See you at the Ontario Manifest!

That’s Ontario, California

I’ve been invited to speak at the banquet at Ontario Manifest – the 2017 annual convention for the Pacific Southwest Region of the NMRA. This looks like a lot of fun, and I’m thrilled to take part.

I like California – a lot. I’ve been a couple of times, including for hobby-related events – and there’s a lot of spectacular railway modelling taking place in the state. The people are a ton of fun, too. I’m looking forward to spending a couple of days with them.

For the Saturday night banquet, I’ll be offering up some thoughts about where the hobby is going, where we’ll find the next generation of serious hobbyists, and what we can do to foster them. As the Ontario Manifest website explains…

Ontario Manifest - Banquet PPT

For many of us, the hobby is more than a way to kill time. It’s a lifelong journey of friendships and learning. We love this hobby ‐ and many of us wonder how we can encourage more people to join us as railway modeling enthusiasts. In particular, we wonder how we’re going to reach younger people. Based on experience in his professional life as a corporate speech writer, Trevor has garnered some insights into the demographic known as The Millennials. He’ll share thoughts on how we connect with a cohort that has never known a world in which the Internet did not exist, and who many dismiss ‐ wrongly ‐ as being “more interested in playing games on their phones than in building things”. Trevor will also offer some suggestions about how we make our hobby relevant to more people ‐ especially these Millennials ‐ at a time when few people encounter real trains on a daily basis.

That’s a tall order! But I spoke on this topic at the Niagara Frontier Region NMRA convention in Ottawa, Canada just over a year ago, and had a lot of interesting feedback from those who attended. I’m looking forward to sharing my thoughts in California.

Since I’m making the trip for the banquet anyway, I’ve also offered to speak about my layout – but recognizing that an S scale Canadian branch line will be of little interest to many at the convention, I’m using the layout as a jumping off point to talk about working in a minority scale. Again, from the Ontario Manifest website…

Ontario Manifest - Port Rowan Clinic PTT

Trevor Marshall is a prototype modeler, and he’s working in S scale. In this clinic, he’ll share the opportunities and challenges of modeling a specific prototype in a minority scale-using his layout as an example. Trevor will cover why he ended up in a less popular scale and how that influenced his decision when choosing a prototype. He’ll offer suggestions for others to research and ponder to determine whether a niche scale is a viable one in which to work. Anybody who has ever considered switching scales or who is interested in working in a second scale can benefit from this clinic.

I look forward to discussing S scale with convention-goers. I wonder if I’ll be the only one working in 1:64?

Ontario Manifest has a great line-up of activities planned – including a visit to the Orange Empire Railway Museum. Those who know me know that I’m a big fan of Interurbans – including the Pacific Electric and Sacramento Northern. So I’m excited to have the opportunity to visit the museum, because they have a lot of preserved Interurban equipment – from those two lines, and others. That’s my Sunday planned…

Ontario Manifest runs September 13-16 in Ontario, California. Check out the convention website for details – and I hope to see some of you there!

10 thoughts on “See you at the Ontario Manifest!

    • Yes – if you get a chance, go! There is so much great railway modelling going on in California. I was blown away by the La Mesa club in San Diego. And I was equally impressed by the many great layouts in the SF Bay Area.
      One of the things I find most interesting about the Bay Area layouts is that, because the houses rarely have basements, the garage is the preferred spot for a layout. And garages are a fairly standard size: a two-car garage is roughly 20×24 feet. So, most of the Bay Area layouts I’ve seen were essentially built in the same space. The result is something like a layout design contest: Here’s your space, now design a layout. And in that space, the variety of scales, gauges, eras, themes, locations, benchwork arrangements is wonderfully creative.
      Also, the space is not large. 20×24 is 480 square feet – about the same size as the room my Port Rowan layout occupies (although my room is longer and narrower). The fact that space is limited – at least, in comparison to the monster-basement layouts found elsewhere in North America – has forced the designers/builders to be more creative, or more focussed, or both. There are a ton of lessons to be learned from visiting a dozen layouts all built in essentially the same California Basement…

  1. I am glad to see that you are speaking on this very important topic.
    I am not a member of the NMRA so I missed your talk in Ottawa last year.
    Any chance that you would do some form of post-game recap to give the rest of us ideas about engaging the next generation?
    I recognize that there are no silver bullet solutions but we must arrange for some form of succession or all of our hard work will be for naught.
    Thanks again for speaking on this topic.

  2. At when you’re at the Orange County museum be sure to check out the Perris depot – the scenic highlight on one of your favorite Achievable Layout designs. (Perhaps a nice tie in to the local area would be to show the S scale mod you did of Andy’s design as part of your S scale clinic?)

  3. Trevor,
    You may find some S-scalers there, as you’ll be close to Colorado narrow gauge country, and I believe there are quite a few S-scale Colorado NG modellers in the California area.

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