Modelling in the Time of Covid-19

Like much of the world, Ontario, Canada has gone all-in on social distancing as a mitigation to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. My household has been avoiding non-essential interactions as one should. Humourous declarations aside, socializing with other model railroaders is non-essential which is not the same as un-missed. Humans are a social species and, despite some opinions, that includes modellers.

As an experiment in a face-to-face get together at the pub, I invited a few model railroad friends to join me last night for a video based meeting “at the bench”. Five us got together using the Zoom conferencing app to spend part of our evening chatting about the usual things, current projects, tools and tips, our choice of beverage, and the like. Bernard Hellen even worked in a video tour of his Quebec Gatineau layout.

I consider the night a great success especially when my goals were on the order of let’s give it a go. The Zoom app worked well for us but there are numerous other video and/or audio meeting options out there. What we lacked in pub atmosphere we gained in lack of travel time and proximity to our actual hobby sites.

I encourage others to consider setting up their own virtual meets. Even in the eventual absence of a pandemic lock-down, it looks to be a nice way to increase one’s social participation in the hobby or whatever shared interests you care to hang the even on.

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