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Clinic Descriptions

Please check the registration area at the Convention for final schedules and location.

In the listing below the name of the Clinician is listed in blue and the name of the Clinic is listed in red. Clinics are listed alphabetically by the name of the Clinician.

Please check the registration area at the Convention for final schedules and location.

Abrams, Marshall
Signals and Detection 
Flashing lights, crossing gates, and trackside signals all provide visual interest to a model railroad.  They can also inform the operators about track conditions to guide operations.  This clinic describes installing and use of occupancy detection using current sensing and optical detectors used to control crossbuck flashers, crossing gates, and trackside signals and repeaters for Automatic Block Signaling (ABS).  Products and installation are discussed and available products are surveyed.

Abrams, Marshall
Computer Techniques to Generate Backdrops
Use of pictures to produce backdrops is one of the hottest trends in realistic modeling. This clinic will cover how picture postcards, card stock models, photographs and other media can be used to make backdrops. Marshall will focus on urban scenes, using Brian Sheron's and his layouts as examples. Extensive web links are included. 

Abrams, Marshall
Switch List Generation
This Clinic presents computer program used to generate freight traffic on model 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. The presentation handout includes extensive web references.

Anderson, Neal
Improved Lighting For Your Layout Room
Although most of us already have lighting for our layout area, we often have difficulty uncoupling or rerailing cars without using a flashlight or squinting. This clinic will show how to make a simple, Inexpensive lighting system that is easy to install and will greatly improve the light level for your operations.

Anderson, Neal
Speed Ballasting; Great Trackwork in Less Time
Neal will demonstrate a way to lay ballast down on a section of track three feet long, glued and ballasted in ten to fifteen minutes.

Benezra, Steve
Introduction to Model Railroad Operations
Topics will include layout design, era specific operations, car forwarding, dispatching as well as other fundamentals of model railroad operations. Since model railroad operations can run the range from simple to complex. This clinic will explore the why and how to simulate prototype railroad operations on your layout.  It gives you a starting point on how to have model railroad operation sessions.

Bitleris, Vic
Give 'Em a Brake
How to superdetail a freight car with brake equipment and other fine details.

Brechbiel, Martin

Contest Evaluation Clinic
Will provide the basic background training required for becoming a certified MER Judge.  Attendance is a pre-requisite to being an Apprentice Judge at the MER Convention Contest Room.  Anyone and everyone that has any interest in being a Judge needs to attend.  Anybody that intends to enter models in the Contest Room should also consider attending to learn what criteria the Judges are looking for in your model and how to present it for the best results.

Brechbiel, Martin

How to prepare Contest Paperwork
Describe the model, earn the points you deserve.

Bronson, Dick

NMRA Standard for Layout Command Control (LCC)
"What is LCC? Will this be DCC for the rest of the layout?" An explanation of the most significant development since DCC standards.

Bronson, Dick

Introduction to Signaling Your Layout Using JMRI
Explores the capabilities of JRMI and setting up a prototypical signaling system on your model railroad using JMRI.

Burchnall, John
Foam Board Layout Construction
Life member NMRA founding member of The Eastern Loggers.  Author. The EL’s portable 1920’s era Penna Logging layout featured in Great Model Railroads, Railroad Model Craftsman and the NMRA Bulletin. Cost and performance comparisons of different methods (both commercial and homemade), with a demo of making and applying a great new type material.

Burchnall, John
Engineering Secrets of the Eastern Loggers Group
Life member NMRA founding member of The Eastern Loggers.  Author. The EL’s portable 1920’s era Penna Logging layout featured in Great Model Railroads, Railroad Model Craftsman and the NMRA Bulletin. A highly captivating clinic, with slides and demo, of special interest to Narrow Gauge, Logging Railroaders, Eastern Pennsylvania and Railroad Prototype Modelers

Chase, Gene
Arduino & Microcontroller Capabilities and Applications
Introduction to Microcontrollers
The Arduino Uno - Microcontroller Bread Board: An open–source platform used for building electronic projects of all kinds.
Programming the Arduino for Model Railroad Applications
1. At Grade Crossing Flashing Warning Lights, a simple Arduino Uno project for Model Railroaders.
2. At Grade Crossing Flashing Warning Lights, Safety Gates and Bell with approaching train detection.

Davis, Bill
WEATHERING: Striving for Realism
Weathering by studying the prototypes of structures, equipment, motive power, and rolling stock.

Davis, Chuck MMR
Jersey Central's Ashley Operations & Modeling Applications
This clinic describes the chronology and unique aspects of the Jersey Central’s operations in the mountainous region of the Wyoming Valley in Northeast Pennsylvania.  Emphasis is on applications to modeling operations and design.

Davis, Chuck MMR
Modeling Lehigh Valley and other Coal Cars
This clinic covers commercial HO cars available and modifications to accurately model most series of the Lehigh Valley cars.  Modeling aspects of anthracite and bituminous coal loads, and finishing car exteriors and interiors are also covered.

Dodge, Andrew MMR
Layout Planning and Design Clinic
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. 

Dodge, Andrew MMR
Modeling to Prototype Standards and Operating Procedures
The 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.

Fisher, Danial
Proto 1:1 Design of real railroad projects
Case study of an actual prototype track design.

Fisher, Danial

Repowering classic brass locomotives
Detailed brass has improved pick-up, DCC, and full sound

Flichman, Charlie MMR
A Different Look at the Achievement Program
The Achievement Program has many benefits and here we explain the process clearly.

Foley, Dick
Early Reading Auto Cars
The clinic will cover the development  and construction of a series of five different auto and auto parts cars, plus one general service car.  These cars were designed and built by the Reading in their shops, from 1935 to 1939. They had unique characteristics, and spotting features. Also covered will be their in-service life, including interchange points, and destinations, and four models available from F&C Kits.  

Grove, Jeff
Craftsman Kit Development from the Prototype
Carolina Craftsman Kits   Our designs are influenced by actual structures of historical influence.  We are always on the lookout for unique structures to replicate in miniature Jeff brings his expertise and experience to this clinic.  He will demonstrate design and construction of kits influenced by actual structures of historical influence

Grove, Jeff
Laser Cutting Technology
Carolina Craftsman Kits  Our designs are influenced by actual structures of historical influence.  We are always on the lookout for unique structures to replicate in miniature Jeff brings his expertise and a fully functioning laser cutter to this clinic.  He will demonstrate drawing, design, and operation to produce detailed finished parts. 

Hackett, Earl
The Problem with Casting Parts - You Need a Mold
A review of mold making techniques for single and two part molds, from using brass masters through the latest 3D printing techniques, along with molds and parts from the various processes. Also a discussion of when to use 3D printed parts and when to cast your own.  This will include what I think is the slickest mold making technique I've ever come up with.

Hanley, Bill
Modeling B&O Rolling Stock in the Steam Era
A power-point presentation highlighting common boxcars of the B&O.  Slides will show prototype cars followed with prototype information and concluding with photos of HO Scale models.  The narrative will include models that are on the market along with modeling tips.

Kempinski, Bernie
Down to the Sea in Trains
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. The talk will complement Bernie's next book due out in 2017.

Kempinski, Bernie
Military Railroads
An overview of how railroads served in America's wars, and how to apply this information to design and build operating model railroads. Starting with the Crimean War in 1855 and extending to current times, the talk features prototype photos, maps and plenty of examples of world class modeling.

Kempinski, Bernie

Modeling the USMRR Aquia Line
A look at the the design, construction and finished scenes on Bernard Kempinski’s O Scale Civil War era layout set in Virginia in 1863

MillerFred MMR
Light, Sound & Motion Animation for Model Railroads
Lights and sounds have become commonplace in our model locomotives. But this clinic will explore some ways to add light, sound and motion to your layout. Various projects will be described and demonstrated, some using commercial products, others with electronic circuit details for construction provided. The clinic will cover animation of semaphore signals and crossing gates. The clinic will make ample use of actual implemented projects on Fred’s HO Traction modules.

MillerFred MMR

Using Microcontrollers in Model Railroading
This presentation will explore some easy applications for micro-controllers in the New world of model railroading. Projects using both PICAXE and Arduino series of micro-controllers in projects to run servos for turnout control and other animation such as crossing gates will be explored. Communication with the Digitrax LocoNet for various mobile and stationary decoder activities will be included. The clinic show actual implemented projects on Fred’s various layouts.

MillerFred MMR

Multi-function Animation Decoder
This clinic is about a custom designed inexpensive decoder which was designed to operate lights, sounds and motion for animating buildings on a layout. The decoder operates from DCC track power and accepts DCC commands to initiate the animations. The construction and details of the Arduino based decoder will be presented along with several animated HO demonstration buildings operated from a LocoNet time-of-day Scheduler.

Minnis, Bob MMR

Open Loads for Freight Cars
This clinic will present a discussion on the various types of freight cars that can carry open loads. Examples of loads for each type of car will be shown, including interchangeable loads.

MurrieJim & Dr. Naomi Petersen
Modeling a Big City Passenger Terminal
How to design a layout for passenger operations, i.e. NO freight trains!, based around a near exact scale recreation of downtown Milwaukee WI depot in 1952.  Clinic will cover operations, planning, and construction considerations for a medium size home layout.

Murrie, Jim & Dr. Naomi Petersen
"Last Train Ride" Military Mortuary Trains
The story of the US Army's mortuary trains of 1947-51 used to return the remains of the WW2 dead.

Poole, Cary, Dr.
Durham & Southern
Recent book published The Durham & Southern Railway -  Service with Courtesy. The history of the railroad that helped form North Carolina's renowned "Research Triangle Park" as it ran from Durham south to Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Angier, Erwin, & Dunn.

Poole, Cary, Dr.
Edwards Motorcar Company
The history of the  North Carolina company  He will have his new D&S book and also History of Railroading in Western North Carolina, Edwards Railway Motorcar Co. and CF7 Locomotive books to sign.

Poole, Cary, Dr.
The History of the CF7 Rebuild Program
This history of the CF7 rebuild program covers CF7 locomotives in fine detail from their rebuilding from F-units at the Santa Fe Cleburne, Texas, shops to their modern role as shortline workhorses. Modelers will be pleased with the large detailed photographs, numerous diagrams and informative text. It includes a historical listing of all 233 CF7's built and interviews with those who built 'em and those who run 'em!

Poole, Cary, Dr.
The History of Railroading in Western North Carolina
The history of Railroading in Western North Carolina as told by those who lived there. This is an overview of railroad history in this particular region which includes the Class 1s, shortlines, and logging operations which occurred in the area.  Railroads specially  include the Southern, the Clinchfield, ET&WNC, and various logging operations. 

Sassi, Lou
Adding Detail to Increase Realism (All New!)
Lou explains various techniques and materials he uses to build his trackwork, scenic features (such as trees and rockwork), structures and vehicles that gives them purpose on the layout, improves their appearance and adds to their realism. Preeminent modeler, photographer and author. See actual scenery work and techniques by this noted Kalmbach books and articles author.

Sassi, Lou
Fields and Fences
Lou will discuss the materials, tools, and techniques he utilizes, in both HO and O scales, to model various types of fences, walls, woods, fields, and rocks. He will begin by demonstrating-via video-the components and mixing of “Ground Goop”, the basis for all his finished scenery.

The video will be accompanied by a step-by- step Keynote presentation of the aforementioned subject matter. He will also explain the unique features of “Ground Goop’ and how they allow the user to create scenic effects not attainable with other mediums.  Noted Kalmbach Author, see live techniques by the master of scenery from his books and articles.

Seehorn, Will
Foam Scenery and Static Grass - Modeling for Motion
Foam Scenery materials and techniques will be shown.  Static grass application covered as well.

SheronBrian MMR
Thirty Five Years of Tips and Tricks
Dozens of handy , proven ideas that solve model railroading problems.

SheronBrian MMR
Expanding the Long Island Railroad
Brian is currently expanding his layout. One of his main modeling objectives is to model the car floats and car float barges that the Long Island Railroad had in Long Island City in Brooklyn. The clinic will discuss the design of the expansion, discuss a little of the history of why the LIRR had car floats, and then show how he modeled the car floats, the car float bridges, and the car float yard. The clinic has lots of photos of both the prototype operations on the LIRR and the models of the car floats, car float bridges, etc. that he built. He also discusses the prototype procedures for loading and unloading car floats. Finally, he will discuss how he modeled the picturesque Brooklyn storefronts. 

SheronBrian MMR
Backdrops: Achieving depth through forced perspective and 3-D effect methods
Current experience with new, innovative  methods and techniques.  backdrops and panoramic views, smaller scale buildings and signs behind the larger scale structures to get forced depth perspective, making custom backdrops from photos, and how to easily make a curved corner for a backdrop.

Pullman Cars
Company History, Accommodation Descriptions and Car Layouts of the Pullman Fleet, plus how to tell the difference between a heavyweight 12-1 versus an 8-1-2, as well as a lightweight 4-4-2 versus a 10-6.

Rollins Pass on the Denver & Salt Lake
Ever ride the California Zephyr west of Denver??     This is an armchair journey over Rollins Pass, the History, the incredible effort to put down tracks and run trains across the heart of the Rocky Mountains at 11,660 feet elevation in the days before the 6.2 mile Moffat Tunnel

Pennsy Motive Power
The Pennsylvania Railroad was the proverbial 800 pound gorilla walking into a bar and they did things their own way.   Big enough to design, build and test their own steam locomotives according to their own rules.    Presentation devoted to the differences between their locomotives.

Operating with a Tsunami or Econami Decoder

Once you have an engine with a Soundtraxx Tsunami or Econami decoder, what do you do with it? This clinic will describe the Configuration Variables (CV) that control momentum and braking characteristics of Soundtraxx Tsunami decoders for both diesels and steam engines. Subjects include deciding how much momentum and braking to use, helping engineers to learn momentum and braking and how to choose settings that will work with your engines that don’t have Tsunami decoders.. A complete configuration for movement control and sound will be presented with suggestions for change to meet particular layout situations.

Ships and Boats for the HO Waterfront
Rail activity is the fuel of the waterfront. Photos and discussion show us how.

Latest Advancements in DCC
There have been a lot of advancements in the capabilities of DCC over the past few years, as well as some slightly different and improved methods of implementing DCC on a layout. Many of these capabilities require the use of ancillary equipment such as a computer running JMRI. The clinic will also touch on methods of ensuring reliable and continuous operation.

Speed Matching Locomotives with DCC
The most flexibility in operations comes when you can intermix any locomotive from any manufacturer in a consist, and have these locomotives set to a common maximum prototypical speed. This clinic describes and demonstrates the construction of a small square layout that is used along with a special script running in JMRI to speed match various locomotives. The script uses the layout to determine the proper values for the decoder’s speed tables, and then writes those values to the decoder.

Weinheimer, Bob MMR
Evolution of an Operating Scheme
This clinic looks at how the Pennsylvania Southern and its operating scheme have evolved over the past 35 years.  Any large layout grows with time to its current form and this layout is no exception.  While the layout has moved twice, it has been in its present location for most of its existence.  Those moves offered opportunities for development.  Industrial growth over the years also led to the need for more cars, more trains to handle them, and more and different staging methods for those trains.  As the crews improved their operating skills and as technology improved the methods of dispatching the railroad have also changed.  All of these subjects will be discussed in this clinic.

Weinheimer, Bob MMR
Operations on the Pennsylvania Southern
The Pennsylvania Southern is a freelance layout set in 1980 in western Pennsylvania.  Topics for discussion include layout philosophy, train scheduling, car fleet description, train schedules, car routing, dispatching, and supporting paperwork. 

Pulpwood Rack Cars of the Southern Railway
A Southern RR expert gives his clinic on pulp wood and what it is.  What did the Southern railway do with it and the cars that they used during the transition era?  As most of the prototype cars were created or built from existing freight cars, that is prototype kit bashing.  The clinic will help the modeler select car types, model sources, paint colors and decal sources to create an HO scale pulp wood rack car fleet for the Southern Railway during the steam to Diesel transition era.  Prototype and model photos, car diagrams and other drawings are presented to help explain the subject matter.

Modeling Southern Railway Rolling Stock during the Transition Era
An active Railroad Prototype Modeler, Fenton's clinic covers the freight cars used by the Southern Railroad during the steam to diesel transition era.  The clinic describes the car types, model manufacturers, color schemes, decal sources for the cars and uses model and prototype photos, car diagrams and other drawings and information to cover the topic.

Building Resin Car Models for Beginners
Taking some of the intimidation out of building a resin freight car kit.  Tips and tricks to get good looking results the first time.

Zeni, Craig
Late Seaboard System/Early CSX 1983-1987 in Eastern NC
Comprehensive discussion of Eastern NC Railroading.  Detailed, all prototype photos.