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March / April 2021

NMRA 2021 Rails by the Bay - Join us (Virtually) in Santa Clara 
Although the in-person event was canelled, NMRA 2021 Rails By The Bay has transitioned to a video-rich virtual convention to be held on July 6-10, 2021.

We'll be offering live online video clinics and panel programs, with real-time Q&A with speakers. All video will be offered using high-bandwidth, high-resolution, pro-level service from Zoom, supplemented by online chat via the Slack platform.

We have a clinic by Frank Markovich MMR® who will describe building parts of the "Magic of Scale Model Railroading" exhibit at the California State Railroad Museum. We'll also be offering pre-recorded video layout tours, coupled with live Q&A with layout owners. You'll virtually visit the top-quality layouts of modelers like Jack Burgess, Guy Cantwell, Dave Connery, Bill Decker, Dave Houston, Otis McGee, Dave Stanley, and more.

We're also developing an online, photo-based model show so that you can showcase the models you've built in the past year, with a "meet the modeler" panel so you can chat about techniques.

Interested in layout design? We'll offer a complete LDSIG program including videos of LDSIG-oriented layouts, and a panel discussion about lessons learned and layout improvements. For operators, virtual op sessions (either as an active participant or viewer) are also under development. We will offer a number of channels for interaction among the attendees to capture some of the feeling of meeting old friends in the hallways.

Each convention day will run from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm, Pacific time. Most content will be recorded and available for playback for a period of two weeks after the original live presentation. A dedicated team of volunteers is working to make this a great convention.

To request a mail-in paper registration form, contact [email protected]. For further convention information, contact [email protected]. This has been a year unlike any other, and we appreciate your patience and positive support as we continue to develop the convention under challenging conditions. Visit www.nmra2021.com for further information.

We need women modelers, your videos and... you!

Marketing Consultant

We're still looking for women to participate in our popular series "Women in Model Railroading" in NMRA Magazine.   Participants can be involved in model railroading as modelers, manufacturers, photographers, videographers, store owners...you name it.  Anyone interested should prepare a write-up on their "story," as well as a photo of themselves, and contact me at [email protected].

Have you made a video of your layout or your latest project?  We'd love to spotlight it on our YouTube or Instagram channels.  Contact me and we'll figure out how you can get it to me.

How about everyone else?  We're looking for members to showcase in a "Member Spotlight" series.  We'd do this via a virtual interview, which would be posted across social media platforms.  You can showcase your layout, specific projects, interests, and talk about why you're an NMRA member.  If you'd like to participate, contact me!

Another new company added to our Partnership Program

The companies listed below give discounts to NMRA members when orders are placed using a special discount code.  Click on the links below to go to their websites. You can find a more detailed list and the discount codes on our Partnership Page at  https://www.nmra.org/partnerships .  Remember you need to be logged into our site as a member to see the codes!  (See the pink box below.) 

Our newest partner is listed in RED.

If you're a manufacturer or know of one who'd like to join our Partnership Program, please contact Jim Gore, At-Large North American Director, at [email protected].

Important NMRA eBulletin news you may have missed

Thanks to volunteer Tom Bensberg, all NMRA eBulletin issues are archived on the NMRA website and these links will send you directly to them and show what edition of the NMRA eBulletin they appeared in.

Remember: your email address has to be registered on the website (not just with Headquarters) to get to the Members-Only portions of our website!

Go to
register your name on the website.

Editors: Gerry Leone, MMR®, HLM , and John Bate
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. ©2021 National Model Railroad Association, Inc., P.O. Box 1328, Soddy Daisy TN 37384.

A few words from the president

Springing Forward
The month of March is upon us, closing out the longest month (if you count by "Winter") or the shortest month (by calendar days) of the year. The groundhog had his say several weeks ago, but where I live the first reliable sign of impending Spring arrived a couple of days ago, when the plow cleared the parking lot of the local soft-serve ice cream joint. This has been a reliable harbinger of Spring for decades here, and I'm all for it.
We've just wrapped up the (virtual) Winter Board of Directors meeting, which is summarized below, and are about to start a series of meetings with Region Presidents to go over the new Region President's Handbook and its expectations for better communications and administration of Regions. And we're working on the NMRA2025 Long Range Plan. So your Directors and Officers are indeed busy volunteers.
Speaking of Volunteers, we need some additional help in the Standards & Conformance department. Look for the "Help Wanted" note below.
With that said, we all know that there are folks who are the real unsung heroes in every Region and Division. The best way to describe them is "there." Whenever something is doing or is about to need help, they are "there." These folks are the quiet ones, just volunteering and getting the job done all the time, year in and year out. It's time to recognize their contributions to our Association. Nominations for the NMRA President's Award for Service to the Division are due to your Region President in time for your Region President to submit the nomination to the Vice President Special Projects by 15 March. You know who these people are... let's say "Thanks!"
And despite the knowledge that Spring is in the air, Ol' Man Winter is not giving up so soon; the white gifts from above are arriving in my yard once again. This is probably a good time to go clean some track, run the railroad and fix any glitches that show up so that when we are once again able to gather together, the railroad runs flawlessly. Or spring into a new project that expands your empire, your skills and your joy in this great hobby. Make it a great day, all, and stay safe!
High Green!
Highlights of the February Winter Board of Directors Meeting

The Winter Board of Directors meeting was once again held virtually, using GoToMeeting software, on February 20, 2021.  These are some highlights of the meeting.  
Please note that this is an unofficial summary of what took place at the meeting.  The official minutes, authored by NMRA Secretary Rick Coble, will be posted at www.nmra.org shortly.

  • The NMRA Exhibit within the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) will (hopefully) be opening in 2021. Watch NMRA Magazine for an article and photos of this major new exhibit.
  • All organizations, including the NMRA, have been strongly affected by the pandemic. The Board and Executive are formulating a COVID Recovery Plan to look at what has been learned, what went right and wrong, and how to improve the organization as a result.
  • The Ballot Committee reported that 11,300 electronic ballots and 1,500 paper ballots were mailed to members at the beginning of February.
  • New mechanisms for nominations and elections are under discussion which will ensure that the process is consistent across all Districts, and that online petitions can be conducted more easily.
  • Proposals for online editions of NMRA Magazine are being studied in depth and a series of meetings will be held in the next few months between the NMRA Board and Executive and industry experts.
  • A series of meetings will be held in March and April with all Region Presidents to improve communication, and discuss current issues, best practices, and the NMRA's Long Range Plan.
  • A new set of DCC Standards covering DCC connectors and wiring have been approved by the Board. These can be found on the website as Standards and Conformance section 9.1.1.
  • Although the National Conventions in 2020 and 2021 were unfortunately cancelled due to the pandemic, the planning for the 2022 convention in St. Louis is nearing completion. See you there!
Volunteer needed for Mechanical Standards

Department Manager, Standards and Conformance

The Standards and Conformance Department is looking for a volunteer to support the mechanical Standards of the NMRA. This person will report directly to the Department Manager. AP points are available for time spent on department work. The requirements of the position include:
  • Proficiency in using AutoCAD and interpreting drawings
  • Working knowledge of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Proficiency in the use of micrometers and depth gauges

The position will support drawings for the standards and recommended practices. The individual will be taking measurements of manufacturer samples of track and clearance gauges to ensure they meet the approved drawings and Standards.

This is a chance for you to be at the center of our efforts to maintain and improve the NMRA Standards. Contact the Department Manager at [email protected] if you are qualified and interested.

Why do you love the NMRA? Let us know!

There are many great reasons to be an NMRA member. Which ones are most important to you?

Send a quick email to [email protected] and give us your thoughts.

We're looking for a few good layouts...
twelve, to be exact!

NMRA Calendar Project Leader

We know you're proud of your model railroad. Why not share it by submitting a photo or two for the 2022 edition of the NMRA Model Railroad Calendar?
The Calendar is distributed to every U.S. member as a fundraising project. To have your layout photo considered for inclusion, just follow these easy steps:
  • Take a horizontal (landscape) format photo of your layout.
  • Submit your photo as a digital file. Files must be at least 300 pixels per inch and 8" x 12" (minimum size of 8.6 megapixels - larger is better). Accepted file types are tiff (preferred) or jpg (highest quality only).
  • Write a caption describing the action in your shot, the scale, the builder, and the photographer. Include that information on a separate piece of paper or as a text or .doc file on your submission (CD, DVD, or thumb drive).
  • Please limit your entries to no more than your four best scenes.
  • Be sure to include your name, address, phone number, and email address with your submissions.
  • By submitting images for the NMRA Calendar, you are giving permission to the editors to alter them as needed (cropping, smoke and lighting effects, etc.). Please indicate specifically if you do NOT give permission to alter your images.
Send to our USPS address:
NMRA - ATTN: Calendar Project
PO Box 1328
Soddy Daisy TN 37384-1328
or to our UPS/FedEx address:         
8414 Gulf View Dr. - Suite A
Soddy Daisy TN 37379
Photos must be received by July 15, 2021 for consideration.
Questions: Contact Mike Brestel at (513) 481-0185 or [email protected].

Notice of 2022 Elections

NMRA Secretary
The following NMRA Board of Directors positions are open for election in 2022:
  1. At-Large Worldwide Director
  2. Atlantic District Director
  3. Western District Director
Please check Article III, paragraph 12 of the NMRA Executive Handbook (EHB) for the extent of the districts affected, and the required qualifications for candidates. To see what is involved when serving on our leadership team as a Director or Officer please read the guide
At-Large Worldwide Director
Submission of candidates' names for consideration for the position of At-Large Worldwide Director should be made to one of the following no later than June 1, 2021:
National Nominating Committee Chair Mike Brestel at [email protected] .
Atlantic District Nominating Committee at [email protected].
NMRA Canada Nominating Committee at [email protected].
Pacific District Nominating Committee at [email protected].
Atlantic District Director
Submission of candidates' names for consideration for the position of Atlantic District Director should be made to the Atlantic District Nominating Committee at [email protected] no later than June 1, 2021.
Western District Director
Submission of candidates' names for consideration for the position of Western District Director should be made to National Nominating Committee Chair Mike Brestel at [email protected] no later than June 1, 2021.
Candidates may wish to run for these positions by petition and not be subjected to the decisions of the appropriate nominations committees. Requirements for submitting by petition are contained in the EHB.  All submissions by petition must be received by the NMRA Secretary at [email protected] no later than September 1, 2021.
Members with questions about the nominations or the election may contact the NMRA Secretary at [email protected].

Region and National Conventions 

Apr. 22 - 24, 2021 Sugar Pine Centennial, Fresno, CA (PCR)
May 20 - 23, 2021  Northern Express (MCR) - CANCELLED
May 20 - 23, 2021  Thousand Lakes Region Convention,  Bismarck, ND
May 20 - 23, 2021  Midwest Region Conv. - POSTPONED
Aug. 7, 14, 21, 28 Idaho Rails, ONLINE (PNR)
Sept. 8 - 11, 2021  Orange Blossom Special, Orange County Airport  (PSR)
Oct. 6-10, 2021  Tulsa Union Convention, Tulsa, OK (LSR&MCoR)
Oct. 8 - 11, 2021  Mill City 21, Westford, MA (NER)
Oct. 14-16, 2021 Sunshine Express II, Plant City, FL (SSR)
Oct. 21 - 24 Mount Clare Junction, Hunt Valley, MD (MER)
Newest Master Model Railroader® recipients

672. Edward O'Rourke (NER)
673. Joseph Kavanaugh (NER)
674. Joe D. Fields (MCR) (deceased)

"Master Model Railroader" and "MMR" are registered trademarks of the NMRA
In an upcoming issue of NMRA Magazine

  • The Magic of Scale Model Railroading
  • Out-of-Service Tracks
  • Carl Kempkes' Durango & Western
  • Yard Limit Signs

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