MER Director Candidates, 2019

Nominees for NMRA MER Director were announced in The Local newsletter for July and August. You should receive paper ballots or electronic voting instructions in August. The deadline to vote is 3 September. The three candidates are Randy Foulke, Jerry Lauchle, and SMD’s Robert Morningstar, from Greencastle, PA. Check out the latest Local for all the candidate profiles.

Here is Bob’s bio…

Bob Morningstar

I have been an HO scale modeler since 1978 and member of the NMRA since 2006. I have served as past treasurer and president of the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum.

My desire to serve as a director is driven by my desire to give back to the hobby and the organizations that promote it. My peers consider me a consensus builder and problem solver. I have attended the past two MER conventions and open my layout annually during the local Mainline Hobby Supply hobby shop open house layout tours. My health is excellent and I am willing to travel for conventions and meetings. Evidence of my passion for the hobby includes publishing to the Model Railroad Hobbyist (MRH) website blog (search “bobmorning”), and at my website, wmrwy.com. I have presented clinics at the South Mountain Division (SMD) Mini Conventions. In 2018 I demonstrated scratch building 3-aspect signals, and this year I did a soldering clinic.

The process of obtaining my MMR has begun. The documentation gathering phase is currently underway. I did obtain my Golden Spike award in 2018. I entered a structure for the first time into the MER’s model contest at the convention in Rockville, MD, and was awarded 3rd place.

This is a fascinating hobby which has provided me with 40 years of relaxation, friendship, and personal satisfaction. Contrary to popular thinking I believe the hobby is not headed for a massive decline. We do need to engage those who express an interest, raise our awareness amongst the general public, and avoid the exclusivity mindset that I have seen from time to time. Leveraging social media, promoting the hobby outside of normal channels, and not being afraid to try new methods will be critical to the continued success of the hobby.

Mainline Hobby Supply Seeks Layouts for September Open House/Tours

Good day fellow model railroaders.

We would like to know if you are willing to patriciate in this year’s open house layout tours on September 21 & 22, 2019?

Please let us know as, soon as possible, what days and hours your layout will be open. A brief description will be needed or an update if you have any changes in your layout.

Sharing your hobby and interests with others is one way to bring more people into the hobby.

And in advance, Bonnie and I would like to thank each and everyone of you who have helped us out over all these years by opening your homes and clubs.

Thank you,

Brian Wolfe

mainlinehobby@comcast.net

Mainline Hobby Supply

Liberty Bell Special 2019 Update

Submitted by Chip Stevens, Philadelphia Division/NMRA

Vacation? We don’t need no stinking vacation!

Said none of the convention committee for Liberty Bell Special 2019 ever. The committee and the Division are hard at work finalizing what promises to be a great experience for our attendees in October. The host hotel is so excited about our upcoming get-together, they’ve redecorated the entire lobby and common areas. Ask the Region Board members who navigated through the plastic curtains and plaster dust to hold their periodic meeting at the hotel last month if the renovations are actually taking place.

Your author is getting older by the day. I remember my high school sweetheart was pleased that she got an IBM Selectric typewriter as a graduation present. Typewrter? I mention this only to show how far we’ve come since 1961 and to demonstrate the importance of this new-fangled thing called “website”.  And I mention website because our webmaster is laboring diligently to keep the Special site updated with the latest news regarding the convention. In fact, he’s foresworn a vacation this summer to keep the www.libertybellspecial.org site current with the committee’s progress. If you haven’t all ready done so, bookmark the site to stay abreast of all that is going on in preparation for October. Currently, the clinic schedule is on the site and I have it from good authority that the detailed clinic descriptions are about to be posted. Don’t let The Hot Rod Chicken leave you wondering. Check for an explanation.

Also on the site is a list of the Open Houses and OpSig sessions, again updated as we add layouts. There are a great number of super layouts covering all scales and interests. The committee has been in touch with the Weather Gods” to make sure there will be no rain for the outdoor layouts. Trust me! We would still like to have some of you “outliers” speak up for hosting visits at your empires for travelers to and from the convention.

For those who don’t want to leave our spacious new convention digs, there will be two modular layouts which will offer operating times within the hotel. Our thanks go out in advance to the Reading Company Technical & Historical Society Modular Group and the New Jersey FreeMo Group for donating their time and equipment to make this possible.

And what would a convention be without a banquet? Our very talented liaison with the hotel has challenged the hotel Chef to prepare something different for us Saturday night. This won’t be the usual rubber chicken drowned in gravy meal. Our liaison and the chef have agreed to prepare a buffet featuring actual dining car recipes for your enjoyment. We are hoping the banquet hall won’t sway and rock like a dining car, but the fare will equal or exceed what you may recall from the golden age of meals on rails.

So while you’re “down shore”, up in the Poconos, out at OBX, or wherever your vacation plans may take you, make time to register for Liberty Bell Special 2019. There are some deadlines posted on the website. Stay abreast of deadlines, additions, changes, and enhancements throughout the summer.

You’ll be glad you did!

SWOOPS, 2019

Hi guys,
I was out in the Cincy Ohio area this past week – running trains on two great EBT layouts. While there I was asked if I’d help spread the word of this up-coming event.
I’ve operated on both the EBT layouts (what a surprise) and have seen at least 2 of the others. All are excellent layouts. While it’s a long drive, I’m sure anyone who goes would find it well worth the trip.
Pete Clarke

Richard Stern’s Santa Fe.

Don’t miss SWOOPS, 2019! The SouthWest Ohio OPS weekend

20 Great Railroads, many nationally known

3 days/2 nights of operating fun, camaraderie, and the chance to gather ideas for your own layout.

October 18-20, 2019, Cincinnati Area

Website at www.operatingsessions.com

Layouts listed at https://www.operatingsessions.com/L/SWOOPS

Contact rstern1@cinci.rr.com

Mini-Con 2019 Wrap-up

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From Pete Clarke

I’d like to thank the following individuals:

Ron Polimeni, John Madden, Bill Wilson, Jerry Skeim, Jeff Adams, Dotti Caldwell, Don Florwick, Bob Morningstar, Dave Thalman, Jane Clarke, Jeff Grove, Mark Schreier, Larry Nyce, Michael Groves , Grant Berry, Bob VanZant, David Sweeney, Frank Benenati, Kurt Thompson, Ken Montero , Bill Reynolds, Jack Fritz, Gary Nastase, Jay Beckham, Harvey Heyser,  Ken Kime, Andrew Dodge, Andy Arnold, Bob Johnson, Bob Law, Brian Greenawalt , Ira Silverman, Rueben Moss, Paul Eberhat, Frank Schaller, Wade Woodcock,  Charlie Wootten, Dave Dietz, Richard Benjamin, Ray Price, Herb Biegel, Brian & Bonnie Wolfe.

And if you worked during the Mini and I missed you in this list, I apologize, and still thank you.

The 2019 event was a success. Attendance was 232; a new record! The Raffle produced a net profit of $220.00 and the White Elephant table produced a net profit of $133.00. I received reimbursement of $28.28 for coffee and donuts.

I’ve spoken with Brian Wolfe, of Mainline Hobby Supply, and he also felt the event was a success.  He’s willing to support it again. I’m willing to do it again. Join me at the September meeting and let me know you’ll be willing to participate again.

Pete Clarke

FY 2019-2020 Officers Named

SMD officer elections were held at the 19 May business meeting for the upcoming 2019-2020 fiscal year. The previous administration was unanimously reelected. The current officers are:

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)
Harvey Heyser III, clerk (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)
Raymond Price, Paymaster (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

May Business Meeting Announcement

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

Hey everyone,

Now that spring has sprung, I hope you’ve all been having a good one. I’m writing to invite you to our last membership meeting of the ’18-’19 year at Bill Wilson’s home this coming Sunday, May 19th. Doors open at 2PM to view the layout, with the business meeting and a clinic to promptly follow. Bill models an HO scale point-to-point B&O freelance set in the 1950’s, and Bob Geldmacher will be giving a clinic on scenery. For  Bill’s address, contact me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com.

In other news, the Division had another outstanding Mini-Con this past month, with the largest public turnout we’ve seen to date and an all-around great job representing the Division. Thank you.

Looking ahead, our most significant item of new business this meeting will be in regard to our annual officer’s election. While our current board of officers have all agreed to serve another term, and there have been no other nominations that we have been made aware of, the election process has broken down in a number of ways, and I would like to ask the Division’s input to help satisfactorily resolve the situation as we wrap up the year. I’ll have more info on this with my second meeting reminder this Friday.

Hope to see you all soon,

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent, SMD

Draft Meeting Minutes – March 9, 2019

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – March 9, 2019

There was no SMD meeting in February because of difficulties finding a host.

Division members met at Hobby Town USA in Frederick, MD, hosted by Richard Benjamin, proprietor.  25 or so were present.  After looking at the shop’s offerings and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

19.3-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $4032.75 in its bank account including a deposit from the MER.  In response to a question, the Paymaster indicated that the SMD receives $1 per year per member (in two payments).  For the most part, that revenue seems to cover Division expenses.  Other possible revenue sources include the Mini-Con and hosting Regional conventions.

19.3-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes (based on notes taken by Dave Sweeney in the Clerk’s absence and previously distributed by e-mail).  Dave Sweeney made the following motion (seconded by Andy Dodge):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the January 2019 meeting be approved as submitted.  The motion passed unanimously.

Those present agreed that the sense of the motion made at the January meeting was that a summary of draft minutes for approval will be sufficient (rather than reading).

Old Business:

18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:  Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Location: Blue Ridge Fire Company, Blue Ridge, PA.  Chair Pete Clarke (ebtmx5@aol.com) summarized arrangements to date and indicated arrangements were in good shape generally:

a. Registration and set up: Volunteers lined up.

b. Informal clinics:  Lined up.  Chair Clarke reviewed presenters and topics.

c. Hands-on clinics (make & take):  Lined up.  There will be a lot of preparation required.

d. Formal clinics (afternoon):  1) Philadelphia MER Convention Committee – brief convention announcement,  2) Jeff Grove – laser technology in modeling, 3) Ira Silverman, author of The Canadian, Last of the Great Streamliners, and 4) Alex Polimeni – model railroad operations as game design.  Superintendant Polimeni will bring the projector and screen.

e. Dealer and vendor tables:  1) Larry Nyce – railroadiana, 2) Grant Berry, 3) Jeff Grove – Carolina Craftsman Kits, 4) Mark Scheirer – Foggy Mountain Models – O scale craftsman kits, 5) Dave Sweeney, 6) Bob VanZant, and Michael Groves – Darwin fiber optic system of lights..  Vendors have agreed to make a $10 donation.  Chair Clarke requested notification of any specific vendor needs.

f. Modular layouts:  George Saar – dead rail layout and (Mr. Saar was unable to attend.)  Andy Van Slyke – F scale (large scale) live steamer on rollers.  Chair Clarke will coordinate proper safety measures.

g. Raffle – $150 gift certificate to Mainline Hobbies – $10 ticket price.

h. Door prizes – $50 gift certificate to Hobby Town USA, Frederick, an HOn3 MDC kit loco from Andy Dodge and a Classic Miniatures craftsman kit from Bob Johnson.

i. SMD brochure to hand out – not discussed.

j. Participation by other clubs and groups:  Hagerstown and Frederick Railroad Historic Society, the Four County Society of Model Engineers, and the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum at Antietam Station will be there.

k. Publicity – not discussed specifically.

l. Video record:  HO Scale Customs, who taped last year’s Mini-Con, will be present taping this year’s and requested some comments from informal clinic presenters (with permission only).

m. Manufacturer’s displays:  See item e. above.

n. White elephant table:  Those present discussed their desire for one and reviewed the effect on Mainline Hobbies..  Frank Benenati volunteered to set up a tally sheet, get change, and make other arrangements for the table.  The Division will accept donations rather than charge a set fee for items sold.

o. Food:  The Boy Scout group confirmed their participation after Chair Clarke managed to contact them.

p. Equipment needed form SMD members:  Chair Clarke requested extension cords and surge protectors, and coolers. (Coolers were not required because the Boy Scouts were confirmed for food.)

New Business:

19.3-3 Richard Benjamin, proprietor, welcomed everyone to Hobby Town USA of Frederick, MD.  Those present thanked him for making space available for the meeting.

19.3-4 E-mails to Members:  Superintendent Polimeni reported some difficulties reaching some addresses from the Division’s G-mail accounts.  To minimize chances of being confused with junk mail, it was suggested breaking up the membership list (reducing the number of addresses) and making multiple mailings.

19.3-5 Future hosts:  The officers met to discuss this issue.  A host for the May meeting has been found.

19.3-6 Nominations for the Election (May meeting):  Submit names to Scott Schill, Nominations Chair.

19.3-7 Andy Dodge thanked the SMD for the opportunity to participate in SMD activities and indicated he has transferred his membership to the Potomac Division, where he will be serving as Assistant Superintendent.

19.3-8 Winchester Club Layout:  Andy Arnold reported that CSX has accepted an offer from the battered women’s shelter to purchase the building the Club currently occupies.  The Club is fundraising to build a new building and layout (estimated funding needed – $60,000).  In the mean time they have to tear their existing layout down.  Documenting that task offers someone interested in AP author credits an opportunity to write about the process of tearing a layout down.

19.3-9 Talking about Our Hobby with Lay People:  There is a wide interest in learning about model railroading.  How do we communicate with the general public?  This was suggested as a round table topic for next year’s Mini-Con.

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the May SMD meeting and annual election will be communicated to the members.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, Dr. Michael Groves from Darwin Enterprises spoke on ‘A Revolutionary Way to Light Your Hobby” using low cost fiber optics rather than the complicated wiring required for numerous LEDs.

Liberty Bell 2019 News

Submitted by Chip Stevens/Philly Division, NMRA

The baseball season has started, in some parts of the region the grass is greening and yard work is fast approaching. And all over the region, Liberty Bell 2019 is also fast approaching. We’ve been busy on your behalf readying a memorable fall get-together. The clinic schedule is filled, 41 layout owners have agreed to sponsor open houses, and several operating sessions have been scheduled. There is still room for layout owners outside the Philly division who want to open their layouts for travelers to let us know their intentions to rest weary travelers. Those interested should email Bill Fagan at wfagan@comcast.net. There is also ops information available on the convention website at libertybellspecial.org. Note, you can sign up for automatic updates on the convention status on the site.

In our last communication, we described the extensive, behind the scenes Saturday trip available on the former Reading branch now called the Colebrookdale Railroad. This all-day trip will demonstrate everything from locomotive startup through duties of the various crew members and will include opportunities for photo run-bys. Sign ups for this trip are on the convention website at libertybellspecial.org. Please note, there is a capacity limitation for this trip, so register early.

Remember that the host hotel has extended their room rate discount to attendees due to the Columbus Day holiday on the Monday after the close of the convention. With this in mind, there are a couple of NON-NMRA SPONSORED/NON-NMRA ENDORSED attractions will available to attendees after our wrap-up Sunday morning. The historic Norfolk & Western (Norfolk Southern) steam engine #611 will be offering trips under steam Sunday and Monday on the Strasburg Railroad. We have reserved a block of discounted tickets for the Sunday afternoon trip which is available through the convention registration page. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children. Please note, this reservation must be made by July 31, 2019 as the remaining tickets must be returned to the railroad on August 1st. Strasburg is approximately 65 miles west of the convention hotel. Also situated at Strasburg is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, dedicated primarily to the Pennsylvania Railroad, but of major interest to all train enthusiasts. More information on either of these attractions can be found at www.strasburgrailroad.com and rrmuseumpa.org. In a different direction, weekend operations are scheduled on the Reading and Northern Railroad and the Lehigh Valley Gorge Railroads.

As you can see, we have a lot planned at the convention and there are many opportunities to have a total railroad experience while you are in Pennsylvania. As we said before, all roads lead to King of Prussia!

Colebrookdale RR Tour Added to Liberty Bell Convention

Submitted by Chip Stevens/Philly Division, NMRA

We’ve been battling the cold weather as many of you have been recently, but we have made good progress on Liberty Bell 2019 scheduled for October 2019.

Our clinic schedule has begun to gel. We have a great list of speakers and subjects committed to us or penciled into our draft clinic schedule which will be published later this spring. The highlight so far is a seminar about The Hot Rod Chicken. No, it’s not barbecues nor car racing, but the description looks intriguing. We have also had several well-known manufacturers volunteer to do “Make and Take” clinics carrying a small charge for materials.

But the biggest development firmed up is the Saturday, October 12th Day on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The railroad was a branch line of the former Reading Railroad. Our tentative plans are to meet at the Boyertown, PA yard at 9 AM to review the days plan. We will then have a locomotive tour and go through the actual start up process for a day’s locomotive work. Next, we’ll have an abbreviated explanation of the conductors and brakeman’s duties followed by an Initial Terminal Test and Inspection walk of our train and a crew meeting.

After boarding a passenger coach, there will be a raffle for tickets giving the winners an actual cab ride during the day’s trip. Three photo run by’s are scheduled prior to lunch in the dining car. After arrival in Pottstown, PA, a run-around is slated with a Continuity test scheduled prior to the start of the return trip to Boyertown. There is an additional photo op scheduled during the return trip which should reach Boyertown by 3 PM., in time for the Saturday night banquet. One of our division members is working with the railroad to add additional features to this exciting day. Cost information for this trip should be on the Liberty Bell website by the time you read this summary. Work is under way on additional tours, but so far, this is my favorite.

For updates and additional activities and convention and hotel reservations, please visit the Regional websites LibertyBellSpecial.org, MER2019.org, or LibertyBellSpecail2019.org regularly.