Saturday, December 29, 2012


There are many Special Interest Groups that allow those who share like interests to share thoughts and passions about facets of the hobby.  They are usually referred to as SIGs for short.  These are different than the typical RR historical society that focuses on one specific line.  Some include topics such as operations, layout design, early rail, and the Civil War.  

In future posts some of the SIGs will be explored in more detail and maybe one will appeal to you enough to join that group.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

JRDs own Radical Flats mentioned in Blog

The JRD's own Radical Flats was prominently mentioned in a blog by Lance Mindheim on how to build a great simple layout by New Years.  The idea is that you could in the last two weeks of the year build a very basic switching layout using some code 70 track and the Radical Flats building fronts.  Great idea and one worth considering if you are a beginner or never seem to get a layout built.  Add a couple cars, dcc/sound switcher and a basic DCC system and you have an operating layout that can fit on a bookshelf.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Podcast worth your time

If you are like many of us who commute long distances and want to listen to something other than the same song for the 5th time or the same news story rehashed from yesterday then take a look at The Model Railway Show. Each show is about 30 minutes and is available from iTunes or other subscription sources.   For example, Episode 45 had Doug Gurin of LDSIG and Charlie Getz of the NMRA. Take a listen and see what you think.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pictures of Rail Destruction from Sandy

The following link shows some of the rail damage from Sandy

Monday, September 24, 2012

MER Election Results

Thank you to everyone that ran for office this year. 463 valid ballots were received.
The results (excluding write-ins) are: 

Chuck Hladik - 193
John Janosko - 270

Vice President:
PJ Mattson - 446 

Mike White - 448

Tom Buckingham - 449 


Bob Price
MER BOD / Archivist 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

MER Convention in Suffolk

The next major event in the area for the NMRA is the MER Convention coming October 18th to 21st.  It is nearby and should provide a good time for all.  Use this link to go to the convention website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Two Clinics for November

 Clinics for November

There are two clinics for November.  More details will follow.

DCC by Don Wells

Going to War With the Railroad you Have:
Designing and Operating the Chesapeake and Ohio's Olby Branch in 1944
by Gerard Fitzgerald

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Geographic Membership Distribuiton

The results from plotting the geographic distribution of the membership was a little different than expected.  There are a few folks in the Valley, Farmville, Danville, Warrenton, Culpepper but the big concentrations are in Richmond, Charlottesville/Fluvanna, Lynchburg and Fredericksburg.  Of the top 4 Richmond has half of that group with each of the other three having about an equal amount.  The unexpected result was the Division having the same membership in Fredericksburg as Charlottesville/Fluvanna or Lynchburg.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Next Division Meet Nov 3rd

The next division meet will be November 3rd in Richmond at Church of the Redeemer.

930 AM - Registration
1000 AM - Meeting

Contest - Maintenance of Way including Vehicles

More Details to come


View Larger Map

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Northeast Prototype Modelers Meet

Saturday, September 29, 2012

The event runs from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at the Ted Blum 4-H Center in Bridgewater , NJ. The spacious facility is located just off of NJ Route 202 and easily accessible from Interstates 78 and 287. Best of all, advance registration is only $20, which includes a hot Italian lunch buffet!

Register in advance and save. The cost will be $25 at the door the day of the event.
Line up your plans in advance. Download the 2012 Registration PDF and send it along today.

Everyone is encouraged to bring recent work or works in progress to show and discuss. The model display is the heart of any RPM meet and there will be plenty of tables set to a comfortable viewing height.

A 4-H benefit feature will be a “Tracky Tray” auction. If you have some new hobby items that just aren't on the current plan, bring them along for the auction. Proceeds benefit 4-H.

Set your date and send in your registration for a full day of presentations, models, discussions, a great lunch and a fabulous time.

The NEFF RPM Schedule:

We have the following presenters at this time with more details to come!

  Craig Bisgeier - TBA
  Ted DiIorio - TBA
  Steve Funaro - TBA
  Ralph Heiss - TBA
  Mike McCann - There Was A Railroad There; New Jersey aerial railroad photography
  Mike McNamera - A Free-mo Review
  Dave Messer - Modeling FGEX Refrigerator Cars
  Dave Ramos - TBA
  Bill Schaumburg - Slate Quarrying in Pennsylvania

Any presentations are subject to change without notice.

Just over 100 people attended the 2011 event, and more than 200 models were on display. Check out these galleries for images from the 2011 NEFF RPM meet.

Monday, August 13, 2012

MER Ballot Issue 13 August 2012

The ballots sent out by the Mid Eastern Region NMRA have the incorrect return address on them.  Mine arrived on the 13th and I can confirm the issue. 

Please do not return them.  A new ballot in a color other than white will be mailed shortly for you to submit your vote for officers

Monday, July 30, 2012

Tweeting from Grand Rails 2012

The JRD is tweeting from Grand Rails 2012.  Hear what is going on and what is new.  Follow us on Twitter @jrdnmra

Formal Obit for Bill McMillian, Sr, MMR

William “Bill” Arthur McMillan, Sr, MMR

Master Model Railroader #401, Bill McMillan peacefully joined his beloved wife Carola on July 24, 2012.  He was a retired Congressional Liaison for the Department of the Navy yet continued working as a private consultant to the department and pursuing his love of model railroading.  Bill was a long time member of the NMRA, active in the MER and James River Division, the James River Division On30 Modular group, the Ma & Pa Historical Society and various local groups.  He is survived by his son, Artie McMillan; his daughter Sue McMillan; and his two granddaughters, Alex and Tyler McMillan.  Bill was 85 years of age.

Among his many model railroad accomplishments, he was most proud to obtain his MMR certificate on September 21, 2007.  He was a superb modeler as witnessed by his beautiful HO scale Ma & Pa layout of the Maryland District set in October 1939 between Baltimore, Maryland and Delta, Pennsylvania with staging into York Pennsylvania.  The layout was fully sceniced and operational with a new Dallastown branch nearing completion.  Bill’s Ma & Pa was regularly operated by a devoted group of operators who also volunteered many hours towards construction and maintenance efforts becoming a part of the layout. 

The family graciously allowed a small group of the Ma & Pa operators to visit Saturday July 28 to operate the layout one last time as a tribute to its Chief Operating Officer and creator.  Two “sweeper trains” were run, much like the prototype railroad ran upon its discontinuation of service, to clean out all the sidings and towns.  A final train was run out of Baltimore to Delta with lone Ma & Pa  2-8-0 #41, a Baldwin locomotive built in 1941, pulling coach #20 as the McMillan Memorial Special carrying its fallen leader.  The Special stopped at every station along the line for mourners to pay their last respects. 

As a fitting farewell to Bill, the following poem is repeated from the memorial service bulletin.


The railroad track is miles away,
And the day is loud with voices speaking,
Yet there isn’t a train goes by all day,
But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn’t a train goes by,
Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming,
But I see its cinders red on the sky,
And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with the friends I make,
And better friends I’ll not be knowing,
Yet there isn’t a train I wouldn’t take,
No matter where it’s going.

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The model railroading hobby has lost a valued friend and mentor.  He will be greatly missed.

Compiled by Mike Garber

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Master Model Railroader #401 William "Bill" McMillan

It is with great sadness that this information must be shared.  On Tuesday, July 24, the hobby lost a valued friend and mentor.  Mr. William "Bill" McMillan ended his journey on earth at the age of 85.  Bill was an avid HO scale model railroader building his Ma & Pa layout and an On30 module, both to the highest degree, helping him to earn MMR status.  Bill will be greatly missed by many.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, July 27th at 4pm at The Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 2341 Winterfield Rd, Midlothian, VA 23113.  A celebration (with BBQ!) following the service will be held at his home at 3608 Rivermist Ct, Midlothian, VA 23113.  All are invited.
To help with arrangements it would be appreciated if those who plan to attend please provide an email RSVP to preferably Ken Montero at or myself at .  Please do not respond to this message.
My apologies to those who receive this message multiple times.  Please share this message with others in an effort to share this news.

With all sadness,
Mike Garber
Midlothian, VA

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Web Site Revision Started

The revision to the web site is now underway.  The home page has a new look though the ads from Trainweb which help to support the site keep overlapping the division map.  Hopefully, experimentation will yield a fix.  The current goal after fixing the main page is to add one new page every two weeks to flesh out the web site.  Of course, that is dependent on content from those who whose area is covered by that page.  Those responsible for areas will be asked for content and if none arrives the webmaster will make his best guess.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Chance to hear Mark Chase on Modeling a Soapstone Railroad

Those of you who missed Mark Chase's presentation on Modeling a Soapstone Railroad at the last JRD meet will have the opportunity to hear him again.  Mark will be speaking at the NRHS Rivanna Chapter meeting in Charlottesville on Tuesday July 17, 2012 at 7 PM.   The meeting is held at the Elks Lodge in Charlottesville.  A buffet dinner is optionally available at 6 PM for $14 during which Mark will have a slide show running.

Summary: We are fortunate to have here in Central Virginia such a diverse and interesting railroad heritage to provide inspiration for our railfanning and modeling. An example would be the unique and picturesque operations of the railroads that once served the soapstone industry in Albemarle and Nelson counties. My program examines Alberene Soapstone Company from the perspective of a model railroader searching for an engaging theme for a new model railroad.

If you need directions please click on Elks Lodge

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

JRD Member Keith Stillman has OPSIG article of the Quarter

JRD member Keith Stillman article on Demand Driven Operations was recently honored as 'The OPSIG DO Article of the Quarter'

The article describing demand driven ops was published in the most recent OPSIG issue and is now free on their website as the article of the quarter.

One of the charts is wrong in the article and the corrected one is available here.

The system generally works well and traffic is never uniform.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Do You Tweet?

As part of reaching out in new ways the JRD has a twitter account for those who tweet.  Follow us @jrdnmra for updates. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to the blog for the James River Division, MER, NMRA.  It is hoped that this blog will lead to more timely communication of material.  The combination of multiple means of communication will be used to reach our membership.  The blog is not the be all/ end all but only a part of the whole process.  We may experiment with other means of communication to make sure members can receive the information they need in a way that meets their needs.  Welcome!

Meeting This Saturday in Powhatan, VA

Meeting in Powhatan, VA Meeting starts at 930 AM Meeting  Location:  C hadwicks Orchards  1240 Dorset Rd, Powhatan, VA Workshop 1 - Creating...