following is one of his conclusions in regard to showing trains to the public:

People want to see an "O-27 type" train set going REAL FAST around the track.  You are not going to impress anyone with a high level of detail, a realistic mix of road names in a wheel report, long consists, etc...they want a short train going full blast.

Within my family are many school teachers, both public and private schools.  On our get-togethers they recount the latest horror stories that have unfolded in their respective classrooms.  The common conclusion to all of it says that discipline within the home has fallen off a cliff. 

And the root meaning of discipline is not "to punish", but rather "to teach"  (disciple). 

These are things to bear in mind toward our society of young people.

Rob Leese posted:

 

People want to see an "O-27 type" train set going REAL FAST around the track.  You are not going to impress anyone with a high level of detail, a realistic mix of road names in a wheel report, long consists, etc...they want a short train going full blast.

 

A question, then: what engines have people found are the most stable when run at high speeds around curves?

IT consultant by day, 3rd generation Lionel guy (raising a 4YO 4th generation Lionel Lil' Man) by night in the suburbs of the greatest city in the world - Chicago. Home of the ever-changing Illinois Concretus Ry.

JTrains posted:
Rob Leese posted:

 

People want to see an "O-27 type" train set going REAL FAST around the track.  You are not going to impress anyone with a high level of detail, a realistic mix of road names in a wheel report, long consists, etc...they want a short train going full blast.

 

A question, then: what engines have people found are the most stable when run at high speeds around curves?

Certainly not steamers.  

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

My layout is all conventional trains, modern and postwar, on a 4x10 platform in the garage.  Basically it's a tube track floor layout on a table.

Without exception the young children of neighbors and friends who've come to see the trains have treated them with respect.  I allow them to operate and touch the trains and keep a plastic shoebox full of animals and figures for them to put in the gondolas to take a ride on the railroad.  They can operate the milk car, dump logs, and run the conveyor lumber loader.  There's a starter set 4-4-2 handy for them to handle and re-rail.

I've seen plenty of out of control spoiled brats, just not around here.  Apparently people in rural Texas know how to raise their kids.

Pete

 

I was recently in Germany at Miniatur Wunderland (huge HO layout).

The thing that struck me first was there was no walls or things to protect the layout from hands.  Everyone there just looked and pointed.  No one touched.  It seems there is a different level of respect in Europe than here, as if that display was here, it would be ruined in 3hrs.

 

I also do Car shows and same is true there.  I spend a day taking out swirl marks and making my Cobra perfect and some dirtbag either leans on car or lets their kid run a hot wheel car all down my fender.

 

Bob

Lionel Fan and Super "O" Track Enthusiast

Texas Pete posted:
JTrains posted:
 

A question, then: what engines have people found are the most stable when run at high speeds around curves?

Engines with solid magne-traction running on tubular track.  Can be steam or diesel.

Pete

It also helps to use wide radius curves. The wider the better.
I always liked the 2037 for kids. They ones I've had usually have very strong magnetraction, and the engines seem to have a low center of gravity.
The trains for kids to trash certainly don't need to be pretty. They just have to run.

C.W. Burfle

We have signs posted, "Do not touch anything" around the layout. We also have Plexiglas in certain areas. However, as long as you have the young ones coming in you will have some touching and ultimately some damage. We try to make it a practice to have at least one member roaming the layout with eyes open to prevent bad things from happening. We had to cover up a red button which was master power because the curiosity became too great for the kids. Just need to keep eyes on all the time.

Jeff

President AGHR

As I pointed out before kids will be kids. Probably the best solution as others have stated is to have a seperate loop of track with an inexpensive deisel and some gondolas and animals or whatever to take for a ride and a few cars to roll around.    Hopefully that will avoid a negative experience for everyone involved. 

      

Chris.

 

Home of the C.L.&M railroad

 

 

 

 

  

Gentlemen,

    I did have a play area on the big layout where the kids could play with the cars and people, along with a push train.  It's not the kids that cause the destructive  problems, most times it's the parents who do not teach their kids respect for other people's property that really cause the problems.  I learned to judge the parents before I let their kids near my multi level O Gauge home Train layout.  Never really had a problem even with the Deaf kids, who really play rough with their toys.   Once you know how liberal the parents are with their teaching & discipline, you know which kids you can safely let near your layout.  Also having a Deaf Daughter taught me a lot about hands on kids, the teachers at the Deaf school (WPSD) were amazed at how the Deaf kids respected the big O Gauge Train layouts at Christmas time, because I taught and allowed them to play with & run the layouts.  The Christmas Trains at the Deaf school were for everyone to play with, and if a child broke something the child was to bring it to me immediately.  Few things ever got broken, and nobody was allowed to play Gomez Adams, unless their parents were willing to pay for all the damages, the Deaf School in that era was expensive enough without adding additional cost.  Granted this was all done in the early 70's when we did have better more disciplined parenting, the liberal crazies of the Dr Spock era hand not fully arrived yet.

PCRR/Dave

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

I remember a story by John Page (former editor) in Model Railroader magazine years ago. Some guy who John hardly knew called up out of the blue and asked for a layout tour, and brought a couple friends. John obligingly tried to run some trains for them but couldn't. The visitor guy thought it was funny to have put a coin across the tracks to short-circuit the power, while John spent some minutes trying to figure out the problem.

Seems prudent to screen visitors ahead of time before giving a layout tour.

We don't want to sound like Grinches, but sometimes are hand is forced.  The most important word is Respect.  It is a word that is becoming extinct in the English language.

Dan Padova

 

"In the course of my life I have had to eat my words, and I must confess it was a wholesome diet"..........Winston Churchill

                                                                                                                                        

Ace,

   The story of that individual at John's home is quite well known, and absolutely true.  These are the kind of parents you must lean to eliminate from your home.  Can you imagine what his kids must have been like.  My father had stick rules about the respect that had to be shown in our home, and what kind people were allowed in our home, I still enforce those rules even today.

PCRR/Dave

Never worry about what other people think, be strong and walk in the way of the Lord.

Have had very little problem with juvenile visitors to the layout. But I usually change out the trains to some marx or williams, cheap stuff with not value. But still, have had little trouble. I also understand that they'll push things a little when running trains. 

Now, if you want to talk a bout a fifty year old picking up a 1955 GG1 by the stripes at the local TCA show....I've had that problem a few times.

Tim

It is interesting to read about the different approaches to this issue - and they are as varied as our individual approaches to our equipment and layouts - regardless if we have museum-quality dioramas or simple ovals. 

Personally, as I first developed my layout 16 years ago,  I thought hard about this - as a dad of then-young kids, I wanted to be able to show everything off to them and their friends and parents without making access (or discipline) an issue. In fact, one of the reasons I moved out of N gauge into O at the time was the size and (very relative) robustness of our larger equipment.

My solution (which has worked well over the years) was to control access through the height of the layout - something not quite changeable because the layout was built atop a rock-filled crawlspace with a 4 1/2 ft high concrete retaining wall setting it off from the rest of the basement. I put a long removable bench where smaller kids could climb on it to view and I put things at the front of this bench that they could touch or that I wasn't worried about their playing with. My 'better things' were further back out of reach. There were buttons to jab to make things move and make sounds - including one of those Soundmaster boxes with a whistle slider. Visitors tall enough to not need the bench seem to have better impulse control...

At my train club open houses, we have plexiglass with "Please Do Not Touch" signs. We still get people reaching over the plexiglass and have had derailments caused by guests. Sometimes the adults are worse than the kids. You have to keep your eyes open and having a member walking around the layout helps.

I have been fortunate. ALL of the kids regardless of age seem to understand look but don't touch or at least ask if they first. Ham handed adults swinging wine glasses around have done all the damage on my layout and for that reason are usually not invited to see the layout unless they ask.

About 5 years ago, I did something radical.  I held what I called a "Train Smoker".  This was a layout open-house event for kids and adults.  Everyone above the age of 6 (even mothers with babes in arms) was permitted and encouraged to run trains.  I put 2 trains on the layout, gave each operator a CAB-1 remote, about 30 seconds of instruction, and let them go.  I admit I did do a bit of "hovering", but it went OK.  I ran my Lionel Weirton Steel Alco S-2 and a slow-geared PRR L1s Mikado (not a speed demon ).  Yes, there were a few rear-end collisions, but nothing catastrophic.  And everyone had a good time.

I'm hoping to get the layout back together in the next few months and hold another "smoker".  With more than a plywood central this time around, everyone will probably get a "look with your eyes, not your hands" admonishment, but that's it.  And I will let guests run trains again.  I expect the locomotives might be the B6sb (another slow geared engine) and the L1s again.  I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid. 

George

TCA, NMRA, PRRT&HS Modeling the PRR Panhandle Division between 1948-1957.

Several years ago I had an open house to show the layout.  There was one boy 3 or 4, who was  well behaved and kept his hands to himself the whole time.   I had several chairs set to block access to back of layout.  Well the little tyke squeezed passed them and what he was doing is lining his eyes up with the tangent waiting for that train to come barreling down the track, and at the last moment swerve on the curve into the tunnel .  He watched several times before moving onto another spot, but always keeping hands to himself.  Wish I had taken a picture.   Reminded me of what I did as a kid watching my 2055 rush up almost to my nose before turning on a curve.

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