HAGG Members, Don't forget you can get your train fix at RRM!

HAGG members, if you need to fill your weekly train fix, remember the Rosenberg Railroad Museum. The museum is open Wednesday - Sunday. There, you can run your own trains or run the museum's trains. Maybe you just want to watch the 1:1 trains roll by and dream where they are headed. If you are running trains on the garden railroad, check with the front desk. You may have a birthday party to run trains for. And, while you are running trains, don't forget to pull any weeds on the railroad that you see. If you do find something that needs attention and you are not able to get it done, then just leave a note of what you found.
Be sure you check in at the front desk if you are going to run  trains. By signing in, you let the museum know that you are there and they get to account for your time as a volunteer.  If the front desks knows you are there, they are able to assist the guests of the museum in other ways and let you give the great showmanship with the garden railroad being run by a true engineer (you also need to get the key from the front desk; showmanship, engineer and volunteer sound better than you just need a key.)

Train Show Planning

I just got back to Jasper from the Galveston Train Show. Our show layout has been to four shows now and it works better each time. The setup and take down are quick and easy. We have had record numbers of members show up and bring trains to run. There is, however, another side to train shows that you may not be aware of.
The planning of a show starts early on before any vendor or exhibitors start to talk about going to the show. On the Thursday before the Stafford show, I was contacted by Jon Butler of the Texas City Show. He wanted to know if we were going to attend and what size our layout was. That show is in November, as well as in February. As you see, there is a lot of planning. Each show must make out a floor plan of the vendors and exhibitors that are planning to show up and what size they are wanting to request. This plan must be reviewed by the show promoter to be sure that the layout of the floor plan meets the show's needs. The building custodian staff must approve the plan to ensure it meets their requirements.  Finally, the Fire Marshall must give the OK stamp.

The promoter wants to keep all the vendors and exhibitors happy and ensure they get the space, tables and chairs they request. Also, how much electric power does each space need. Now you are saying “I can just run another extension cord if I need more power”. Not so all the time. The power must be balanced in the building electric system. How many tables does the building have? How do you decide who get one table and who get four? Chairs are the same way. Does the floor plan leave room to get to exit, water and electric cutoffs and fire extinguishers?  So, there is a lot of planning that goes on months before the show.

The building staff then looks at the floor plan to be sure that they can meet the request of the promotor in the size of each space and the number of tables and chairs. The building staff also wants to ensure that the walkways are wide and clear, and that flow of traffic is smooth.
The Fire Marshall is the last word on what goes on at a show. Are the isles clear, are the exit visible? The electric cords must be safe and not overloaded or a trip hazard.

We are at the mercy of all these inspection, and we are given a floor plan a few days before the show. Then on the day of the show it sometimes changes. Sometimes we need to change on the fly. I have heard members say, “we will just pack up, they need us more that we need them”. NOT TRUE, we need them to help us promote our hobby and scale. Another thing that I hear is how much does this show pay? We are not paid by any show. A lot of the shows we go to reimburse us for travel if they have a good show. This is not pay, and it is not a set amount.

Now all this planning is on the show side. As a club we need to make some plans also. We need to reserve a trailer of the correct size. Hear back from the club who is coming to load and setup and take down. What could go wrong and what repair parts do we need? Who is bringing trains and who is going to be there to help control the guest? What time can we get in and start setup. Do we have our sign, stanchions, rope, flyers and the dollies for the members to bring in their trains? Most of this is a check list on the google drive. Yes, we do miss things from time to time and for the most part nobody notices. All this is not done by one person and I’m not sure that one person could do it all. It is a team effort and we call and e-mail (some text, I read only and call back) each other to be sure all the bases are covered.

So, if you get to a show early please don’t tell the promotor you want to make changes. The planning has gone on for months as changes are going to happen, we don’t want to start the change.

Now, you may ask: why do we do train show? First of all, they’re fun. We want to promote the hobby and our scale. Some of our members don’t have a completed home railroad yet, so this and the RRM is where they run their trains. The reimbursment we get helps pay for the trailer rental, storage space and other expenses we have.
I would like to invite any member that would like to help and be a show coordinator to let me know. Maybe you only want to do one show, maybe multi shows. It is up to you and I will take you through all of the steps. It really is fun when you see how the show work and all the smiling faces of the guests and members makes it all worthwhile. And now is the time to start planning for the Stafford show in February.
Galveston Train Museum Train Show
The Galveston Railroad Museum Train Show 2018 is now in the history books. HAGG arrived at 7:30 Saturday morning to unload and setup for the show. About 9:30 we had the main railroad setup and decorated with buildings and trees, the center of the railroad was covered with the foam tiles. Thomas had his own track and ran all weekend long. The Egg Liners and the Circus Express were also in the center with dedicated lines.
We are getting good at setting up in a short time. The show went well with members showing up during the weekend to run trains and just support and visit with each other. When time came for us to pack up again it was done quickly. The show closed Sunday afternoon at 4 and we were in Houston and unloaded by 6:50.
The Galveston Railroad Museum has done a lot of work on the museum. One thing I saw right off the bat was the parking lot. It was clear and paved all the way to the fence. I was able to park my truck with the trailer without using a machete to fight the foliage. Two of our new members also volunteer at this museum and after helping us set up our show railroad they worked the Harborside Express. When it came time to take down they finished with the Harborside Express and stepped right in with our pack up. The museum also had guided tours of the passenger cars.
Our railroad operated without flaw. At times I forgot I was on duty to watch for mishaps a got to visiting with members and visitors. This show railroad sets up, operates and packs up so easy that we are given more time to spend with each other and answer questions about our trains.
Bill returned with a new live steam model. He picked it up at Diamond Head this year and this was the first public showing. It was modeled after a stationary boiler from a shoe factory.  As always Bill answered all the questions from the guest.
Thank you to all the members that help make this show work so smoothly. Loading in Houston, set up in Galveston, playing trains for the weekend, pack up and unloading back in Houston. It was a team effort to make it all work.

Here is a tour of Club members railroads

Charlie Caggiano's world
       Abita Springs & Brazos River         Bill Rickert
       KD Rail end of an era            2012-2017
       John Franks's Railroad

To all members, want to show case your railroad?

Are you ready to share your railroad with the world? Send me a back story and pictures of your world and I will give you your own page for the world (those train folks that visit our site) to see all that you have done.
My email is jdmitchell@nwcable.net

We Have a New Control Panel

As most of you know, one of the wheels broke on the control panel while loading up for the Stafford Train Show. We made it to the show and the control panel worked with one corner propped up with a brick and piece of wood. Phil MacDonald volunteered to take the control panel home and fix the wheel. He did a few other things and now our control panel is a piece of furniture. It really looks nice and it will be a show piece at the train show.

As you can see Phil really worked his magic and reworked the cabinet. He stained it and it is now ready for the Galveston Train Show.  Well done, Phil, his smile says it all.  When people see this at the shows I'll bet they will sit up and take notice.