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

BSME closing, To relocate…

We are cancelling all our open house shows. We have lost our lease and have been given our ninety day notice to vacate. We will be relocating and are currently looking at locations around the greater Baltimore area. Stay with us here for updates and/or follow us on facebook.
– Thank-you for your support.

For those who have not heard the news, the BSME has been given their 90 day notice to vacate the location at 225 W. Saratoga street after 66 years!

Due to this and the power issues we experienced in November we will not be holding any more open houses and will be concentrating on relocation.

We have three locations we are already looking into as a possible new home.

For question feel free to respond here, and visit our website (www.modelengineers.com) or follow us on facebook (@BaltoTrains) for updates on relocation efforts.

Thank-you for your support over the past years.

Regards

Jim, BSME President

Baltimore Society of Model Engineers, Estd. 1932

[Notice shared from PD_NMRA@yahoogroups.com. -Ed.]

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 8, 2018

Division members met at Frank Benenati’s home.  15 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 8, 2018

Division members met at Frank Benenati’s home.  15 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

Reports:  Note that the order of the reports has been adjusted to conform to their order during recent meetings.

18.12-1 Paymaster’s Report:  As the Paymaster was not present, there was no report.

18.12-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes.  There was general agreement that item #18.10-7 Change of date and/or time of SMD meetings should be corrected as follows:  “There was discussion but no agreement to change the meeting start time.  The social portion of the meetings will continue to start at 2 p.m.  The Superintendent will call the business portion of the meeting to order shortly after that (by 2:30 p.m.) to facilitate finishing business and clinics early enough for those traveling a long way to leave before sundown.”

Jane Clarke made the following motion (seconded by Pete Clarke):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the May 2018 meeting be approved as corrected.  The motion passed unanimously.

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:

a. Registration:  Volunteers lined up.  It was suggested to make the sign-in sheet digital to obtain more usable information about attendees.

b. Informal clinics:  Some spaces are still available.  (One suggestion:  working on a model has gotten very positive response in the past.)

c. Hands-on clinics:  Mainline Hobbies has donated DPM kits, and Jeff Grove has donated Carolina Craftsman laser kits.

d. Formal clinics (afternoon):  1) Jeff Grove – laser technology, 2) Ira Silverman – Canadian railroading, and 3) Alex Pollimeni – model railroad operations as game design.  The Chair reported having been contacted by a visitor from England offering to compare and contrast modeling in England and the U. S.  Members expressed concern that the afternoon sessions will stretch too long limiting attendance for the formal clinics and cutting take-down time for modular layouts.  It was suggested that the visitor be invited to give his clinic at a regular meeting.

e. Dealer tables:  1) Larry Nyce – railroadiana, 2) Grant Berry, and 3) Jeff Grove – Carolina Craftsman.

f. Modular layouts:  Looking for an additional new group.  Contact Chair Clarke.

g. Raffle – $150 gift certificate to Mainline Hobbies.

h. Door prize – $50 gift certificate to HobbyTown, Frederick.

i. SMD brochure to hand out – suggested.  (The 4 County group has had success with theirs.)

j. Participation by other clubs and groups welcome.

18.10-5 Web Site:  A blog feature has been added to the SMD web site.  If members forget the address, a link has been added from the NMRA site.  NMRA National has been encouraging divisions to have a greater web presence.

18.11-6 Future notices and updates from the officers will originate from an SMD e-mail address rather than a personal account.  With this change, Superintendent Pollimeni expressed concern some members may not receive his e-mail blasts.  He requested any member not getting notices to contact him at southmountaindiv@gmail.com

18.11-7 Operating Session at Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad (Gainesville VA):  Don Florwick reported there were a few crew spots still open for this TT/TO session (scheduled for Thursday 1-17-19 – snow date Tuesday 1-22-19).  SMD members interested in participating should contact Don Florwick by e-mail:   donflorwick@gmail.com

(As of 12-27-18, Don reported the crew list full.  Contact him to get on the extra board in case of cancellations.)

New Business:

18.12-3 Host Frank Benenati welcomed everyone to his HO scale Western Maryland themed railroad.

18.12-4 MER Convention Registrar:  A volunteer is needed immediately.

18.12-5 Holiday train displays:  – Winchester Model Railroad Club (B&O freight house, Winchester, VA)

– 4 County Model Railroad Club modular display (Westminster MD Mall)

18.12-6 Contacting Mini-Con attendees:  Several people pointed out this is one of the primary purposes of the Mini-Con.  Further discussion will be scheduled for the January regular meeting. 

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the next SMD meeting will be communicated to the members.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Frank Benenati was not able to demonstrate using Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines because of a technical glitch (Murphy again), but he held a lively discussion with those present.

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

Bunker Hill Train Club Open House

Bunker Hill Train Club

The Bunker Hill Train Club 30×60’ HO scale model railroad layout, with over 7 miles of track and multiple trains running at one time, will be open to the public on 15 December, 2018 (10AM – 4PM) & 16-December, 2018 (12PM – 4PM). The club has railroad artifacts, memorabilia, and a B&O wagon-top caboose. Light refreshments will be available.

Bunker Hill Train Club

1298 Sam Mason Rd

Bunker Hill, WV 25413

http://www.bunkerhilltrainclub.org/

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/

Draft Meeting Minutes – November 11, 2018

Division members met at Bob Johnson’s home.  18 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – November 11, 2018

Division members met at Bob Johnson’s home.  18 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendant Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

Reports:

18.11-1 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes.  Pete Clarke pointed out that Item #17.10-4 should read as follows:  “The SMD gave $140.00 (most of the Mini-Con proceeds) to support Mainline Hobbies’ fall layout tour.  Pete Clarke made the following motion (seconded by Jerry Skeim):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the May 2018 meeting be approved as corrected.  The motion passed unanimously.

18.11-2 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that the Division has $4,017.11 in its bank account including dispersal of $119.40 to Yahoo and deposit of $41.00 from the MER.

Old Business:

17.5-3-d. T-Track Modules:  Richard Benjamin of Hobbytown Frederick thanked the Division for the donation of the modules.

18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:  The date will be Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Chair Pete Clarke indicated the date was selected to avoid conflicts with the Timonium Show and Easter.  Members willing to give informal clinics should contact Mr. Clarke.

18.10-5 Web Site:  Tom Fedor reported that he and Roy Hoffman are working on a new site format based on Word Press, a blog type web building tool that will allow better ties between the site and the Wheel Report.  The new site format will provide a quicker way to publish (on a weekly basis if desired) but still allow printing of some content for the members receiving the newsletter by mail.  The new format will also allow for easier archiving and will facilitate coordination with future officers.  Finally, the new format will present a fresher web presence and will include more attractive material for potential members.  No interface problems are anticipated with NMRA and MER.

18.10-7 Change of date and/or time of SMD meetings:  Given the fact that the meetings have been held on Sundays at 2 p.m. for a very long time and that the meeting sites are varied throughout the area, the discussion tended toward keeping the day of the week and time as they are.  However, it was suggested and agreed that in the future the social portion of the meeting will start at 1:30 p.m. and the business meeting will start at 2 p.m. giving members the possibility of leaving a bit earlier.  (As this is not a part of the by-laws, no formal action was needed.)

New Business:

18.11-3 Host Bob Johnson welcomed everyone to his HO scale West Virginia Midland Railroad.

18.11-4 Gold Spike Award:  Achievement Program Coordinator Jane Clarke presented Bob Morningstar with his Gold Spike award.  She reported that host Bob Johnson is making progress on his Achievement certificates for MMR.

18.11-5 The Wheel Report Deadline for the winter edition is November 15.

18.11-6 Future notices and updates from the officers will originate from an SMD e-mail address rather than a personal account.

18.11-7 Operating Session:  Herb Biegel reported that Matt Thompson of the Potomac Division has invited SMD members for an operating session on his Oregon Coast Railroad (layout in Gainesville VA) sometime after the holidays.  SMD members interested in participating should contact Don Florwick by e-mail.   donflorwick@gmail.com

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the next SMD meeting will be communicated to the members.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Bob Johnson gave an informal clinic on how he makes his layout’s many trees from wild hydrangea gathered at railway and highway cuts as well as from other recently disturbed ground.  He reported that this method of tree making was developed by Harry Clarke.

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

Liberty Bell Special

by Charles “Chip” Stevens

Come celebrate trains in the cradle of liberty!

The Philadelphia Division, NMRA welcomes you and yours to Liberty Bell Special 2019! The next Convention will be October 10 through October 13, 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in King of Prussia, PA. After much deliberation, our committee chose the name Liberty Bell over such other favorites as Cheese Steak Special and some lesser titles. For those of you not familiar with King of Prussia, it is located 20 miles northwest of downtown Philadelphia adjacent to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and many nearby highways. In southeast Pennsylvania, all highways lead to Valley Forge.

Since Monday, October 14 is a Federal Holiday, the hotel has agreed to extend the room rates for the convention for an additional 3 days before and into the week following the convention. The hotel is in walking distance to the second largest shopping mall in the United States with shops and dining to meet any tastes. Also, in driving distance are the Valley Forge National Park whose accommodations during the winters of the American Revolution were not as luxurious as our hotel, Longwood Gardens, the gardens of the Dupont family and many more places of interest. More about the area can be found on the hotel’s website, www.cpvalleyforge.com. For those of you who collect hotel stay points, Crowne Plaza is a part of the IHG hotel group. Registration forms for the Convention and hotel reservation information will be published soon

At this time, we have one prototype tour on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The Colebrookdale is part of the former Reading Barto branch in nearby Boyertown, PA that is a short 50-minute drive from the hotel. In addition to the autumn foliage that occurs in early October,there will be the train ride, lunch, and a tour of the railroad’s shops. The committee is working hard on additional tours and will announce them through the Region and Division newsletters as well as on the websites www.libertybellspecial.org or www.mer2019.org.

Currently we have the first four layout tours scheduled, three HO layouts and a traction layout. Efforts are under way to add to the list both with individual and club layouts. We are attempting to keep all tours and open houses to drives of 30 minutes or less. We would also like to hear from owners and superintendents who are willing to open their layouts to those making the trip to Valley Forge, keeping in mind again that Monday, October 14th is a holiday. Those willing should notify Bill Fagan <bfagan777@hotmail.com> of ability to host. Remember, those Open Houses count toward AP Volunteer points.

Liberty Bell Special will begin on Thursday night with clinics which will continue through Sunday morning. We have one tentative, hands-on clinic planned with a noted presenter, as well as many more sessions tentatively planned. Again, check the website for additional or new clinics. If you want to present a clinic, please email John Seibert <johnhseibert@comcast.net> with your topic.

As usual, Saturday will include the Contest Room. Plan now to bring your latest modeling efforts for sharing with other MER members. More AP credits may be available for your efforts.

Sprinkled among all these activities will be opportunities to operate on some truly spectacular individual and club layouts. We’re keeping those AP Dispatcher ours in mind.

All roads lead to King of Prussia, PA. We hope you and yours will take advantage of this opportunity to visit the convention for a truly memorable experience.