y dad, a late-in-life Rio Grande Railroad fan, used to tell me about the railroad’s problems with the AT&SF. Back in the day, apparently both railroads wanted access to a strategic pass (not having the pass meant miles of tunnels and impossible grades). I think D&RG got into the pass first, and actually built a fort staffed with men of ill-repute to defend their right of way. Shots were fired and all that. Capitalism at its best.
This was sorta what we faced when we showed up for set up at the Deland Train Show this morning at 7:00am. Turns out another club, openly stated as the First Coast Model Railroaders Society, dumped their layout into the middle of the room, throwing away space on all sides, including sprawling out into the area reserved for us. So there I am, walking off the distance this way and that, trying to get our railroad to fit and not finding any answers. Finally I found just enough space on the far corner of the room, where perhaps we could just wedge in. While we were walking it off, some of their members wandered in. When we pointed out that they’d planted right across our layout footprint, rather than breaking up their layout and using our members to help shift their sections back a little, we got a lot of indignant bullshit (the legal position being, “We were here first”). Well, we managed to squeeze in, just barely, but then they exacerbated the problem by throwing up stanchions and making the already tight aisle space between us even slimmer. And it doesn’t hurt them – while we come outside our layout to help the kids run some of our trains, they barricade themselves in their wooden fortress, not so much as meeting the eye of the public.
So fine – push us against the wall. We still ran a show and got everything moving. And even better, when we were done, our space-age module system (all gleaming aluminum framing and wheeled racks, backed by club members who can maneuver the sections into the racks and the racks into the truck with military precision) was out the door before you’d even picked up your rolling stock. At the time of this writing, perhaps they are still there, lugging their plywood casket lids into the backs their uhaul.
Squeeze us if you will (since you need to inefficiently assemble the day before, it takes you so long). We’ve already told the organizers that we charge for the appearance, running or not. No skin off our noses.
Otherwise, a great show and great attendance and a lot of long trains wowing the crowds.
And a lot of donuts.
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