If you have ever run in the same circles as some of us characters with layouts in the North and Central part of NJ, you'll undoubtedly know rule G (No drinking alcoholic beverages while on duty on the railroad) is strictly NOT followed. One could argue during the heydays of railroading, a lot of the railroad men drank before or while on the job. My former mother-in-law told me about her father who was a brakeman for the NYC out of Selkirk NY. He and his crew were alcoholics. Scary thought! Dave Ramos has two mini fridges stocked with beer, soda, Scotch and jokes that his NY Harbor RR is just like it was back in the days he's modeling, with a bar on every block.
Now, am I saying we get plastered during operating sessions. NO. Do we have a beer or two, or maybe a small glass of scotch? YES. I know some layout owners would be aghast at the thought of people drinking while operating their layouts. To each his own. Which gets me back to the whole point of this post, which BTW has nothing to do with rule G but more to do with having your layout and the space it occupies more accommodating to the comfort of your guests (operators).
Whether or not you allow beer while operating, you might be open to people having water bottles, cans of soft drinks, cups of coffee etc. Where do they put them while operating? Well one option is to put some shelves along the fascia and another is to use some of those fold down drink holders made by New Rail Models. I have both.
|Here you can see two of the five New Rail Model fold down holders and one of the three shelves I have around the layout. The selves can hold drinks, but also can be used to hold paperwork while operating.|
|Here is a closeup of the New Model Rail holder in action. Hey that's not beer! :P|
The shelves were picked up at Odd Lots one day when I was shopping with my wife. I'm always on the look out for things that could be used on the layout, no matter where we are shopping. These came as a set of 3 and were cheap, and the right color, so I bought and installed them. The New Model Rail holders came in a 5 pack that I got a great deal on this past weekend at the Greenburg Train Show in Edison, NJ from my buddy Tom Callan of Shortline Hobbies. All I need now is for the mini fridge to return from it's stint at Rutgers University and we'll be all set for operating night! :)