What is a Moduly Brno meeting about?

[CZ] Dvacáté provozní setkání se konalo po roce, a když jsem se vrátil zpět do práce, kolegové projevovali obavy o mé zdraví. Setkání bylo náročné, ale stálo to za to! Abych nemusel stále dokola vysvětlovat, proč vypadám na umření sepsal jsem následující článeček. Protože pracuji v nadnárodní korporaci a kolegové jsou modelářští laici, je v angličtině a obsahuje některá vysvětlení a odkazy na další informace.

[EN] The 20th meeting took place after a year and when I returned to work my colleagues had concerns about my health. Yes, it was demanding, but worth it! To avoid explaining why I look like a zombie again and again, I’ve written the following text. Because my colleagues aren’t familiar with railroad modelling it contains some explanations and links to basics.

Who did I meet?

I’m a member of a club called Moduly Brno, and we are trying to make a (reasonably simplified) model of one real line in South Moravia. “Moduly” part will be explained later, the “Brno” part is there as a reminder where the club was founded as even the founding members weren’t all Brno citizens. We use TT scale (1:120) models.

Railroad modelling and “modules”

In the past, railroad modelers clubs used to build a large statical layout in one or more rooms, they met regularly or irregularly at one place and worked on the common project. Technology such as Internet and digital control of a rolling stock allowed the expansion of a concept we call “modules”. In that case there is no fixed place where people meet. Most communication is over the Internet (different clubs use different solutions). Members build interchangeable pieces of tracks with defined interfaces, so it is possible to connect them in one line. Our club has prepared module kits that make start with it easier.

The module kit – parts
The module kit completed

The final layout can be large. Because even very large layouts still have shorter distances between train stations than those precisely scaled down, we run the model time approximately 4 times faster than the real time. This allows us to finish a 24-hour train schedule within 6-7 hours.

What is a meeting about?

It is mostly a social event when modelers meet and exchange experience (in both model making and life), methods of model building they tried or read about, share joy from new toys etc., and have a common activity – to build a big layout and then simulate a railroad traffic on it.

Meeting preparation

First, we must agree on “The Date”. Usually, we organize two meetings per year, this one was after a year long waiting due the covid pandemic. Then we invite some friends from other clubs. This time, unfortunately, less people could attend.

The main madness starts approximately 2 months before the event. Folks let the person responsible for a layout know what modules they plan to take to the meeting.

After that the layout is created, it means someone must spend hours and days working in a CAD adjusting lengths and angles, exchanging pieces to make a reasonable line. Space must be left to allow engineers and station agents to walk around the line and still everything must fit into a hall (Every hall is too small eventually).

Layout document

Meanwhile a rolling stock registration is done. It is like modules – meeting attendees inform what rolling stock is available for the meeting, then some volunteers spend days and nights creating a timetable (grafikon in Czech) – a graphical interpretation of a railroad schedule. Fortunately, there is an application for it, so it is possible to generate schedules for engineers (just example, we had 41 different of them).

Then the organizer of the meeting sends a schedule of the meeting, what modules and rolling stock are needed and we wait for the “D” day.

As the meeting usually starts on Thursday, from Monday a traffic on the internal communication channel raises showing messages from various people about progress of their preparation, what they need to fix, arrangements for transportation and the last moment changes are done. Everything grows to frenetic pace.

The last day before start (Wednesday) it is usually food that is discussed and images of it shared. Many members have a significant one who supports us and won’t let us starve.

“D” Day and the meeting

In the morning or early afternoon some folks share pictures of loading, others are panicking, that their stuff won’t fit in their car, help is offered, but magic happens and in the end everybody arrives.

So, let’s follow this year’s schedule

Thursday – 10. 6. 2021

  • 17:00 – 18:30 arrival, moving of modules to an atrium (a room next to the main hall)
  • 18:30 – 22:00 dinner (a homemade pizza by a local member family), the layout building (a 1.5-year-old video), a basic setup
  • 22:00 – 24:00 evening chat – it was longer a bit; I went to bed around 1:30

Friday – 11. 6. 2021

  • 07:15 – 08:00 personnel resurgence and breakfast
  • 08:00 – 12:00 layout finishing, wiring it, controllers’ preparation, rolling stock is moved to start positions, cargo cards (yes, we simulate a cargo shipping, represented by small cards) preparation.

You can notice “Big Ben” – the pole with the main clock and sleeping places around the layout (no hotel room, but at least showers available all day).

  • 12:00 – 13:00 lunch “The Guláš” – this is a traditional food for our meetings.
  • 13:00 – 13:15 a briefing before we start – A short explanation of what the prepared schedule is about, so everybody understands the “big” picture.
  • 13:15 – 18:00 afternoon rides – We played with trains following the prepared schedule, for this time we used models of a rolling stock that was operating between 1945 – 1965
  • 18:30 – 19:30 dinner, before it we congratulated a member who reached a significant age anniversary.
  • 19:30 – 21:30 free rides – Almost everything is allowed on layout, children usually overtake it and have their traffic with weak rules. Railroad officials would die from their creativity.
  • 21:30 – 24:00 evening chat – till 3:30, as there were many topics to discuss.

Saturday – 12. 6. 2021

  • 07:15 – 09:00 personnel resurgence and breakfast, it was difficult this time.
  • 09:00 – 09:15 briefing before we start, check of rolling stock and cargo cards
  • 09:15 – 12:00 before noon rides, again we followed the schedule, we moved in time and rolling stock changed to fit 1965-1989. It was the first time we changed the rolling stock according to different epoch. We used to model only this one period.
  • 12:00 – 13:00 lunch – grilled meat, grilled sausages, grilled mushrooms, etc.
  • 13:00 – 13:15 rauchpause (siesta)
  • 13:15 – 19:00 afternoon rides, we continued in the schedule from the morning.
  • 18:30 – 19:30 dinner
  • 19:30 – 21:30 free rides. Again, children and photographs used the layout for their joy.
  • 21:30 – 24:00 evening chat. We went to bed “early” as next day many of us had to drive home.

Sunday – 13. 6. 2021

  • 07:15 – 09:00 personnel resurgence and breakfast
  • 09:00 – 09:15 briefing before we start, check of rolling stock and cargo cards
  • 09:15 – 14:30 before noon rides, the rolling stock changed again to fit 1995 – today.
  • 14:30 – 15:30 lunch, “a tragedy” happened, a fridge malfunction caused that the rest of The Guláš gone. So, we ordered pizza, children were happy.
  • 15:30 – 18:00 packing, last words by the club chairman, departure.


Changing rolling stock and changing epoch was overall positively accepted. We agreed that a year-long pause is too much, so if it is possible, the next meeting will be in autumn. Did I say it was awesome and worth it?

participants in the twentieth meeting

photo gallery – fotogalerie

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