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September/October 2016

Orlando...a city for everyone!

Have you ever wondered how a host group decides to do a NMRA National Convention? 

 Sometimes it comes from reading the minutes from the NMRA Board Meeting.   (Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.)  In the 2012 Midyear Board Meeting "About the Future of the NMRA Annual Conventions" Tony Koester stated, "...it's clear that we cannot continue to do the same thing year after year [at the National convention], no matter how well we do it, and expect markedly different results."

The NMRA 2017 Orlando host group took these words to heart and have been a driving force to bring to the NMRA membership an exciting and dynamic convention this year.

Model Railroading is still our driving force, but each one of us has a family.  Often you have to make a choice between the family vacation and the national convention. Not, this year!  We have designed a convention for the modeler and his family too. We will still have the staples of the convention you've come to expect: layout tours, clinics, prototype tours, silent auction, Modeling with the Masters, and the National Train Show.  For the spouses we have a "beefed up" non-rail and general interest tour schedule.   

But in case you haven't heard, we have 12 theme parks located in the Central Florida area.   Through the Convention and Visitors Bureau we have the opportunity to sell discount theme park tickets to you and your family.  This is the convention to bring your spouse, kids and grandchildren. 

The Rosen Plaza Hotel is located on International Drive right next to the Orange County Convention Center. The convention activities will be held on the first and second floors of the hotel.  For those planning to attend The National Train Show, it's an easy walk across the Skyway Bridge. 

There are five restaurants in our host hotel and more 50 restaurants within two miles of the hotel.  From McDonald's to Capital Bar and Grill, from burgers, to seafood to vegan...and in any price range. There is so much to do in Orlando you can't possibly do it all in a week! 

Registrations for The Orange Blossom Express Orlando 2017 are currently open. You can get a paper registration form on the Orange Blossom Express Orlando 2017 website at www.nmra2017Orlando.org.  
Or electronically register by visiting www.nmra.org, clicking on "NMRA Store" at the top left of the page, clicking on "Members Only Company Store," then choosing "Conventions" from the "Categories" box at the left.

It is not too early to start making your plans for you and your family to attend The Orange Blossom Express NMRA 2017 Orlando Convention.  .We look forward to seeing you in Orlando!  REGISTER TODAY!

EduTRAINING at the Indy Convention 
Education Department Manager
The NMRA's EduTRAIN™ Program was once again well represented at our recent National Convention in Indianapolis.  It is always satisfying to see the seed of a new program germinate and grow.
Bob Blake, EduTRAIN™ Coordinator, has done a great job getting the program up and running.  At the Convention, he gave his update clinic on both Monday and Wednesday.  It was clear from the responses from attendees that the program is meeting its intended purposes, with testimonials from members who have downloaded and viewed the clinics at home, or have downloaded and presented an EduTRAIN™ Clinic at their local Division.
There were also several clinics that have been accepted into the EduTRAIN™ Program presented at the National Convention by their original authors.  These clinics were well attended and a number of members indicated that they chose that particular clinic because it was one accepted into the Program.
EduTRAIN clinics presented in Indianapolis included:
  • "The Art of Soldering" by Dave Carlton 
  • "Weather or Not" by Bruce DeYoung
  • "Do it Yourself Timetable" by Gary Evans
  • "Judging the National Contest" by Bob Hamm 
  • "Getting Started in Operations" by Bob Weinheimer 
  • "Intro to EduTRAIN™" by Bob Blake
The diversity of these titles shows the scope of the program.  If you have not yet viewed the EduTRAIN™ Clinics on line, head over to the Members Only section of the website and you will find them under the Education Department tab.

Download the new Retention and Recruitment brochure on www.nmra.org
At-Large North American Director

Newly posted to the NMRA website is a color brochure "21 Easy Tips to Improve NMRA Member Retention & Recruitment." 

Created as resource material for Division Superintendents and Region Presidents, the brochure offers a descriptive list of simple suggestions (i.e. fun rewards) to help recruit members at train shows and public events, retain and recruit members in divisions and regions, even outreach recruitment opportunities including social media. 

You'll find the brochure under "Members Only" on the website, then by clicking on "Promo Materials." A pdf. file which can be downloaded, printed, then folded as a tri-fold brochure for distribution, it's a good bet you'll find at the very least several helpful tips in its contents. 

The NMRA Joins the YouYube Community!
NMRA Marketing Consultant

As the NMRA strives to expand its social media presence, we are proud to announce the launch of the official NMRA YouTube Channel, NMRA ORG!  The plan is to post informative, educational, interesting and entertaining video content for NMRA members and non-members, as well as provide "sneak peaks" of new NMRA Members-Only content. (The full videos will only be accessible on the Member portion of the NMRA website.) The YouTube Channel is currently located at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHw-7-1FWB5zQgTM0ZVY-Yw, but we should have a custom URL sometime soon.  For now, just use that link.

Video content will be created by members, provided by key model railroading partners and shared from other interesting and relevant YouTubers. We hope to provide our viewers with a "one stop shop" for the best in model railroading videos. 

We invite all members to visit the channel frequently, share the content with fellow hobbyists and feel free to send your own video creations to us for addition to the NMRA library. Videos, or their download links, can be emailed to marketing@nmra.org.  Please note that we can't accept copyrighted material without the express written permission of the content owner.  Doing so would place us in violation of both copyright laws, as well as YouTube policies.
The NMRA YouTube Channel joins our Facebook page (facebook/nmra.org), Twitter feed (@nmraonline) and new Instagram account (nmra_online). We've gained almost 3000 new Facebook followers since February, have just over 600 Twitter followers and are building our Instagram account.   The NMRA would love to feature your photos on Instagram, and we welcome members to send images to marketing@nmra.org. Please include your name (and Instagram name, if applicable), Region and Division, and a brief description of the picture.
Join in the fun on the NMRA's social media channels!  Remember, Without the support of  talented NMRA members just like you, our social media presence could not have grown so quickly!

Gerry Leone, MMR, HLM, and Chuck Diljak
The NMRA eBulletin is an official bi-monthly production of the National Model Railroad Association, Inc. Publishing Department (Don Phillips, Manager). Its purpose is to keep every NMRA member informed about organization news and events.  If you know of an NMRA member who is not receiving this mailing, please direct them to here to update their email address.  If you no longer wish to receive these mailings, please don't mark them as SPAM.  Instead, click the Safe Unsubscribe link at the bottom of this page. ¬©2016 National Model Railroad Association, Inc., P.O. Box 1328, Soddy Daisy TN 37384.

A few words from the President
Caboose Hobbies 
The news of Caboose Hobby's imminent closing hit like a thunderbolt.  This Denver train shop was more than a hobby shop catering to model railroaders; it was a seminal destination for generations of hobbyists.

Started in 1938 by Glenn Brazelton and originally located downtown on 15th street, Caboose quickly became identified with a large inventory and excellent service. Son Duane Miller and wife Joanna took over, expanded and moved when the old location could not handle the increasing inventory.  Their new location on South Broadway was the size of a supermarket, complete with shopping carts, and quickly became a "must" stop for visitors. Certified by Guinness as the World's Largest Train Store, Caboose became known for its staggering inventory, inspiring store layouts and dioramas, and brass case with hundreds of pieces.  It offered clinics and seminars, carried a wide range of magazines and books, and a massive inventory in all scales.  If Caboose did not have it, it did not exist.  Over the decades, Caboose also expanded its mail order and internet presence until fully half of its sales were internet originated.
A changing hobby business and a landlord who wanted to sell the building for a major redevelopment meant the Millers had to either move or close.  Originally, they chose to downsize and move to a smaller location but after such a long time in the business, Duane and Joanna decided to close up and call it an era.  And it truly was; stories of first visits to Caboose are legion and often very similar.  As many times as I have been there, Caboose was not to be taken lightly. The more you looked, the more you found.  I never was able to visit without getting something, and often, to Margaret's horror, many somethings!  But always they were wonderful items at fair prices and often products you did not find elsewhere.
Now Denver is left without a major train shop, although there are some excellent smaller shops in town including a favorite of mine that specializes in used equipment.  Colorado Springs still has two major shops left but that is a one hour drive south.  Regardless, I wish the Millers well and thank them for all of the wonderful years they gave us.  Classy folks.  Hopefully, another shop will provide train equipment to the many modelers in the Denver metro area.

Did you notice that the 2017 Walthers catalog combines HO-N-Z in one volume?  Some may celebrate this as it presents more scale options, but this also is another example of the contraction of the hobby.  There simply is not enough product to justify two catalogs, as in past years.  Walthers, like Caboose, is a seminal part of the hobby industry and while far from closing, is an example of changes in the industry. 
The future of Walthers, Caboose-style shops, and the NMRA resides in your hands.  For every product you buy online to save a dollar, you contribute to the Caboose closing or the Walthers contraction.  For every new member you ignore at an event or fail to make welcome, you doom the NMRA.  In reality, the answer to the contracting hobby lies with us all.  We are the customers and the ambassadors of model railroading. We can make a difference.
In the November issue of NMRA Magazine, I will expand on this topic but also address the very different situation overseas.  There the hobby is thriving and shows it can here also.  So do not be discouraged but please do recognize that we face challenges which together we can meet and overcome.
Well, those are my thoughts; what are yours?



Summary of the Board of Directors Meeting

Please note that this is an unofficial summary of what took place at the BOD meeting in Indianapolis last July. The official minutes, authored by secretary John Stevens, will appear on the NMRA website, www.nmra.org.
  • Member Discount Program - A draft letter soliciting hobby shops to join the program has been prepared and is under review.  In addition, a list of talking points for members to use while discussing the program with hobby shop owners is in the works.  Plans are for RAC Director Steve August to send these materials to Region Presidents for distribution to Divisions, and ultimately to members.
  • The Layout Visitation Directory group has completed a large survey of layout owners listed in the former Pike Registry.  The survey focused on visitation problems and issues.  The group also solicited input from selected NMRA members as to what should be included in the online Directory and how that content should be displayed.  The group is currently consulting with the NMRA web development staff.
  • After making significant progress with the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) regarding the "Magic of Scale Model Railroading" display, the person in charge was reassigned to a different job.  President Charlie Getz has met with the new CSRM point person and has received positive feedback.  He reports that it appears that the display will be moving forward sometime this year.
  • The IRS has rejected the initial application for a unified 501(c)(3) classification for the test Region and Division.  The NMRA has asked a law firm for advice on how to adjust the application to get it through the IRS.
  • The Board decided to retain the former "Pike Registry" under the name of "Layout Registry."  More will be announced in the coming months.
  • After not having a price increase for NMRA Magazine subscriptions since 2012, the Board passed a motion to adjust  subscription rates, effective October 1, 2016, to reflect the actual cost of delivering printed magazines to members in the various major geographies.  Renewals due between now and October 1, 2016 will be charged at the current rate; renewals after that date will be charged at the new rate.  The price increases are as follows:
    • Increase US subscriptions to $28 USD from $22 USD
    • Increase US student subscriptions to $28 USD from $22 USD
    • Increase the Canada subscription price to $33 USD from $17.50 USD
    • Adjust all International (non-USA and Canada) subscription rates to a uniform $53 USD from the current range of $53-58 USD.
    • Maintain the non-actuarial Life subscription draw at $5.67 USD.  Raise the actuarial Life member rates to $28 USD, regardless of geography.
  • After hearing excellent presentations from both the British Region and the Australasian Region, the Board awarded the 2022 NMRA National Convention to the British Region. The last time the national convention was in Britain was 1971.  The convention will be called "The Heart of England."
  • In addition to its usual business, the Board, Officers and Department heads participated in a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to help with future planning. 
  • A Communications and Social Media Action Group was instituted to aid in setting strategies and tactics for  electronic media.  The group will suggest ways to help raise the profile of the NMRA, extend its reach to new demographics, and aid in communication.

Dozens of new videos streaming online
at our website!

By Gerry Leone, MMR
Vice President / Special Projects

Our website features over two dozen new videos for your enjoyment!  Most are "Members Only" benefits.

"Introduction to Layout Command Control (LCC)" is a recording of the clinic given by the OpenLCB team in Indianapolis.  The clinic was recorded from the audience and only has ambient sound, but it is nevertheless extremely informative.  If you're curious about what LCC can do, watch this clinic.  You'll find it at http://www.nmra.org/introduction-layout-command-control-lcc on our website.

Model Railroader Video Plus donated a 12-minute overview of highlights of last July's "Highball to Indy" convention in Indianapolis.  Just ignore the video's dorky host and you'll hear interviews with President Charlie Getz, a founder of Operations Roadshow, and two members of the LCC team who demonstrate the simplicity of LCC signalling.  That video will be posted to our main homepage soon (if it's not there already), so members and non-members alike can see what a great convention "Highball to Indy" was.   Look for it in the "slideshow" on the homepage.

Watch for more Model Railroader Video Plus videos  on our website at http://www.nmra.org/members/videos in the near future.  These videos are generous donations by Model Railroader Video Plus to the NMRA in exchange for us sending you promotional emails.  

TrainmastersTV (part of Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine) has also donated a dozen videos to the NMRA in exchange for promotional emailings.  These videos will be posted soon to http://www.nmra.org/members/videos.and feature a wide range of interesting subjects.  

All of these videos are entertaining and great tools to help your modeling. Again we want to thank Model Railroad Academy, Model Railroader Video Plus, and Trainmasters TV for their generosity!

Smile!  The NMRA is now at Smile.Amazon.com

NMRA Fundraising and Development Dept Manager
I'm positive many know about Amazon.com, but are you aware of http:\\smile.amazon.com?  If not, that's ok, it's the same Amazon you are familiar with but with a good twist.  When you shop at smile.amazon.com, Amazon makes a donation to a non-profit charity such as the NMRA and at no additional cost to you!
What is AmazonSmile?
AmazonSmile is a simple charitable donation program setup by Amazon.com, a name you know and trust. AmazonSmile is a way for you to support your favorite charitable organization while you shop at Amazon, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you'll find the exact same prices, tens of millions of products eligible for AmazonSmile, the same convenient shopping experience, and fast shipping as you do with Amazon.com. The added bonus is that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization, the NMRA.

You likely are already shopping on Amazon.com, so on AmazonSmile the prices are the same and you can use Amazon Prime AND they make a donation from the price you already pay!  You can choose from nearly one million non-profit organizations to support but the National Model Railroad Association is the organization I chose. 
Sign up!
Amazon has a website to assist community non-profits such as the National Model Railroad Association fundraise. It's the same Amazon, just a prefix to the normal Amazon.com website. Visit  http://smile.amazon.com and simply log in to your Amazon account as you normally would do.
When you are searching for items and click on the products links, you will see a line near the price that says "Eligible for AmazonSmile donation." and when you purchase that item, a .5% of the purchase price (not an add-on, remember?) will be made to the National Model Railroad Association. 
You only have to sign up once with NMRA as your chosen non-profit and all future AmazonSmile purchases will benefit the National Model Railroad Association. You'll help us with our mission, "...to advance the global scale model railroading community through education, advocacy, standards, and social interaction and we'll continue to develop programs to benefit the members and the public at large."
You can select "National Model Railroad Association" from the "Supporting" box underneath the Amazon search bar near the top of the website.
Thank you for being a member of the NMRA!!

Region and National Conventions 
(Only those Regional conventions occurring in the next three months are listed)

Sep 15-18
Sep 21-24
Sep 29-Oct 2
Sep 30-Oct 3
Oct 5-9
Oct 7-9
Oct 20-23
Oct 28-30
Jul 30-Aug 6
Master Model Railroaders

578 - Max Wright, AR

National Model Railroad Association, P.O. Box 1328, Soddy Daisy, TN 37384
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