March SMD Meeting

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2019), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hey there,

I’m writing to invite you all to our March meeting at Hobbytown USA in Frederick, MD next Sunday, March 10th. You’re welcome to arrive before 2PM, with the business meeting to begin no later than 2:30pm. The address is…

454 Prospect Blvd, Frederick, MD 21701

The store has an example layout featuring N, HO, and O-scales. Furthermore, Richard Benjamin has also advised that the Hagerstown and Frederick Railway Historical Society’s artifacts are on display at the Frederick library, which is open from 1-5. For more information, you can visit the library’s website here.

After the meeting adjourns, we’ll be joined by special guest speaker Michael Groves of Dwarvin Enterprise, who will be giving a presentation on “Lighting without Wiring.” You can find out more about it on his website, dwarvin.com.

In other news, if you haven’t already seen it, the Spring issue of the Wheel Report is available now! I’d like to give a shout out to our editor Tom Fedor and all the contributors that have made this winter’s Wheel Reports possible. Check it out here.

It’s the time of year for officer elections, and Scott Schill has generously volunteered to be Nominations Chair once again. If you would like to put yours or another Division members’ name in the hat for the positions of Superintendent, Clerk or Paymaster, please reach out to Scott at scottschill@comcast.net . The election itself will take place during our May meeting, and I’ve attached the relevant bylaws Article for ease of reference, as well.

Article XIII  Terms of Office, Nominations, and Elections

1. The Superintendent and Clerk-Paymaster will serve one-year terms.

2. No one may fill more than one elected position simultaneously except for brief transition periods.

3. In preparation for each year’s annual meeting and election, the Nominating Committee will solicit candidates, explaining the requirements of the position. In addition, any three members may nominate someone via a written notice to the Nominating Committee, with the permission of the nominee. Such nominations must be submitted to the Nominating Committee at least thirty days ahead of the election.

4. The names of the candidates for office will be communicated to the membership at least fifteen days before the election.

5. If contested, the election will be conducted by the Nominating Committee Chair at the annual meeting via secret ballot. Ballots will be counted and results announced before the close of the meeting. Positions will be filled by a simple plurality of votes.

6. Members elected will take office on July 1.

7. In case of a vacancy in an elected position (article VIII), a special election can be held at any Division meeting. Special elections must be held in accordance with the rules defined above.

Stay safe, stay warm, and I hope to see you all there!

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent

Blame the Brass

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Clutter from the Super’s Desk

The Mini-Con is fast approaching, and I want to thank Pete & Jane Clarke, once again, for doing the heavy lifting to make it happen, as well as all the Division members who have volunteered their time to present a clinic. This event really is something special, and that’s because of you.

Although we’ve had an incredible response for meeting hosts over the past years, we need more volunteers. It’s been Division practice to wait a couple of years before returning to a member’s home. This precedent has caused the well to run dry, so to speak. With that said, if you think you might be interested in hosting, please reach out. I’ve communicated with several members this past season who indicated they don’t have much to show, when in fact they have a fabulous basement full of trains. Additionally, I’m also looking at ways we can make use of clinics along with other railroad activities to bolster our meetings, so that folks who want to host but don’t have a layout can become involved.

Finally, I’d like to remind everyone that 2019/20 Division elections happen in May. If you would like to make a nomination for any officer positions, contact this year’s nominations chair, Scott Schill at scottschill@comcast.net.

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent, Division 10

February SMD meeting canceled

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hello everyone,

I am sorry to inform you all that there will be no Division meeting for the month of February. I did not send an earlier notification as I was hoping to work something out, but c’est la vie! I’d like to thank those who have offered to open their homes to SMD but were not able to this month, and to repeat the offer that, if you’re interested but on the fence about hosting a meeting, let me know and we’ll do everything we can to help you get ready.

In other news, I want to give a shout out to Pete & Jane Clarke for their tireless efforts in organizing the SMD’s ever-popular Mini-Con in Blue Ridge Summit once again. If there’s anyone you’d like to see get into the hobby- friends, relatives, there’s always somebody!- now’s the time to nudge them to put April 13th on the calendar. Furthermore, the last edition of the Wheel Report is coming up fast, and Tom Fedor can always use quality content! Snap some picture with your phone and show us what you’ve been working on this winter.

Looking ahead, there are exciting developments in the works for South Mountain in the near future, so be sure to watch this space. In the meanwhile, take care out there, and I hope yo see you all next month!

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

January Business Meeting

I’m writing to let you all know that we’re going ahead with our February meeting at Pete & Jane Clarke’s home this afternoon. That said, I certainly understand the weather situation, and I want to caution safety first, just like on the real railroad! If you don’t feel comfortable traveling, please, stay home and don’t risk it.
Currently, it appears that all the major thoroughfares in and out of Damascus are clear but wet. The same can not be said of side roads and residential areas, however. Pete cautions that his own street has not been plowed, and there is a chance but no guarantee it will be plowed by 2PM. He advises the snow is roughly 3 inches at his home, and vehicles have been up and down his street. With caution, it should be okay, but again, please defer to your better judgement. Stay safe, and I hope to see a few of you soon!

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Hey there,

I hope everyone had a happy holiday season. I want to invite you all to our January meeting at Pete & Jane Clarke’s this coming Sunday, January 13th. Doors open at 2PM, with the business meeting to follow no later than 2:30PM, per the format we’ve discussed at the last couple of meetings to let folks to get home earlier. If you’d like to catch up on all that, you can find last month’s minutes here: http://smdnmra.org/blog/2019/01/03/draft-meeting-minutes-december-8-2018/.

PLEASE BE AWARE, we are under a winter weather advisory through Sunday! We’ll be keeping an eye on the conditions and, if the roads get too bad, I’ll notify everyone again should we need to cancel the meeting. If you have any questions, please call or text me at (540) 532-6244.

The door to the basement is in through the kitchen. For anybody who attended our December meeting, Pete and Jane live only a few streets away, so, watch those speed cameras. Please call or email me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com for their street address.

Pete and Jane model the East Broad Top in HO Scale. With scenery all but entirely complete, the layout features many vignettes and examples of fine detailing evocative of the prototype. Even having visited the EBT only once, I found Orbisonia’s landmarks instantly recognizable. Their rendition of the EBT is an operating layout, using waybills, a fast clock, and Time Table & Train Order, and a testament to just how much railroad you can fit in a small space! 

In lieu of a clinic, I’d like to have a round table discussion about… our membership meetings! Not only do we want to encourage and facilitate the open houses which double as our meeting spaces, I want to hear what you have to say regarding what we could do differently or perhaps, even better.

Stay safe this weekend, and I hope to see you all soon!

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

Winchester Model Railroad Club

I’ve been asked by Andy Arnold of the Winchester Model Railroad Club to relay the following message. If you’re unfamiliar, the WMRRC occupies a renovated freight house in Winchester, VA, and is easily accessible from both I-81 and Rt. 7. 

After 30+ years, it looks like the Winchester Model Railroad Club is about to lose its lease.  If that happens, we will have 30 days to dismantle the layout and strip the building to the walls.  We are actively pursuing space for a new layout and other options. We don’t expect to disband the club.

We already have open house events scheduled:

    •       Sunday, Dec 23, from 1:00 to 4:00
    •       Monday, Dec 31, from 6:00 to 10:00 (part of Winchester’s First Night event)

These will probably be the last two chances to see our layout before we dismantle it. We are located at 430 N. Cameron St, Winchester, VA.  You can find us on the web at wmrrc.org .

Directions from the WMRRC website are…

    • Set your GPS to 430 N. Cameron St., Winchester.

-or-

    • Take Exit 313 (Route 50 West) off of I-81

    • Follow Rt. 50W in to Winchester 

    • Turn right onto South Cameron Street

    • South Cameron becomes North Cameron at the center of town

    • Proceed to the brick CSX Freight Building on right side of street

Attached photo is from WMRRC’s Facebook page. Tearing down a layout is always a great loss, and doubly so for a long-standing landmark like the Winchester club.

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

MER convention registrar needed

MER VP Kurt Thompson, asking for volunteers to take over as Convention Registrar, effective immediately. Please read the job description per the MER Executive Handbook below.

 

 

Appointed by: President
Approved by: Board of Directors
Reports to: Executive Convention Chairman
Position Summary The MER Convention Registrar shall perform the normal registration duties associated with mounting an MER convention. The MER Convention Registrar is an integral member of the MER Convention Action Team (CAT) and works closely with the Local Convention Committee.
Principal responsibilities:Registration records: 1.Sets up and maintains suitable registration records for each convention, working closely with the Local Convention Committee and the MER Convention Treasurer and the Executive Convention Chairman; Registration form: 1. Designs and maintains a convention registration form, both print copy and web form, e.g. one version in Word and another as a pdf file, with input from the Local Convention Committee and approved by the Executive Convention Chairman;2. Provides the registration form(s) to the Webmaster in a suitable electronic format; 3. Provide to Editor of The Local a registration form for inclusion with the ballot and as needed for printing in The Local; 4. Updates the registration form regularly working closely with the Local Convention Committee, and provide updated forms to the Webmaster and editor of The Local.
Individual registrations: 1. Directs all registrations to his office and manages all registrations, both prior to the convention and at the door, 2. Deposits all funds received in the registration process in the bank account for that convention and account to the Convention Treasurer for these funds, Registration Packages: 1. Creates and is responsible for the basic registration packages for all convention attendees, 2. Coordinates with the Local Convention Committee and the ECC for registration inserts, 24 Accounting: 1. Makes all deposits from registrations or other sources in a timely manner, 2. After the conclusion of a convention, transfers all financial records to the Convention Treasurer, 3. Acts as a back-up for the MER Convention Treasurer (or may also be the MER Convention Treasurer), (deleted 10/4/2018) Statistics: 1. Tracks the registration statistics of the convention, working with the MER Convention Treasurer. Provides the Executive Convention Chairman, the MER Treasurer and the MER Vice-President a final registration statistical report.

TT/TO Ops

Oregon Coast RR map

I’d like to relay a message from SMD member Don Florwick, letting you know he’s taking reservations for a January operating session on Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad. The session is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th, with Tuesday, January 22nd as an alternate date in case of bad weather. It will be a daytime session, beginning at 10:30AM until around 2:30PM. 

This session is Time Table & Train Order, and folks interested in learning about TT&TO are encouraged to join the group. The session can accommodate up to 15 people, and Don will be keeping a standby list in case of cancellations. If you’d like to go, please contact Don Florwick directly at DJFlorwick@comcast.net to reserve a spot for this exciting event. If you’d like to know more about the railroad, please visit oregoncoastrr.potomac-nmra.org/

December Business Meeting

Alex Polimeni, superintendent NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

I would like to invite everyone to our December meeting at Frank Benenati’s home this coming Sunday, December 9th. Doors open at 2PM for a tour of the layout, with the meeting to follow. If you missed our last meeting, you’ll find our clerk’s impeccably edited minutes attached below.

Afterward, Frank will be demonstrating how to use a Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines and adjust sound levels and other CVs. Frank says, “I’ve had good results with the exception of first generation WOW sound steam.  If anyone wants to bring an HO engine they want to “reprogrammed” we will use it as a demonstrator.  If you have the manufacturer’s decoder information bring it along as that will be of assistance.” Folks are more than welcome to stay and socialize, as well.

Frank models a Western Maryland themed railroad, which he started while living in Germany and is modular in design. His layout uses Digitrax DCC and features Campbell, Bar Mill, Foss and more in addition to scratch built structures. A Timetable, fast clock, and waybill routing to simulate operations, with first generation diesels providing motive power.

Frank’s home is the last house on the left at the end of his street.

Please email southmountaindiv@gmail.com if you need Frank’s street address.

The railroad is in the basement, so if any members would prefer to avoid the indoor flight of stairs, you may walk around the side of the carport, continue around the back of the house, and down the gentle slope to the basement door. There will be a couple of steps inside the door, however. All others are encouraged to use the basement stairs adjacent to the kitchen/carport door.

Furthermore, Frank cautions, “Just about every road into and out of Damascus has a speed camera cleverly located to generate revenue for Montgomery County.  Remember to keep an eye out for “safety corridor” and other warning signs.  Occasionally there are “doubles” placed to catch those who speed up after passing the first camera.”

In other news, I’d like to apologize for not getting this out sooner! I’ve been trying to send only two emails a month- an update and a reminder- a couple of weeks apart, but as it stands, please expect another reminder email this Saturday. This is also the first email from the Division’s new address, so I’m hoping this won’t get “lost in the mail”, so to speak.

I hope to see you all soon,

Alex Polimeni

Superintendent

Blame the Brass

Alex Polimeni, superintendent, NMRA South Mountain Division 10. (Tom Fedor)

Clutter from the Super’s Desk

If you receive the NMRA Magazine, you may have already read the President’s Car column in the November issue. It was suggested to me that I read it before writing this, and I’m glad I did. If you haven’t, I’ll do my best to sum up Pete Magoun‘s words in a nutshell: “National can’t overcome the challenges that face the Association alone. Regions and Divisions control their own web presence and PR efforts, and it’s up to them to do the boots-on-the-ground work to build, grow, and prosper.”

Pete’s messaged really connected with me, because I believe SMD is ahead of the curve. We already have an incredible outlet through which to engage with the public in the form of the annual Mini-Con. Our membership is very much involved in the hobby both within and outside of SMD by way of operating sessions, enthusiast groups, open house tours, and conventions across the country. Not only that, but a recurring conversation at our meetings is the idea of stronger outreach and networking efforts to both new and long-time members. Furthermore, our newsletter editor and webmaster have been looking at options to overhaul our website. You can expect more dialogue regarding both of these subjects in the months to come.

I want to take this opportunity to apologize to those members who do not use email, as I did not mail reminders for those meetings as I promised in the Fall edition of the Wheel Report. Thank you for your patience and continued enthusiasm.

In closing, I need to thank this season’s hosts, Rich Randall, Bob Johnson, and Frank Benenati for opening their homes to the Division. Congratulations go out to member Bob Morningstar for his his “Golden Spike” Achievement Program (AP) certificate. We’ve built a strong head of steam in 2018, and I know we’re only going to pick up speed through the winter.