Thursday, February 2, 2023

 Next Meet is Virtual Zoom Meeting on February 10th.  Login details will be sent via Email the week before to members and regular attenders.

1. Whats on the Workbench

2. Phil Taylor - Initial Thoughts on IVAR Benchwork from IKEA

3.  Your thoughts on the hobby

Sunday, January 15, 2023

January Meeting was a Blast

 Yesterday we a great meeting that for me was a blast.  Thank you to Ken Montero for securing the building and along with Bob Minnis and others for dealing with the Donuts and Coffee.  Tom Patterson with assistance of his son took care of broadcasting our meeting on the new NRMA Interchange.  

Chris Chapin stepped up at the last minute to give us a valuable comparison of a Rapido E8 with the original speaker and one with an upgraded speaker from Scale Sound Systems.  The difference was quite astounding and a real ear opener. Thanks Chris for helping us with another path to make our miniature worlds to sound better

Mike Bonner and Keith Pritchard gave us an overview of JMRI Operations Pro as used to enhance our miniature worlds to resemble real railroad operations.  The workshop gave us an overview of this module of JMRI and how a basic implementation might work. The power of the program is immense and Mike Bonner kept reminding us that we should start with the basics and not get “into the weeds” too soon.  It is good advice and I look forward to exploring the program further. 

The handouts and slide decks are now available for your review at our Handouts Page

The afternoon afforded us the chance to see two fine home layouts.  It was good to see the progress that Keith Prichard has made on his Great Plains layout.  His layout has under gone refinement since the last time I saw it.  Sometimes the best changes are smaller ones that make it more pleasurable to see and operate for owners and visitors. Bob Stringer was the second layout opened to the JRD.  His switching layout has operations with C&O in Newport News, PRR in Cape Charles and a Proto freelance version of the NPBL.  We look forward to seeing the progress they will continue to make on their layouts.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Next Meeting

Next Meet: January 14, 2023

Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church

1100 Mt. Pisgah Drive

Midlothian, VA 23113 

Details about the Meet

Time: Doors open at 9AM and starts at 930AM


·       Keith Pritchard and Mike Bonner – JMRI PanelPro Switch Lists

Looking for an alternative to car cards? Mike Bonner and Keith Pritchard will show how to create a JMRI PanelPro program that can route cars, build trains, and prepare switch lists for you and your crews.


Chris Chapin will give a clinic about upgrading a Rapido E8 speaker with one from Scale Sound Systems.  A live demo will be presented comparing both the stock E8 and the upgraded E8.  


Modeling Theme: Boxcar

Other Activities: Door prizes, white elephant table, 50-50 raffle, coffee and donuts. 

Lunch: On your own with lots of restaurants nearby.  Directions will be provided.

Layout Tours  (See the layout descriptions that follow)

·       Bob Stringer – Ashley and Atlantic Railroad

·       Keith Pritchard – Great Plains Railroad


Future Modeling Themes:

·       March 2023 – Diesel locomotive

·       May 2023 – Caboose

·       July 2023 – Coal hopper


Friday, December 2, 2022

December 9th Virtual Hangout

Our next JRD Virtual Hangout will be on Friday December 9th at 7pm. Members and those from other divisions on the list will receive an invitation via email with the Zoom credentials.  Look for this by Sunday the 4th with a reminder later in the week.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Great Meeting in Warrenton

 The JRD and the Potomac Division had a great joint meeting in Warrenton today at Battlefield Baptist.  We appreciate the Church being so generous in the use of their space and in Jerry (Sonny) Stanley in working so closely with his fellow church members and Pastor all year to make this event go so smoothly. The Blunami Clinic had a virtual handout which is now updated and this is the LINK.. Plans are already underway to hopefully return next November.  Everyone had a great time and the 3 layout tours were a wonderful way to top off the day.. There are many photos posted on Facebook and many will appear in the next Crossties.  Below are a few from the Layout Tour 

Friday, November 4, 2022

 Potomac Division Joint Meet with James River Set for November 5th 


The Potomac Division’s annual Joint Meet with James River will take place on Saturday, November 5th at the Battlefield Baptist Church in Warrenton, Virginia, starting at 9 AM. 


There will be door prizes, a white elephant table, model judging and a popular vote contest with the theme of Maintenance of Way (MoW) cars — coincidentally, also our Division’s Challenge category for the December-January Flyer issue. The centerpiece of the event will be clinics. The following are already scheduled:


Ken Wilson on Rolling Stock Brake Systems

Brian Sheron, MMR, on Making An Operational Grade Crossing Signal

Norm Reid Jeffrey Fleisher on Model Railroad Photography 

George Gaige on Building an Operating Water Tank

Phil Taylor on SoundTraxx Blunami 

Ernie Little on Decoder Pro

Entry is free as is the parking. We will pass the hat to take up a donation for the church. Past donations from the Joint Meet have helped build a kids camp for inner city children and a feeding program for children in the U.S. and around the world. 

The Church is located at 4361 Lee Highway in Warrenton

There are also two layout open house visits scheduled in the afternoon:


Jim Rogers, Aldie, Virginia Let's call it the B&O Cheat River Sub.  It is HO, point-to-point, Baltimore to Cincinnati (staging), with main yards in Grafton, WV and Clarksburg, WV.  A papermill is served from the Clarksburg yard.  The Charleston Sub goes from Grafton to Charleston, WV, where there is an interchange track with the NYC.  There are 3 NYC trains coming from Toledo to service Charleston.  We use card waybills and Dispatcher control of the main line.


Phil Raymond, Gainesville, Virginia: The Pennsylvania and Allegheny Midland Railroad (P&AMRR) is an HO Scale railroad centered in the general Altoona, PA, region. The layout covers trackage from Harrisburg through Altoona, over the Horseshoe Curve to Cresson; and it includes an eight stall roundhouse (photo above), a coal mine, a coke facility, a limestone pit, a steel mill, a limestone pit, and a river float. The layout is contained within a 24’ by 18’ room with point-to-point trackage. The bench work is complete but the scenery is nascent with initial focus on Altoona.  



Joint Meet Schedule – Potomac & James River Divs.



8:00 am -- Set up for Staff, White Elephant tables, etc.

9:00 am — Open for Registration — Gym Entrance

9:20 am — Greeting and Announcements by Superintendents

        Pastor Greeting, Prayer, Passing the Donations Bucket — Main Auditorium

9:40 am — Clinics, First Session

Room 105: Ken Wilson, Rolling Stock Brake Systems

Room 107: Brian Sheron, MMR, Making an Operational Grade Crossing Signal

Room 111: Norm Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher, Model Railroad Photography

10:25 am — Break for Coffee and White Elephant Shopping — Gym

10:40 am — Clinics, Second Session

Room 105: Phil Taylor, SoundTraxx Blunami

Room 107: George Gaige, Building An Operating Water Tank

Room 111: Ernie Little, Using Decoder Pro

11:25 am — Break for Coffee and White Elephant — Gym

11:45 am — Final Assembly — Main Auditorium

12:00 — Popular Vote Results, Raffle (Door Prizes), Closing — Main Auditorium

12:45-1 pm — Clean-up (volunteers) — Everywhere

1 pm —  Off to Lunch — On Your Own

1:30 pm-4 pm — Layout Visits — To Be Determined  


Here are short descriptions of the clinics:

Brian Sheron, MMR has a clinic on how to build an operational railroad grade crossing  (automatically detects approaching train, starts crossbuck flashers and warning bell, lowers gates, and then automatically stops flashers and bell, and raises gates once last car passes the crossing). Included with this clinic is an operational HO scale model of a grade crossing that demonstrates how the gates work, how and where the detectors are located, and how everything is electrically connected.

George Gaige, who developed the prototype for the Broadway Limited Operating Water Tank will show you how to build your own in HO, though the process can be used in any scale. Come and see how to add interest and animation to your layout. This animation is useful for an operations-oriented layout to set the time for how long a water stop lasts during an Ops Session. The accompanying sounds add to the ambiance during the process.


Ernie Little, MMR has a clinic on the JMRI DecoderPro application. The clinic will cover the use of the JMRI DecoderPro application to program Digital Command Control decoders and will include a demonstration of the use of the application.


Norm Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher will present a clinic on "Model Railroad Photography". In this clinic, you will learn how to compose effective photos, what equipment you may want to use, techniques for creating clear, in-focus photos and videos, and some post-processing techniques to enhance your photos.


Ken Wilson’s clinic will provide participants with a clearer understanding of brake systems for both freight and passenger equipment. The way train brakes work, and what all the parts, pipes, and rods are will be demystified using diagrams and photos. Information will be provided to help modelers acquire the parts necessary to super detail cars, or at least upgrade older cars that only have minimal representation of brake equipment.


Philip Taylor’s clinic will focus on the new Soundtraxx Blunami -- a device that marries a 2nd generation Bluetooth Radio Control Circuit to a Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 DCC Decoder.  We will explore how this unique blend allows control and sound in straight DC, DCC and Dead Rail environments or if you choose some combination of the three options with or without a DCC Command System. There will be a demonstration of how to program the Bluenami and operate it using a phone or tablet with 2 to 3 locomotives.


“White Elephant” Sales Notes:


Who may sell

Only NMRA members may conduct a sale in this White Elephant sale. 

Sellers may sell only railroad-related items (model or prototype).


Table Reservations

Tables are 72” x 30”.  Reservations must be requested no later than Wednesday, November 2You can ask for more than one table.

Requests should be sent to Kenneth Montero by email Confirmation will be sent by Thursday, November 3. Questions: Call Ken Montero at 804-794-5704 and leave a message or by email.  


Sale staffing

The member requesting one or more tables will have to staff his/her tables (set-up, sales, close-out), either alone or with the help of one or more fellow attendees.


Sellers will handle all aspects of their own sales.

Sellers are responsible for the security of items brought for sale. 

Neither the James River Division, the Potomac Division or any of its members assisting with the sale accept any liability for items brought to themeet.

If away from one’s tables, such as during a clinic, a seller may want to use a table cloth to cover sales items to indicate the seller is away.


Sales Times:

The sales area will be closed during the opening and closing portions of the meet. Doors to the gymnasium will be closed.

It will be open before the opening portion, during clinics, and after the closing portion.



The sales area will remain open after the closing portion of the meet.

Sellers arerequired to pack up any unsold items, then fold up and return to storage all tables by 1:00 pm


Special Donated Items to Benefit the Potomac Division:


The high quality metal railroad posters have been donated for sale to support the Potomac Division’s activities. The posters have adhesive materials so they can be attached to walls without nailing or drilling. Both are priced below original cost. We’ll be asking $50 for the Mikado and $25 for the Old Engines. 


Old Engines Poster Size: 12 1/2" x 18”                     Mikado Poster Size: 19” x 26”   



Do you want to reserve one or both of these items before the Nov. 5th Joint Meet? If so, send an email to with your selection ASAP.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fun Meeting

 Fun Meeting

Those of us who attended last Saturday's Meet in Charlottesville had a great time making a pond with scenery surrounding it.  Bret did his normally phenomenal job. There was a lot to learn in a short period with several different materials.  Many folks are intimidated by scenery but should not be after last weeks clinic. 

 After purchasing supplies at Rail Tales and Lunch we went to Ron Garies' home for a final visit to a layout where many in the Charlottesville area spent quite a few Wednesday nights.  Thank you to those who arranged the open house and to Ron for all the memories.  

Several attending the clinic asked about the brushes that were given out to attendees.  Links below:

Flat Brush

Round Brush

 Next Meet is Virtual Zoom Meeting on February 10th.  Login details will be sent via Email the week before to members and regular attenders....