Clinics & Presentations

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Clinic Chairman:  Barry Schmitt
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The Susquehannock clinic program will feature presentations by talented modelers, authors, and experts in every field of model railroading. The clinics will vary in presentation style and some will include hands-on operating sessions to solidify the material taught in class. We’ve lined up presenters from all over the Mid-East Region and even a few from beyond. Whatever your interest, we’ll have the clinic for you.

Clinics at the Susquehannock will be presented Thursday through Sunday from morning to evening.  Several of the clinics will be presented twice during the convention. Specific dates and times for these clinics are still being developed.  Thursday clinics start at 7:00 PM.




B&O Steam in the Fifties

This will be a Power Point presentation with photos of B&O Steam in the early 50’s. The photos come from a variety of sources, some commercial and some private. Many of the photos were taken in Western Pennsylvania, some of which have never been published. The presentation is arranged by classes, beginning with switchers and ending with road locomotives – first freight and then passenger. Presented by Bill Hanley


Behind the Scenes at Model Railroader

Look behind the scenes at Model Railroader magazine and learn about the annual staff-built layouts, how the staff creates stories and videos, new projects coming down the pipeline, and the future of the magazine. There will be a Q&A session at the end of the presentation. Presented by Hal Miller


Building Structures with Plexiglas

This clinic will introduce modelers to what is possible with Plexiglas as a building material and walk the modeler through the simple process of fabrication. Constructing the base structure of a model building using Plexiglas is one of the easiest methods available. Plexiglas provides a superb foundation for scratch built buildings that will not warp, absorb moisture, and provides its own window glazing. It only takes a few minutes using any type of table saw to cut out the parts for a structure. Plexiglas is also modest in price, and it can take the place of making mock-ups that usually end up in the trash. If you are interested in learning how to scratch build a structure the easy way and seeing some of my projects, this clinic is for you. Presented by Andrew Dodge, MMR


Building the Colorado Model Railroad Museum

The Colorado Model Railroad Museum (CMRM), located in Greeley, Colorado, is a one-of-a-kind facility featuring over 600 railroad-related artifacts ranging from a Virginia and Truckee railroad switch key to a full-sized Colorado and Southern wooden Caboose. In recent years this spectacular CMRM has graced the cover of four national model railroad magazines and twice in one instance.

However, the highlight of the museum, already visited by over 100,000 people from all 50 states and 100 foreign countries, is the 5500 square foot HO scale model railroad, the Oregon, California, and Eastern Railroad (OC&E) which features 1353 scale miles of main line, rugged mountains, numerous mountain streams and rivers, over 16,000 fir trees, 8,000 deciduous trees, 4,000 aspens, etc. And you can walk through the model and become immersed in the scenery and operation. Imagine watching a 50 car coal drag, pulled by 5 locomotives, chugging up the mountains and winding through majestic canyons.

And now, how better to be inspired by this magnificent creation than to listen to and ask questions from the man, David Trussell, who planned, designed, and directed its construction. David will describe his amazing 8-year undertaking using videos, pictures, and diagrams to bring the OC&E story alive. Come to the clinic and learn, be inspired, be entertained, and leave knowing you will add a trip to Greely CO (just north of Denver) to your model railroading bucket list. Presented by David Trussell


Camden NJ Car-Float Operations

This is an updated clinic based on the MER 2015 NJ clinic with new focus on the facilities and operations of not only the Reading Railroad on the Camden waterfront but also that of the Pennsy and some of the other rail operations in the area of Camden and Philadelphia. The clinic will include many historic photos and associated interesting information. The focal point of the clinic will be the Free-Mo that is setup and operating during the convention. Presented by Mike Prokop


Car Order Operating System Clinic

WARNING: If you like paperwork, train orders, tracking cars, and shipments, etc., do not attend this clinic – it will make you crazy. This is an operating system that simulates (it does not duplicate) prototype car movements without the use of car numbers, waybills, switch lists, or any other type of paperwork. It cannot be broken – there are no lost cars or car cards. It is ideal for clubs, very large layouts, small scale (N) layouts, and anyone who wants to run their railroad rather than run a database. Cars for delivery are extracted from a through freight for delivery to various industries. Deliveries are made based on requests from the various industries. Pickups are made after the industry has finished loading or unloading the requested car. All this is accomplished without any paperwork. Presented by Earl Hackett


Creating Photo Backdrops of Historical Scenes

The advent of low-cost image manipulation tools such as Photoshop Elements has led to increased popularity and feasibility for custom photo backdrops. Several modelers have published articles and clinics focused on working with contemporary photography. This clinic provides a brief overview of image manipulation for custom photo backdrops in general. It then shows first how to create long-gone period scenes by “back-dating” (i.e. extensively editing) modern photography. It next illustrations the manipulation of perspective in, and the colorization of, historical black and white photography designed to produce custom representations of period scenes. Examples are drawn from custom photo backdrops on the presenter’s S/Sn3 layout based on the PRR and EBT. Presented by Lee Rainey


Custom Turnouts – How to Build Turnouts to Fit Where Commercial Turnouts Will Not Fit

We have often encountered spaces on our model railroads where a commercial turnout will not fit because the space is too small or the intersecting track is too much of an angle. The only way to fit in a turnout is hand-lay or scratch-build one. You have never tried to do that and are reluctant to try “because it is so hard.” John will show you an easy way to build a non-standard turnout without jigs. You can also use this method to build a standard turnout (#4, #5, #6 etc.). If you can solder, you can do this. The tools you will need you probably already have: a vice, files, soldering iron and solder, rail nippers, an NMRA track gauge, a 3 point track gauge, a pencil and paper. Also you will need rail, switch ties, and paper template, throw bar material (printed circuit board material) .005″ sheet brass, and spikes. You do not need any expensive jigs or fixtures. John developed this method in the 1960s and has built more than 50 turnouts since that time. Come and watch this PowerPoint clinic that shows an easy method how to do it. Presented by John Wissinger, MMR


Down to the Sea in Trains

This clinic will provide an overview of how railroads and ships interact at marine terminals from the early days of railroading to the current era of unit trains, double stacks, and massive container ships. This talk complements my latest book recently released from Kalmbach Publishing. Presented by Bernard Kempinski


Electroluminescent Signs

In this clinic, Brian will briefly explain how electroluminescent signs work. He will show what commercially made signs are available, how to install them on your layout, and provide some tricks for hiding the connecting wires and plugs. Finally, he will show how you can easily make your own custom electroluminescent signs. In addition to his topic discussion, Brian will also have several operational electroluminescent signs set up and operational during his clinic. Presented by Brian Sheron, MMR


Get to Know WOWSound – Why It’s the Best

We will review the main features that set WOWsound apart from the competition and review some really neat features you may not know about. This clinic will be presented by John Forsythe, owner of Train Control Systems, Inc. Presented by John Forsythe


Harris Tower History and Restoration

Dan Rapak of The Harrisburg Chapter of the NRHS will speak on the history and restoration of Harris Interlocking Tower. This railroad switch tower once controlled all train movements through downtown Harrisburg. It was built by the PRR and eventually passed to the Penn Central and finally to Amtrak. When decommissioned, the tower was purchased by the Harrisburg NRHS Chapter which them began a long process of restoration and preservation.

Today, Harris Tower is open to the public as a museum. All of the switching and communications equipment have been restored into working condition. The actual US&S Model 14 interlocking machine and 20′ wide model board have been connected to a simulation computer. The computer has been programmed with the actual PRR train schedules from 1943. It was during this period – the War Years – that Harris Tower was at its busiest. Visitors to the museum actually operate all of the equipment to route virtual trains across the Harris territory. Visitors throw the levers of the interlocking machine to route trains to their proper destinations, following their progress by way of the more than 450 indicator lamps on the model board Presented by Dan Rapak


History of Coal-fired Power Plants for Modeling Purposes

Coal-fired power plants have historically been a very large generator of railroad traffic. However, since they became a dominant source of electricity in the 1882-1900 time frame, they have changed dramatically in architecture and capability. For modeling purposes it is essential to understand the design of coal-fired plants in order to match the plants with the era being modeled. Using extensive photographs and drawings, this clinic looks at power plants in the following eras: pre-1900, 1900-1920, 1920-1945, 1945-1970, 1970-2000, and 2000-present. Issues discussed include transportation, receiving methods, coal yard design, design of the coal-fired power plant, and post-combustion pollution controls. Some historical data presented highlight the changes over time. Presented by David Tillman


How to Present a Clinic

Clinics constitute the major program elements of NMRA events from division meets through the national conventions. As an educational non-profit organization, NMRA’s major purpose centers around the growth of members in the many aspects of model railroading. How do you prepare and present a clinic? This presentation will present the basics of clinic lesson planning and executing using non-jargon techniques. The focus is on teaching clinic presenters to prepare active learning activities for the attending members to increase interest in the topic as well as retain the information and techniques for future application in model railroading. Bring a notebook or clipboard with paper, pencil/pen, and a willingness to participate. Presented by John Gallagher


Improve Your Trucks and Trains

In this presentation Lou will discuss the techniques and materials he employs to convert and detail vehicles intended for the children’s toy market into realistic representations of their prototype counterparts. He will also explain the techniques he uses to improve not only the looks but also the performance of various types of freight equipment on his SR&RL Railroad. Presented by Lou Sassi


Installing Structures to Avoid Removal Damage

There is usually a point in time where one’s model railroad will need to be torn down, either by the modeler himself or by others. There are surely some prized structures on the layout that would want to be saved with no or minimal damage if at all possible. Structures that are cemented to the surrounding scenery are prone to much damage when attempting to remove them. This clinic will present ways in which structures can be mounted on the bench top that permit easy removal when the time comes to change the scene or dismantle portions of or the entire railroad. Also shown will be a way to pack the prized structure for moving, even by a shipping service. Presented by Jerry Lauchle


Introduction to Model Railroad Operations

Model railroad operations simulate the movement of trains on a railroad. Like any simulation, some details are emphasized and other details are suppressed according to the objective of the simulation. There are many choices to be made in establishing the rules and procedures for a model railroad operations simulation. This clinic provides a systematic survey described by Car Forwarding and Traffic Control Systems.

Car Forwarding can be defined as is the purposeful movement of rail cars from one location to another. Prototype car forwarding is determined by customer needs. Model railroads simulate this part of the activity to varying levels. Two methods are popular for arranging model railroad freight: Car Card & Waybill, and Switch List.

Prototype Traffic Control is the purposeful movement of trains from one location to another, as determined by customer needs, physical constraints, and the desire for profitability. In the model railroad simulation we typically schedule or sequence trains. In rough order of increasing complexity, model traffic control includes: Random – run anything, anytime; Sequential – trains running in a specific order; and Timetable & Train Order (TT&TO) – trains run by time (usually using a fast clock) according to rules patterned after the prototype. Presented by Marshall Abrams


JMRI Throttles

The clinic will cover the use of JMRI features using Engine Driver, Withrottle, tablet panels, and virtual signaling. Bob will have a small Wi-Fi equipped demo layout and encourages clinic attendees to bring their Android or iPhone with Engine Driver or Withrottle already installed. We will briefly discuss JMRI Panel Pro and the JMRI web server and how they can be used to create and display signals using tablets or Engine Driver. We will also discuss the biggest-yet JMRI throttle, Ken McCorry’s SD45 cab simulator which can be seen on the layout tours Sunday afternoon.
Note: To achieve maximum educational value from this clinic Bob urges all clinic attendees to bring their Android or iPhone with Engine Driver or Withrottle already installed.
Presented by Bob Bucklew


Layout Planning and Design

This clinic will examine the wide range of topics a modeler should consider before going to the hobby store and commencing construction of a layout. Topics will include geographic location, era, type of layout, how much is enough or too much layout room issues, pointers on construction, and space management and environment. Presented by Andrew Dodge, MMR


Lite Up Your Layout With LED Lighting

This is an update to the LED lighting clinic presented at the Sep 2015 Susquehanna Div. This clinic will discuss the many types of LED strip lights that are available along with interesting ideas and techniques for using them to illuminate your layout. If it’s new construction or an existing layout LED lighting can provide an easy and cost effective method that will make your layout shine. Light up your hidden trackage, staging yards, under the layout storage areas, and display cabinets. The latest working hardware samples of LED lights will be shown along with power supplies, controlling devises, and mounting products. Presented by Mike Prokop


Logging Railroads of Pennsylvania – Part 2

The peak period of logging by rail in Pennsylvania ran from 1880 until roughly 1929. During that period there were literally hundreds of logging railroads that came, operated, and then disappeared. About half of those railroads were narrow gauge. Examples of the motive power and other equipment used by these railroads, along with a discussion of the large variety of industries they served will be looked at from both a prototype and modeling perspective. The presentation contains many prototype photos of the period and is augmented by model photos from Bruce’s HOn3 Slate Run Railroad and a sampling of model photos from friends in the hobby. Presented by Bruce DeYoung, MMR


Model Railroad Estate Planning During Your Lifetime and Afterwards

The purposes of this clinic are twofold:
A. To help the model railroader manage the acquisition and disposition of model railroad assets while living and also plan to help survivors deal with the model railroad assets after death.
B. To help those who will be dealing with the model railroad assets after the model railroader dies.
Presented by Ken Montero


Modeling Applications of CNJ Operations in PA Wyoming Valley

This clinic describes the chronology and unique aspects of the Jersey Central’s anthracite operations in the mountainous region of the Northeast PA Wyoming Valley. The area includes the Ashley Planes which operated from 1843 to 1948, the large yard at Ashley, and the large classification yard with one of the first US hump yards at Penobscot. Emphasis will be placed on applications to modeling operations and layout design. Presented by Chuck Davis, MMR


Modeling B&O Box Cars in the Steam Era

This will be a Power Point presentation outlining the major classes of B&O Boxcars commonly seen in the early 50’s. For each class covered, first I’ll show a number of photos of prototype cars, next will be a breakdown of the number series of each sub-class with built dates and builders and availability of models, and finally a number of photos of models. Along with the model photos, I’ll discuss the construction techniques for each particular car. Presented by Bill Hanley


Modeling Modern Power Plants

This clinic describes techniques for modeling modern (post 1970 era) coal-fired power plants, explains why modeling them is appropriate for many model railroads, presents basic factors in power plant and model power plant design, and modeling techniques. The clinic is based on a 1000 megawatt (MW) power plant built on my railroad – a freelance HO scale layout depicting the theme, “sources and uses of coal.” It also describes a repowered gasification facility – another model plant on my railroad. Recognizing the complexities of modern coal-fired power plants, these models are designed to convey the “feel” of generating stations without attempting to include all piping, cable trays, etc. The clinic presents pictures collected over 40+ years working in coal-fired and biomass-fired power plants. It also includes pictures from the power plants built on my layout. The clinic also addresses basic model railroading design issues: coal receiving, coal yard design, and design of the power house and ancillary systems (e.g., cooling towers) and pollution controls. Specific subassemblies will be shown including conveyor types, coal stackout, whether the plant has or does not have side walls, and more. Selective compression methods will also be discussed. Presented by David Tillman


Modeling Mount Union

“The Standard Railroad of the World” meets “The Most Modern Narrow Gauge”! It happened in Mount Union Pennsylvania, and with a bit of two-foot gauge thrown in for good measure! For many years Mount Union was the largest shipping point on the PRR’s fabled Middle Division, due in no small measure to the traffic generated by the narrow-gauge East Broad Top Railroad (EBT). Coal, brick, lumber, leather, textiles, furniture, feed and flour, grain and fresh vegetables, petroleum products, chemicals, sand and stone, and merchandise for local grocers all passed in and out of Mount Union on a daily basis creating a remarkable prototype setting showcased through period photos that will be presented in the clinic. You will also see the track plan for the Mount Union S/Sn3 switching layout now under construction in the presenter’s basement. And the two-foot gauge – come to the clinic to find out! Presented by Lee Rainey


Modeling Railroads of the Civil War

This clinic will provide an in-depth look at the development, equipment, technology, and operations of railroads during the American Civil War. It will include many examples of world class modeling. Presented by Bernard Kempinski


Modeling Realistic Rock Faces and Terrain

This clinic will focus on my method of modeling realistic rock faces and terrain without relying on traditional rock molds. We will discuss and I will demonstrate various rock structures, how to replicate them, and the coloring method best used. We will also review how rock faces differ between various geographic locations and how man made cuts differ from natural rock faces. Materials covered will be Styrofoam, plaster, Sculptamold, mold making materials, casting resin, and more. Presented by Bill Frankenfield


Modeling Slate Roofs

Because slate was used as a roofing material over a wide geographic region, there are many modelers who will want to have slate-roofed structures on their layout. The great Pennsylvania Slate Belt is located less than 100 miles north and east from the location of this convention and was a great customer of the local railroads. This clinic, an extension of Bruce’s May 2009 RMC article, will look at how slate roofs were/are constructed in the real world and then ways to simulate them on our models. This clinic has been accepted into the NMRA’s EduTRAIN Program. Presented by Bruce DeYoung, MMR


Modeling Tips and Tricks for Structures

This clinic covers a variety of tips and tricks for building and detailing structures. Techniques applicable to both kit builders and scratch builders are presented. Topics include foundations, walls and roofs, as well as interior and exterior decoration. Presented by Bruce DeYoung, MMR


Modeling to Prototype Standards and Operational Procedures

This session will delve into the specific issues of modeling a Prototype or Freelanced Prototype railroad. Areas to be reviewed will encompass track and roadbed standards, fuel and water facilities for locomotives, bridge construction, passenger car issues, building size and placement on a layout, operating rules, and prototype paperwork for operating sessions. Presented by Andrew Dodge, MMR


Modeling Urban Scenes

Brian’s HO scale Long Island Railroad primarily models many urban scenes found on Long Island including Brooklyn, Queens, and Penn Station in Manhattan. His clinic focuses on how to plan an urban scene for your layout, identifying the key elements that make up urban scenes, and then explaining what the key modeling components are for each element, and how they can be combined to produce realistic scale model scenes. Brian will also discuss how to create realistic backdrops for urban scenes. He will also discuss the use of such techniques such as “cutaways” to model underground stations, and also modeling overhead subways, or “Els.” His presentation contains many photos that will illustrate the techniques he will be discussing. Presented by Brian Sheron, MMR


One Modeler’s Approach to Building a Layout

This clinic will be based on lessons learned in building layouts since the 1950s in HO, HOn3, N, On3, O Scale-Proto48, and live steam. We will review issues of space preparation and room environment, layout design questions, modeling a freelance or prototype pike, building techniques, allotting time periods to work, and people’s different approaches to the hobby over the lifespan of a layout. The clinic will be somewhat introspective, and it will cover layout building from doing a project using just glue, scissors, and pliers on a flat-sheet type to a full size operational layout of Master Modeler quality. Presented by Andrew Dodge, MMR


Open Loads

Most model railroaders love open loads. This clinic features a variety of open load models that can be built from commercially available kits or easily scratchbuilt from basic materials. Beginners and master modelers alike will enjoy learning how to create interesting and realistic open car loads. With plenty of pictures from both the prototype and scale models, Bob’s clinic is always a real crowd pleaser. Presented by Bob Frankrone


Operations on the Louisville Southern Lines (LSL)

If you think you can’t operate your layout…think again. Bob discusses how he transformed his LSL layout into an operating layout long after it was designed and built. He presents a short history of the layout; describes the cities, towns, and industries; and diagrams the LSL route map. Bob explains his requirements for model railroad operation, the constraints his layout poses, and the mechanics of an operating session on the LSL. Presented by Bob Frankrone


Overview of Rail Transportation Engineering Education in the United States

After nearly a century of decline, the railroad industry is now facing growth because of its relative fuel and operating efficiency, increased highway congestion, and a heightened environmental concern at all levels of society. At the same time this growth is occurring, many skilled managers and track engineers are reaching retirement age. The railroad industry is reporting an acute need for engineering graduates but reporting difficulty in attracting suitable and qualified people for entry-level engineering design and management positions. Countless railroad industry companies and organizations are seeking trained engineering professionals, including: Class I railroad companies, rail passenger and transit agencies, short line railroads, railway suppliers, federal agencies, engineering consulting firms, and various research institutions. This has resulted in many colleges and universities beginning to offer courses in rail transportation and railroad engineering. Penn State Altoona is at the forefront of this new educational movement with their Bachelors of Science Degree in Rail Transportation Engineering (RTE), the first in the nation. This presentation will provide an overview of railroad transportation education in the United States and the future needs to equip the next generation of railroad engineering professionals. Presented by Bryan Schlake


Part 1 Layout Command & Control (LCC) – Non-Technical Introduction to LCC

Learn about the emerging NMRA standard for layout control. We will discuss what it is and what it is not. We will also discuss why it is needed and its many advantages. Learn what the current status is and where will it be in the future. The NMRA LCC layout will be on display during this clinic. Presented by John Forsythe, owner of Train Control Systems (TCS).

Note: The NMRA LCC layout will be included in both presentations and serve as a key supporting feature in both clinics. Presented by John Forsythe


Part 2 Layout Command & Control (LCC) – Adding Signals to Your Layout With LCC

LCC is the newest NMRA standard for the control of model railroads. One important use of this new standard is adding operating signals to a model railroad. Topics covered include basic principles of signal control and where do existing methods and systems fit in, some benefits of using LCC for signaling, what capabilities are available in today’s LCC signal hardware, some examples of implementing ABS signals on a simple layout, and demonstration of a working LCC layout with the latest products to include a working LCC compatible DCC command station, working DCC signals, and working turnout control system. Audience participation is encouraged in this presentation.

Note: The NMRA LCC layout will be included in both presentations and serve as a key supporting feature in both clinics. Presented by Dick Bronson


Photo Etching for the Modeler

Photo etching has a wide range of uses for the modeler. Glyn will explain the process for producing etches at home using the MicroMark photo etching system. A number of practical model railroading applications will be explained during his clinic with examples. Glyn will also describe areas for further experimentation and common problems that occur. Presented by Glyn Thomas


Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania: A Half Century of Railroad Preservation

When it was opened in 1975, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania was the first building in North America to be designed and built specifically as a railroad museum, not converted from an existing structure. Twenty years later, that building was doubled in size. Today, as we look to another building expansion in our future, with a soon-to-be-constructed Roundhouse on the horizon, the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is exploring where to go from here. This clinic, presented by Patrick C. Morrison, Site Administrator, will focus on its past, talk about what the Railroad Museum is doing right now, and where it hopes to go in the future. We will talk about our challenges, our collecting priorities, and where we see ourselves in the future. Presented by Patrick C. Morrison


Research & Building a Historic Building – The Sheafe Warehouse

What happens when you are traveling and suddenly discover a structure you desire for your layout? Time is short and you lack the tools to measure all aspects of the structure. This clinic provides some guidance on how to measure and research a structure to build an accurate model in this situation. Presented by Fred Willis


Researching and Designing a Reading Company Layout

A look at original Reading Railroad paperwork and how it has influenced the layout and design of Rob’s under construction the Reading Company Harrisburg to Reading-Lebanon Valley Branch. Rob will discuss the process that he used in planning his layout including why model the Reading, how he decided to model the Lebanon Valley Branch, and what were the important features to include on his layout. Presented by Rob Hinkle


Restoring PCC Streetcars for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

Brookville Equipment Corp is currently under contract to restore 16 vintage PCC streetcars for the SFMTA (“Muni”) that have been in daily service for years. This clinic will present in-process photos of a typical restoration along with notes about the many challenges – and rewards – of rehabilitating 70-year old equipment for 20 more years of daily service. Presented by Ron Smith


Scenery Along the Right of Way

In this presentation Lou will explain the materials and techniques he utilizes to replicate various kinds of colors of rocks, specific tree types, woods, grass, and Right of Way fencing representative of that found on the prototype of his model railroad – the SR&RL Railroad. Presented by Lou Sassi


Scratchbuilding Blacksmith Shop & Railroad Station from Photos

Structures abound in photographs but unfortunately kits of most structures do not exist. How can you build a structure model from a photograph? This clinic provides guidelines and ideas on how to research and build an accurate structure from a photograph. Presented by Fred Willis


Scratchbuilding In Brass

This clinic will show some of the techniques Alan uses in Scratchbuilding brass locomotives. Included will be the topics of frame construction, soldering, sheet metal work, etc. Examples of some of his award winning scratch-built brass locomotives will be on display. Presented by Alan Mende


Signs, Awnings, and Building Details

Through works of art and photography plus some models, attending model railroaders will consider ways of improving their structures, town, and street modeling. Signs provide lots of clues for the observer to understand what the models represent in time and place. For example – you wouldn’t advertise cell phones on a billboard where the layout represents scenes from the 1920’s. Some other aspects of detailing structures will help the observer identify the period modeled and the purposes of the structures. Presented by John Gallagher


South Penn TT&TO Operating Lab

Bob Charles’ South Penn Railroad is a free-lance version of the never-built segment of the PRR from Columbia (PA) to Wheeling and Pittsburgh. The railroad is designed to emulate 1956-era railroad prototype operations with an emphasis on recreating the prototype railroad operating environment.
As an operating South Penn crewmember you will participate in the operating experience as though you were an employee of the railroad. As an operating crewmember you will go on duty at Columbia, Wheeling, or Pittsburgh for the trip over the single-track line or you may work as a train dispatcher, train order agent/operator, or yardmaster. However, this ops session is not just about running trains. Instead, you will use the information learned at the Friday morning TT&TO Operations Clinic as you move trains across the railroad using those TT&TO rules.
NOTE 1: Attendance at Friday morning’s Timetable & Train Order clinic (Clinic 1 above) is a prerequisite to attend this Operating Lab clinic.
NOTE 2: This Operating Lab clinic will be limited to 12 attendees due to layout space limitations.
NOTE 3: There will be a $5 fee for this Operating Lab Clinic. The payment process will be accomplished during Clinic 1 above.
Presented by Steve King


Steel & Rail – Railroad Interactions with the Steel Industry

This clinic is divided into three parts – transport of raw materials to the mill, transport within the mill, and moving finished products out of the mill. The program draws on the collections of the presenter’s two employers, the Industrial Archives and Library as well as the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Presented by Nick Zmijewski


Strasburg Railroad – Past, Present, Future

From desperate beginnings and through a century of tumult emerged an unlikely success story. Measuring just 4-1/2 miles, this short line exists today as America�s oldest railroad still operating under its original charter. As the most-visited heritage railroad in the continental United States, the Strasburg Rail Road champions a passion for steam locomotion and maintains one of the largest fleets of restored wooden passenger cars. But with 185 years since its charter and nearly 60 years as a tourist line, what does the future hold for this remarkable little railroad? Presented by Steve Barrall


Styrene Structure Scratch Building

This clinic will discuss the basic tools required for scratch building with styrene and also the various adhesives needed for construction. Through demonstrations, the techniques used in assembling buildings from drawings and photographs will be explained. Also, websites that offer various building materials needed for scratch building will be shared. A display of HO and N scale models, including a lighted structure, will be available for viewing. Time will be provided for questions. Presented by Tony Segro


The Frugal (Cheap) Model Railroader

Model railroaders are a unique type of hobbyist. Our hobby has all levels of skill and experience. However, there is one common characteristic that I have observed over the years. That trait is frugality (also known more commonly as being cheap). We all want the best and most accurate locomotives, rolling stock, structures, accessories, and scenery; yet we balk at paying top dollar for these items. As a premier frugalist, I would like to share some ideas, thoughts, and concepts that rely on common household items many consider disposable trash. Your outlook on these simple items will focus on the ‘what ifs’, ‘how can I use it’, and combining parts as well as selective cannibalism. We will explore the uses of fishing line, tape cores, bottle caps, fabric accessories, coffee stirrers, drinking straws, security envelopes, aluminum foil, plastic wheelsets, modeling scrap, etc. All of these recyclables can be applied to accent scenery, construct car loads, add details to layouts, and save money! Please join me and experience the world of the Frugal Model Railroader! Presented by Rich Wurst


Thirty-Five Years of Tips and Tricks

In this clinic, Brian will present dozens of handy and proven ideas and techniques that solve everyday model railroader problems. Presented by Brian Sheron, MMR


Timetable & Train Order (TT&TO) Operations

This 2-clinic period presentation will teach basic timetable and train-order operating rules as used in the past by prototype railroads to control train movements. The clinic will cover key operating rules and then use those rules to simulate operation on a railroad. Attendees will also copy a train order and prepare a clearance form. All handout material will be provided by presenter. TT&TO works great in controlling operations on model railroads. There is no fee for this clinic.

NOTE 1: This clinic is open to all convention attendees. However, only those attending this clinic will have the opportunity to participate in the Friday evening follow-on TT&TO Operating Lab. Those attendees wanting to attend the Operating Lab operating session will do so by signing up at this TT&TO Operations clinic. Those wanting to attend the Operating Lab will do so as explained by Steve King at the start of the morning clinic.

NOTE 2: There is a $5 fee for the Operating Lab. The payment process will be explained and accomplished during the Friday morning clinic. Presented by Steve King


Trash to Treasures

You see these items, models, structures, old half built kits, etc. from what seems an eon past as you wander the aisles of train shows and meets, or as you peruse the listings of eBay, shake your head invisibly and think to yourself, “What trash, garbage, rubbish…” Yet, some of these items are just waiting for you to take home and work a bit of magic on them, rebuilding and/or re-purposing them for use on your layout. So, as I wander those same venues, I look for and find the occasional hidden treasure and take them home for very little cost (free sometimes!) recognizing their inherent play value that lives on waiting to be appreciated. I’ll show you a few examples of these and present the processes that I employ for both rolling stock and structures that become scenery vignettes. Presented by Martin Brechbiel


Using Model Railroad Switch List Software

This Clinic presents a computer program used to generate freight traffic on their own railroads. Computer generated switchlists use tables of the cars on the layout, their type, and potential delivery locations. The system generates moves of appropriate cars to appropriate destinations, attempting to avoid repetitious activity. I will describe how I use the RailOp program and also address JMRI Operations. Presented by Marshall Abrams


Weather Or Not

This clinic provides an introduction to weathering without an airbrush. Attendees will learn how to weather structures, freight cars, and motive power using a variety of different methods. Techniques covered include washes (alcohol, water, and mineral spirits) as well as the use of powders, markers, and pastel pencils. This clinic has been accepted into the NMRA’s EduTRAIN Program. Presented by Bruce DeYoung, MMR


What Can You Do With Custom Parts

I have given many clinics on how to create custom parts. This is one that suggests why you may want to create a part and what you can do with various processes available to the modeler. Examples of parts such as position able double hung and tilt open windows will be available for inspection and the various approaches to build them will be discussed. All of these parts can be constructed with common modeling tools or with free computer based systems. Techniques for making silicone molds for making multiple copies will also be covered. I do so much of this that over the years I have invested in a variety of tools to speed the process and will provide a brief overview of the most valuable ones. Also discussed are new materials I have identified that allow finer detail and easier handling. Presented by Earl Hackett


WOWKits Make Sound Installation Easy

Follow along as we show you step by step how easy it is to install WOWsound in your locomotives using a WOWkit. We will review solder tips and equipment as well as installation tips and tricks along the way as you install a WOWkit. This clinic will be presented by John Forsythe, owner of Train Control Systems, Inc. Presented by John Forsythe


York PA in the Conrail Era – Unorthodox Dec 1985 N-Scale Operations Focused Layout

In this presentation, Ed will discuss his layout, the techniques he uses to achieve his distinctive winter scenery, and his approaches toward post Staggers era operations. Ed also expertly paints and weathers his equipment to achieve as realistic effect as possible while acknowledging the limits of time and space. He will include lots of layout photos during his presentation. Presented by Ed Kapuscinski