Bognor Regis Model Railway Club

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Sharing Know-How by Cliff South (Bognor Regis MRC and NMRA member)

Teach Your Children!

Sharing know-how. A good idea, I'm sure, and not before time, and one that should be pushed. I have been made aware of this slogan by my membership of the NMRA and my friendship with its Marketing Coordinator, Mike Hughes.

We all in our own way pass on to our friends tips and little tricks that we pick up along the way but they should also be passed on to newer club members, some may be an older age group looking for a retirement hobby but more especially the younger folk just getting into modelling railroads who will be carrying on after us. To draw them away from i-pads and computers for a while should be our goal. Good asthese things are, our skills are just as important.

This is not quite such a new idea. The Bognor Regis Model Railway Club has been doing this for some time. In 2011 we started our Kids Club and over a period of 12 weeks, for a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon, we got them involved in building a layout, Troutbeck Bridge (which has been to our exhibition and others). Whilst most of the work was done by the more senior members, the kids really enjoyed learning how to lay track and make scenery etc. and RUN trains. At the end of this period no-one wanted it to stop, so since then every last Saturday of the month, accompanied by a parent or adult, they come along to learn what it takes to build a model railway. If someone has a loco or other piece of equipment that is not working we try to fix it in front of them so they can see how to dismantle the item properly, put screws in boxes etc., how to clean wheels, the difference between live and dead frogs, indeed what a frog is and so on. Our latest effort is to show how to make a track voltage tester, demonstrating the skills of soldering.

Sharing Know-How; what a good idea! The BRMRC is certainly centred on British outline railways and sadly there is only one of the forty or so members who can be counted as part of the NMRA (guess who). However the layout now under construction, Page Mountain, is most definitely American in character. There are several other members who have an interest in North American railroads, including Canada (perhaps other members can be persuaded). We do term Thursday evenings as American night so perhaps all is not yet lost. Kids Club, a great idea for sharing know-how. If your club doesn't yet have one, try it.It's good fun. You may get new members from it. We did. Not only the kids but some parents joined us too.

And as modellers of American trains, who knows the NMRA may get new members too. I'm ever hopeful.