At the monthly club meeting in March, it was suggested that we hold an open house for our layout in conjunction with the Woodstock Train Show on May 1. After discussion, it was loosely agreed to do so if logistics such as volunteers, advertising, layout condition, reliable track and switch operation, etc. could be met.
At the following April monthly club meeting, it appeared the above logistics could be met by May 1 and it was decided to have the open house. The room was tidied up, an escape route for emergencies was put in place, signs were organized and responsibilkities assigned.
We are pleased at the outcome on May 1. Weather was raw and rainy yet we had approximately 40 people - singles, families, train show venders from far and near across Ontario, one from North Battleford, Sask. and four who live in Scarboro but flew from Vancouver to Toronto and then decided to come to the train show in Woodstock [talk about dedication!]. All had either seen our layout open signs or heard a train show announcement about our nearby layout. Two trains were constantly running the layout and the fact that some parts are not yet scenicked allowed all to see how a train layout is constructed. Many, many good questions were asked of those of us who were volunteering our time and hundreds of pictures were taken. All in all, a great time for everybody despite the weather. Even some employees of the next door slots came in to see what we were hosting
A real benefit for us was to see our layout in operation in an open house mode. A major problem with our previous layout was aisles that were too narrow, leading to constricted areas when more than a few people were present. This layout's aisles handled those attending without any jams whatsoever. The layout design of a double loop allowed the continuous running of trains which is what visitors wasnt to see. For dedicated model railroaders, we could also offer switching at times to demonstrate our method of operation.
It was a good start to more open houses to come.