The Social Aspects of Model Railroading

In my last post I mentioned that I was becoming more fond of the social aspects of the hobby.  Well, tonight I thought I’d expand on that a bit.

I’m a regular reader of Trevor Marshall’s blog (Port Rowan in 1:64) and he often writes about the social aspects he enjoys as part of his hobby.  It isn’t uncommon for him to host an operating session, then retire to a local eatery afterwards for a nice meal and a pint or two.  He recently wrote of hosting a couple visitors at his home during which they actually devoured two meals in the one day (lunch, then later, supper).

For a good number of years I was a regular operator at the late Lou Schultz’s C&O layout.  One of the things I really enjoyed there was the social camaraderie that took place in the crew lounge both during the session, and afterwards.  I’ve just this year started eating breakfast out on Saturday mornings with a group of model railroaders (I recently referred to this as the ROMEO* breakfast).

Thinking back on it, the very first group of model railroaders that I fraternized with was the original Crescent City Model Railroad Club in New Orleans.  This came about when I was in my mid teens.  After the operating session, we usually drove to a pizza place on Veterans Highway in “new” Metairie.  Back in the mid 60s, pizza wasn’t a common thing in the deep south.  Indeed, the first slice of pizza I ever consumed was during that late hour “snack”.

The point of all this is that as I’ve aged, the social aspects and the camaraderie of being with others of the same ilk has become more and more desirable to me.  I hope to one day have a small group of folks over for regular operating sessions, and to maybe head out somewhere afterwards to share a meal.  Just tonight I was visited by two local modelers, Rod Fredericks and Gary McMills. Gary had been here once before, perhaps a year or so ago.  But much has been done on the layout construction since his last visit, so he had plenty to look at.  This was Rod’s first visit, so he received the nickel tour.  After the walk-through we just plunked down in some chairs and had a good old fashioned bull session.  What an enjoyable evening!  I had even thought of us perhaps heading around the corner to enjoy a cold brew, but tomorrow is Thanksgiving day and everyone needed to get on home for an early start in the morning.

I have to thank Trevor for reminding me of how much fun these social interactions are.  It’s really easy to hunker down in the layout room day after day and to simply forget that there’s so much more out there to enjoy about the hobby.  Reading of Trevor’s enjoyment has prompted me to stick my head up out of the benchwork occasionally to spend time with friends.


*Retired Old Modelers Eating Out

4 thoughts on “The Social Aspects of Model Railroading

  1. Jack,

    As I remember, the pizza place was a locally established “Domino’s Pizza” located across the parking lot from the Joy’s Cinema City Six theaters. Andy Sperandeo used to insist on playing Italian Opera on the juke box while we consumed large quantities of wonderful pizza – not at all like the current similarly named chain pizza.


    • Ah Domino’s Pizza! Fondly remember the greasy plate contest where we all took one of the plates they gave us and looked to see who had the one with the most left on pizza after cleaning. And yes I remember Andy Sperandeo and his attempts at getting us some culture. I also remember him getting upset that the machine wouldn’t play it in the order he entered it there by destroying what he was trying to do. Plus do you remember them asking us not to soak the table clothes with water. This was after two Friday nights when one night Joe Scorsone bought some dry ice and we spent the evening playing with it around the table and the next week when we decided to see how many picture of water we could go through without drinking any. Instead of running us off they said they were pleased for our business and were glad to have serve us but due to the table clothes not being washed till the following Tuesday they were mildewing.

      George W. Simmons
      Dry Prong, LA

      • OK, guys….

        I’ve been trying to remember the name of the place and Domino’s isn’t what I had in my mind. George, your comment finally brought it to me.

        If I’m not mistaken (and I often am), Domino’s was a slightly later era (the very late 60s or early 70s methinks).

        In the mid 60s the club layout was in Judge Boutall’s attic. The pizza place on Veterans Highway was Shakey’s. I don’t know that it was the first pizza place in the New Orleans metro area, but it was the first that I ever visited. I was only about 17 at the time.

        I left New Orleans in 1966 in order to see the world with the USMC and returned to New Orleans in early 1969 after my overseas tour. Eventually I re-established contact with the club which by then was operating in Lou’s attic in Lakeview. I assume that is the era you’re speaking of.

        Does this sound reasonable and correct, or am I off-base here?


        Of all the things I’ve lost in my old age, the thing I miss the most is my mind.

  2. Hi Jack:
    I’m so glad I reminded you of this through my writing! Of course, social people will stick their heads out of the benchwork, regardless – and I’m sure you would have without my prompting.
    For me, the hobby has been my gateway to many enduring friendships. I write a lot about those lunches, dinners and drinks because they’re as much a part of my hobby as switching the yard, building a structure or installing DCC into a locomotive.
    – Trevor (Port Rowan in 1:64)

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