Clubber opinions needed, "Car Department"?

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DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
Hey guys.

I've made many mentions that I am in the unusual position of being in two HO scale clubs. The first one is very old, going back to the late 1970's, and has not done a very good job of staying current with today's philosophies and technology. The second is much younger and far more up-to-date, with members who cross from Free-Mo modular and NMRA competition levels.

Some events have happened, and the president of the older club has passed. I don't want to sound uncouth, as he was a good guy, but he was the biggest anchor on the club. He long held at bay many new ideas and changes which would have been beneficial to our layout and our group.

So like the phoenix, I'm watching rapid changes begin to transpire. The board has changed, and new ideas have shot out immediately. One of these is to institute actual operations on our layout. We have, for the last decade or more, purely been open for show and general tomfoolery as we saw fit. Switching was done with your own cars at your own pace however you wanted to do it. Pursuit of the Operations goal is trucking along, we'll be voting on it later this month as a club.

Thanks to my experience with the younger club I can see some other facets that are going to come along with this. Here is where I need the help. Operations (ops) means we'll need to have a dedicated pool of cars, either club owned, member-owned or both mingled together. My concern here is their upkeep and enforcement of standards (couplers, coupler height, wheels). The younger club dealt with this via the institution of a car department, which I was chairman of very briefly. In talking with my friends elsewhere I have come to learn this isn't standard among clubs.

So, I'd like to ask you guys. How does your club handle maintenance of its ops pool? Do you have an internal department with a budget for parts, or is it on whoever wants to do it?
 

Rico

BN Modeller
Our old club had running nights where most anything goes and op nights where members cars and club cars would be used. A coloured dot system on the under frame identified ownership.
We took turns inspecting cars before they hit the rails and had a minimum standard to adhere to.
(weight, coupler height, wheel gauge, rolling resistance)
I was usually dispatcher via radio headset and we all had a blast!
 

Espeefan

Well-Known Member
We also have open run nights, and operations. Any member can bring something to run, but cars left on the layout have to meet a set of standards for era, metal wheels, Kadee style metal couplers, resistor wheelsets so the signaling system can "see" the cars (the club provides resistors and wire glue, members must install). We have a rolling stock committee that oversees this. Non conforming cars are removed from the layout. Note that these rules are for anything that stays on the layout. You can bring Thomas Annie and Clarabelle down and run them if you want, as long as you take them home with you when you leave. Because of the operations scheme, members "borrowing" cars for open run night have to remember where they came from and return them to the same spot when they are done. This isn't a big problem as most guys bring their own stuff for open run night anyway, and there are always at least eight trains made up for the next session, so members usually "borrow" one of these and return it to the yard when they're done. So far this system has worked well for us. We also have newer members coming on board, and any club needs to evolve to serve its current members. If it doesn't, if it stays mired in the past, it will die.
 

DakotaLove39

Always Improvising
It wasn't a separate department, and the vice president of the club oversaw car purchasing, upgrades, and maintenance.
Kay, not unlike a club in Florida I know of. I'm thinking at the size of my club, this is probably how we will start. Myself and one other guy have been handling car repair tasks up to this point.


cars left on the layout have to meet a set of standards for era, metal wheels, Kadee style metal couplers, resistor wheelsets so the signaling system can "see" the cars....

...We also have newer members coming on board, and any club needs to evolve to serve its current members. If it doesn't, if it stays mired in the past, it will die.
Okay, and Espee's club is very similar to North Metro then. I'm guessing you must have a large ops pool?

I also second on your last statement there. The younger, hip club is sucking in everyone looking to run HO in the area. My old club doesn't have a chance if we don't start changing our ways.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
So, I'd like to ask you guys. How does your club handle maintenance of its ops pool? Do you have an internal department with a budget for parts, or is it on whoever wants to do it?
One of my clubs had a "rolling stock" committee that was responsible for getting members equipment certified to run on the layout, purchasing club equipment, and maintaining club equipment. With the size of our club it was almost a full time job.

The museum has an individual who is responsible for the maintenance of the rolling stock. I believe he works about 3 days (as in 8 hour days) a week performing this function. He ahs others (like me) who help out from time to time performing specific things he needs done.
 




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