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10-14-16 Notes to Convention Attendees

posted Oct 17, 2016, 6:09 AM by Rob Rousseau   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 8:08 AM ]

The Carolina Piedmont Division welcomes you to the 2016 Mid-Eastern Region Convention. We have established a number of ways to communicate with you; some old, some new. We hope that you will take frequent advantage of the avenues that work for you. Our objective is to dedicate every day of the convention, and even before, to ensure that you have had an enjoyable, entertaining, and educational experience.

We invite you to frequently open our website for the latest announcements. Webmaster Rob Rousseau is very diligent with posting any changes to clinics or to the various event schedules. Rob has also arranged for us to use an app for our iPhones called Guidebook. Here is how Rob describes it.


The 2016 MER Convention is going mobile with the Guidebook App!  Think of it as a digital version of the Convention Timetable.  Imagine having your entire schedule of clinics you want to attend and tours you're going on all in a calendar on your smartphone with reminders so you never miss an event.


Download the free official mobile guide to the 2016 MER Convention for your smartphone or tablet. Schedules, Maps, and more in a custom mobile app.  Go here to access the different versions (Apple, Android and/or Web).

I loaded this app into my smartphone and it works great. I was easily able to select clinics to set up a personalized schedule and to choose reminders.

We will also have any schedule or other changes posted in the hotel lobby and clinic schedules will be posted outside of each clinic room.

Presently, we have 107 attending the banquet which features Bernie Kempinski as our dinner speaker. We also have a special door prize donated by Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad to be awarded to one lucky banquet attendee. If you have not yet made your banquet reservation please do you by contacting MER Registrar Bill Grosse at 609-585-4616 or email to The final banquet reservation count will be turned into the hotel on Monday. The banquet room doors will be open to all convention attendees when MER President PJ Mattson opens the annual business meeting of the membership and for the contest awards.  

For breakfast, we have made special arrangements to open the hotel restaurant at 6am daily. This will provide you with a better opportunity to relax and enjoy some social time with friends before the clinic schedule kicks off for the day. It will also allow attendees heading to layout tours and other activities outside of the hotel to enjoy breakfast before departure. An average of 64 of you each day have taken advantage of the special breakfast offer that we have negotiated for you. The $16 prepaid breakfast buffet is inclusive of taxes and gratuities; a significant discount over the menu price. If you have not yet signed up for prepaid breakfasts you can still do so by contacting Registrar Bill Grosse at the telephone number and email mentioned above. Bill will have special tickets for you as a part of the packet you receive upon registration. These breakfast vouchers will be collected by the wait staff so you will not need to stand in line at the cashier or otherwise handle cash or a credit card at the table. For those not participating in the pre-paid breakfast buffet, you will still have the option of ordering off of the menu. Friday and Saturday the hotel will have a different buffet available each day.

Layout tours in private homes throughout the convention are restricted to convention registrants. Upon registration you will receive a Layout Tours Guide along with a Convention Guide. You will need your registration badge for entry to the private homes. Please note these courtesies:

·       Sign the guest book if one is presented

·       Ask permission of the host before taking photographs

·       If snacks or beverages are provided, please do not bring them to the layout room

·       Please do not park on lawns of the hosts or their neighbors

·       Use the entrances indicated by the hosts. Some will have door or directional yard signs.

·       Please do not critique layouts or offer suggestions unless invited to do so by the host

·       Please respect the posted beginning and ending hours of the open houses

The Layout Tours Guide does not provide turn-by-turn directions. Addresses are provided and it expected that drivers will have GPS capability. Car-pooling is encouraged. Each of the hosts has generously given up their convention time to open their layouts to you, and they are very proud of what they have created or have in process. We extend our appreciation for their participation.

All of our operating callboards and Tichy tours have been fully subscribed, but we still have limited availability for the caboose ride, the Pullman restoration tour and the art museum tour. Please see the web site for details on these events.

One of the more popular offerings at MER conventions is the Silent Auction. Please check out the Raffle / Silent Auction tab on If you have items to sell you will want to follow the instructions and complete the form on the web site. Getting your list to Bob Clegg in advance will save everyone time.

New this year is our Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM) room. Bring your prototype rolling stock, locomotives, vehicles and structures whether completed or under construction for display.  Don’t forget the Contest Room. This staple of MER conventions always presents an exhibition of the work of the Region’s finest modelers. Finish up that paperwork and bring your models in for Achievement Program evaluation and consideration for many of the special awards.

We have a line-up of 58 clinic hours with expert presenters. Three of our clinicians are published authors who will have autographed books available for purchase: Bernie Kempinski, Cary Poole and Lou Sassi.

The following hobby shops have supported the Tracks to the Triangle convention and we encourage your visits while you are in the area. The Antique Barn in Wilson, NC, however, was an unfortunate flooding victim of Hurricane Matthew and is closed for repairs.

·         Hayes Hobby House, 809 Elm Street, Fayetteville


o        910-485-2337

o        10am to 7pm, 6pm on Saturday

·         Train Buddy, 1200 Jenkins Road, Wake Forest

o        Special convention hours until 9pm October 20-22 and until 6pm on the 23rd

o        Kim Parker will be presenting clinics at the store


o        919-562-4378

The convention committee extends its appreciation to the following manufacturers, retailers and individuals who have supported the convention with product donations. We will have over 100 items on the raffle tables. Raffle tickets are $1 or six for $5.

·         Alkem Scale Models
·         The Antique Barn and Hobby Shop
·         Bar Mills
·         Bowser
·         Carolina Craftsman Kits
·         City Classics
·         Downtown Deco
·         East Coast Railroads
·         English’s Model Railroad
·         ExactRail
·         Hayes Hobby House
·         Marriott Hotel
·         Rail Scale Models
·         Tangent
·         Tichy Train Group
·         Train Buddy
·         Jim Babcock
·         Chuck Hladik
·         Danial Fisher
·         Stephen Milley
·         Lou Sassi
·         Fenton Wells

You will be joining almost 250 other model railroad enthusiasts from eight states from the west coast to the east coast plus the District of Columbia. First time attendees to a Mid-Eastern Region convention will have this noted on their registration badges. Please give them a special welcome.

If at any time you have any questions about the convention feel free to contact Jack Dziadul at 919-721-8757 or Steve Milley at 248-421-6276. We look forward to seeing you soon. Safe travels.