Tag Archives: trainshow

BayLUG at Great Train Expo Sept 2012

My local LEGO train club, the Bay Area LEGO Train Club (part of the Bay Area LEGO Users Group) took part in the Great Train Expo model train show this past weekend in San José, CA. We set up a LEGO layout with two loops of trains (one freight and one passenger), a downtown area, suburban houses, a campground, train yard, and more.

A number of my things were on display, including Kermit, the Robert Indiana LOVE and LEGO sculptures, my City Park, a city block featuring the Blackburn Hotel and other buildings I’ve made, the Caltrain locomotive and cars, some freight cars, houses, cars and trucks, and RV’s. (Seeing this list, I realize I need to post some of these models – even though they’ve been around for years, they’ve not all been properly blogged…)

You can see photos of the layout on my Flickr set for this event. Click the image below or view it as a slideshow.
Group Photo

Four-Track Signal Gantry

A signal gantry I built over four tracks at Bay Area LEGO Train Club exhibit at the Train Collectors’ Association Cal-Stewart Spring Meet, Santa Clara, California, March 2-4, 2012. I built it Friday night after we finished the setup when I realized we would have a four track line without much decoration in that area.

The signals over each track are based on the Union Pacific Signal Rules. Over each track there is a signal facing each direction, and each signal has three lights which could be red or green. I set up the signals with two each track marked “Clear” in one direction (top light green, two lights below red), and “Stop” in the other direction (all three lights red), in keeping with the direction of travel we used on the layout, but after I set all that up, someone put trains on running in the opposite direction (as shown in the photo below)!

Four-Track Signal Gantry

BayLTC at TCA 2012

The Bay Area LEGO Train Club displayed a train layout at the Train Collectors’ Association Cal-Stewart Spring Meet, in Santa Clara, California, on March 2-4, 2012.

This is one of our favorite events to display at, as they have a fairly low stress environment and it is in a very nice facility. We set up our exhibit on Friday afternoon, March 2, and finished setup Saturday morning. On Saturday, however, the show was only open to members of the TCA who were there for the Meet, so the crowd levels were low-stress. Sunday was busier, as it was open to the public from 10am-2pm. In past years, the attendance for the public day at this event has been fairly light, and we haven’t bothered putting up our “sneeze guards” (Plexiglass barriers that keep the little kids from reaching into the layout), but this year we quickly realized they had done a much better job promoting it, and we had to scramble to get the sneeze guards up before too many fingers found their way into places they shouldn’t (or worse yet, took things they shouldn’t … you know how grabby little kids can be around toys). Once we had them up, the crowd lightened up again, but we were still glad we did it.

This event was held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, where we will be holding Bricks by the Bay in two weeks. While we were there, I had a chance to meet with our representative from the Convention Center and tour the facilities we will be using along with some of the convention volunteers who were also participating in the layout. We finalized the BBTB event schedule and locations where all the activities will be held.

This year the layout was a rather unusual shape for us. Usually we make a big ring of tables, and Bruce brings a gate that carries two tracks across it, so we can have two loops of track circling the entire layout. But Bruce wasn’t able to attend so we tried a new design, making a large “C” shape instead, with the two loops of track doubling back at each end, making a total of four tracks around the layout. It worked quite well, but it presented us with a new esthetic challenge, as there was now a stretch with four parallel tracks and no structures. When I saw that Friday night, I decided we needed a signal gantry, so that night I whipped one up and I am quite happy how it came out.

Take a look at the pictures from the show. Click the image below, or view all the photos as a slideshow.

BayLTC at TCA 2012

BayLUG Museum Show Open through January 17

This weekend, the Bay Area LEGO Users Group opened our annual “Living LEGO-cy” exhibit at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA. We’ll be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day) through Sunday, January 17. Admission is $2 (free for BayLUG and MoAH members and kids under 2), which is split 50/50 between the club and the museum.

BayLUG at MoAH

Come on down and check it out soon before the publicity spreads and we start getting huge crowds! Last year we had 1500 people on the last weekend, with people waiting for several hours in the rain in a line around the block to get in!! We have our first TV interviews this Friday morning for a Spanish language station…

BayLTC at TCA 2009

This past weekend (March 21-22), the Bay Area LEGO Train Club did a show as a part of the Nor-Cal Division of Train Collectors Association Cal-Stewart Meet. We set it up Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, and then the show was open to TCA members all weekend, but only open to the public on Sunday March 22.

Group Photo

View the photoset or slideshow on Flickr.

This was probably the largest layout we’d ever done – we’d used all 28 tables in our club inventory before, but when we did it was to make the depth larger. This time we kept the depth at a maximum of 5 feet and went with a larger footprint.

Friday night we got a little desperate for track and baseplates, but we got enough reserves Saturday morning. With a great last-minute idea by Loren to add a lake next to the campground, and Bruce’s construction zone, we were able to cover the bare wood before the show opened. In the end, it turned out pretty good.

One nice thing about the trackplan for this show was the use of a “wye” on the outer loop and track leads in both directions on the inner loop, enabling trains to be switched in and out of the yard on both loops in both directions without “hand of god” operations (except for those locomotives that can’t go backwards…). It was also visually interesting to have one of the main lines run behind the downtown instead of having both loops run side by side all around.

BayLUG Exhibit Closes with Record Crowds

We had some great publicity for the exhibit by the Bay Area LEGO Users Group at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA for the last few weekends. Lines at MoAH
There were television coverage by two different local stations, articles in the newspaper, and lots and lots of word-of-mouth advertising. We got several new members in the club and lots of people signing up for our club mailing lists or taking business cards home.

I was sick for most of the last two weekends, but did go on Sunday (the last day) and shot some video footage. However, a couple of other club members took photos of the crowds and sent them to me with permission to post online, so I have done so in a Flickr photoset. Please check that out by clicking the photo above, or view it as a slideshow. You can also view all my photos from this exhibit (or as a slideshow).

Next year, we’re not sure if we’ll be able to have the exhibit at the museum! The room is just not big enough to accommodate that kind of crowd. However we’ve already started talking about alternatives that would scale better, so don’t worry… we’ll still have an exhibit. We’re also talking to another museum about having an exhibit this summer but haven’t announced any details yet.

The next public event by BayLUG is our meeting at MoAH on Saturday, February 21 (note: originally scheduled for Sunday the 22nd, but the date has been changed due to a schedule conflict). Hope to see you there!