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Old 13-11-2017, 11:08 AM   #1
jaysix
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Default Exhibition layout heights

Having visited the Spalding model railway show at the weekend with my son and grandson, which I found very good except for the height of most of the layouts on display.My son had to carry my grandson most of the time to enable him to see the layouts (which after several hours got a bit difficult).The same problem applies to dissabbled people using wheel chairs and buggies.Please modellers can you bear this in mind when constructing layouts ,after all the main perperse of exhibitions is for the public to see your work .If we do not change, they may realise they are not getting value for money and stop comming
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:32 AM   #2
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Good point which has not crossed my mind. I wonder if the layout owners do that to keep tiny hands from damaging the displays. When in Dads arms they cant touch anything. Perhaps lowering the displays and putting perspex along the front may be good idea.
I noticed yesterday a young lad with his Dad trying to play with some coaches on the track. His Dad just let him get on with it. Perhaps that is the reason for making them higher.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:38 AM   #3
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Its an interesting point.
Too low though and it becomes difficult for the operators to bend down so much.
On the other hand it may be breaching disability legislation .
I see quite a few little kids with lightweight plastic steps so they can see the layouts.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:40 AM   #4
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Hi jaysix - This is a difficult one to answer, as it can be easily interpreted as not caring, but young children and wheelchair users are a minority at most of the exhibitions I have attended - but that is not to say they should not be catered for. You have to appreciate that when constructing a layout whether for home use or exhibitions purposes, there is a great deal underneath the boards as well as whats on top. My own (home) layout has the top surfaces at 39inches -many will build at 36inches - the normal kitchen worktop height - also at most exhibitions I have attended the layout operators spend there time standing - so would not want a layout to low. Any lower and difficulties start to arise with building and maintenance. At many of the shows I have attended, young children often can be seen carry either a plastic bucket or the step that comes from Mothercare to assist with climbing into the bath, using the toilet and the washbasin. As I said a difficult question to answer without appearing not to care - which is certainly not the case - exhibitions should and are open to all. Barry
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:45 AM   #5
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Some of the shows I go to have plastic steps to lend to small children. To be honest layouts need to be about 3 feet high. If they are too low they make it difficult for the majority of people to view the layout. Also low layouts need extra high backscenes to hide what is going on behind.

My layout is about 3 feet high which makes it easy for me to work on and under and keeps most of it out of reach of inquisitive fingers.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:49 AM   #6
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I would have thought that the height of exhibition layouts would more likely be determined by the best view of the layout - too low and all you get is the ‘helicopter view’ and a bad back.
The more aware exhibitors often include a viewing platform for kids if the layout is of the higher variety. Doesn’t solve the problem for wheelchair users though.
Regular visitors with children come prepared with those small steps.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:54 AM   #7
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Like the idea of the Cracket to stand on. Very nice of the people who supplied them to see their layout. Very thoughtful.
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Old 13-11-2017, 11:57 AM   #8
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This is always an issue for exhibition managers and layout builders alike! Its been raised many, many times previously. (Not on here of course, but in club meetings and meetings of expo. managers etc.)

Expo. Managers can help by hiring out - usually free, hop up stands for smaller visitors to use. Often a club disclaimer has to be signed by the adult accompanying the child, in case little 'Jimmy' or 'Jessie' falls off their hop up!
Wheelchair users are a concern. Ramps with a level platform specially built could be used to allow a wheelchair to become a foot or so above floor etc, but its really impracticable for a small club to do this and position them safely in front of virtually every layout!

Layout builders... Usually many keep within the 900mm to 1000mm above flooring to baseboard height and some have added clear plastic fronts to stop those little hands! But other builders, especially those who build dioramas, want to have the viewing height near to standing eye level. Here, its totally impossible to cater for all of the above.

The other option is that exhibition mangers only invite standard height layouts! This would seriously reduce the number of layouts available.

Unfortunately there is no universal fix or one size fits all.

Wondering what Warley do?
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Old 13-11-2017, 05:19 PM   #9
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FB Warley provide "hop ups" for children but I have not seen any provision for wheel chair users. I do recall one layout which came with a wheelchair platform and ramp but cannot remember it's name or which show I saw it at. The one observation I made was that able bodied people ended up,with a more distant view.

Personally, I am not fond of the helicopter view, neither do I like the track level view. I do like the proscenium type layouts because they have a focussing effect on the viewer but to be effectively viewed they by their nature cannot be low.

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Old 13-11-2017, 07:34 PM   #10
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I recall seeing somewhere (not a railway exhibition) a stall with mirrors at the top angled so people could see what was on display. They weren't big heavy glass things either. It would enable little ones and wheel chair users to see what was going on, albeit at an odd angle maybe.
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