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Modeling With Uncertainty

Mid-Eastern Region

Dealing with Coronavirus (COVID-19)

By Kurt Thompson, MMR

President, Mid-Eastern Region

 

Folks:

As I write this note, we’ve all been put in a sort of “lock down” due to the Coronovirus (COVID-19). Each Division of the Region has already taken appropriate steps to comply with the various State of Emergency directives. I won’t list which events we have missed or are going to miss over the next four to eight weeks. It wouldn’t add anything positive.

I would like to echo some encouraging words I heard from Marty McGuirk on his blog a couple of days ago. First, our involvement in the hobby is just that, a hobby. Yes, we’ll be missing out on some of the social aspects of Division meetings and train shows and sales. Second, if I miss out on going to a show to buy something, it’s not a loss as I probably don’t have a real need for more stuff.

On Monday 3/16, I spent some additional time in my train room, working on the layout. With the new “standard” of not going out in the evenings, I’m hoping to get a lot of work done on my layout. It’s in the “some track work is done and some not done” stage. Today I pushed forward on that timeline.

Since my crystal ball is broken (and I haven’t found a reputable repair shop), I can only say: be careful with yourself and your health; get some modeling done, and maybe have something ready for judging or showing off at the first Division meet or MER convention in the Fall.

Now’s it time for me to head back to the train room and get some more track installed.

<https://mailchi.mp/ad78dc80c524/modeling-with-uncertainty?e=8d5e4e9309>

Blame the Brass

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Clutter from the Super’s desk

By Alex Polimeni

They say time flies when you’re having fun… and while I’m of the opinion time flies no matter what, I can say with certainty that I have had fun.

Looking ahead, I remain both excited and optimistic about the Division’s future. While the officer positions are vital to SMDs structure as an organization, it’s *you*, the membership, who keep this train under steam (or maybe pantograph, if you’re one of those electric guys.)

You are the folks who open your homes to the membership, who make our unflaggingly robust attendance happen, and who come together to put on the best model train show (not swap meet!) in the area every single year. Believe me, I try to keep the meetings short- but you guys just *care* about SMD so darn much, you won’t stop talking business!

Although I’m not running for re-election, I won’t be going anywhere, either. I will be available to help the next Super learn the ropes, and would be happy to serve on the advisory committee if asked to. Regardless, for those of you considering running, I just want to say: the Division and I have your back. You’ve all certainly had mine.

CANCELED – Mini Convention 2020

The SMD has CANCELED the 2020 Mini Con because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The 18 April event will not be rescheduled this calendar year. Subscribe to this blog for future details on the 2021 Mini Con. [-Ed.]

by Pete Clark

What:  Mainline Hobby Supply presents: The SMD Spring Mini Convention.

When:  Saturday, April 18, 2020. Doors open to the public from 9:00 am. to 4:00 pm.  Doors open for set up at 7:00 AM (vendors, modular layouts, clinicians ONLY).

Where:  Blue Ridge Mountain Fire Co., located at 13063 Monterey Lane, Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17214. This venue is directly across the road from Mainline Hobby. Attendees can park, free, to the north side of the fire hall nearest the convention entrance.

For a good time, be part of the Mini-Con!

Join your fellow SMD members in a day of great fun and fellowship. And, oh by the way, spread the joy of model railroading. Saturday April 18 2020, with the support of Mainline Hobby Supply, we will again host the very popular Mini-convention. New members might not know and old members might have forgotten, our format for the event, so allow me a quick review.

Informal clinics; morning: Hopefully 10 folks (You!) will volunteer to give one from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM and repeat it again from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Not a formal presentation, just talk about a model railroading topic that’s of interest to you. Bring what you need to have as examples or visual aids. But remember, no projectors, no loudspeakers. It’s just you, talking to the attendees as they walk past your table. The guests are free to stay and talk with you for as long as they like, or move on when they choose. So, don’t think of it as a speech, don’t think of it as public speaking. It’s just you, talking to another interested model railroader, and maybe another will join in.

Note that officially you have an hour break from 10:00 to 11:00 AM. That’s to allow you to get a snack, visit the restroom, look around to see what other clinics are happening.

Then, hopefully, we get 10 other members to give 10 other clinics from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM and again from 12:00 noon to 1:00 PM.

We want 20 informal clinics (two groups of 10), so there’s plenty of room for you.

Join in with SMD members and friends like:

  • Dennis Blank, Jr. (Lighting SD40-2’s with LED’s)
  • Bob Johnson (Rolling stock tune up for reliable operations)
  • Jerry Skeim (Structures & modeling water)
  • Andrew Dodge (Building a retirement model railroad)
  • Ken Kime (How to make molds and castings for making hopper cars.)
  • Don Florwick (TBD)
  • Bill  Reynolds (TBD)
  • Gary Nastase (Roadbed and ballasting)
  • Bob Geldmacher (Making pine trees)
  • Bob Morningstar (Make your own current keeper)
  • John Madden (DCC++)
  • Dave Thalman (Weathering & loading coal hoppers)
  • Ron Polimeni (Budget model railroading)
  • Harvey Heyser (Layout design)
  • Lee Rainey (TBD)
  • Jane Clarke (TBD)
  • John Glaab (Working on brass locomotives)
  • John King (Modify Kadee couplers to be more user friendly)
  • Dotti Polimeni (Painting Downtown Deco hydrocal kits)
  • Frank Benenati, Dave Sweeney and Tom Fedor (MARRS modules).

I can hear you saying, “Come on Pete. Look at that list. You must not need me.”  Wrong. We have space for you. More important, Like Uncle Sam says, “I want you!” And the members and guests who will come to the Mini want to see you and learn about the topic that interests you. Many on my list would be happy to give their spot to you, the new guy or gal. We have room for you. Can I make that any clearer?

I can hear you saying, “But I don’t know what to do.”  You may recall me writing this in the past, or saying it at a monthly meeting. “Just bring a model and work on it.”  I really mean it. No-one seems to believe it, but it’s been done and it’s very popular.

Make and take clinics: At 10:00 AM we will also have two “Make and take” clinics. Jeff Grove of Carolina Craftsman Kits will again donate a group of (small, easy) craftsman kits and Mainline will again donate (small, easy) styrene (plastic) DPM – 36000 – modular learning kit. Just like last year we’ll encourage young people by giving them priority on the make & take sign up lists. Also, another way you can help is by bringing tools to loan for these clinics. X-Acto knives, glue, and, well, look for a list of items once our build leaders (Brian Greenawalt, David Sweeney, and Tom Fedor) have had time to think about it.

Modular layouts: We hope to have a modular layout or two set up and running during the morning as well. I’m having better luck this year, and have gotten “probably” from two (Steve Sherrill and Wayne Betty). But we still can use more. So please contact me (Pete Clarke) if you are aware of a modular group and have contact information for that group. Email me at ebtmx5@aol.com or call 301- 253-4913.

Speaking of layouts, Brian Wolfe of Mainline Hobby Supply will have his layout open to tour during the Mini-Con.

Clubs and Societies: This would be a great opportunity to promote your club or historical society! So far, none have signed up. Please contact me to reserve your table at ebtmx5@aol.com or call 301- 253-4913.

For sale: There will be some vendors there with model railroad stuff for sale. Carolina Craftsman Kits, Dwarvin Enterprises (Fiber optic system of lights) and Bob Van Zant (HO locomotives and misc. stuff) have all signed up and we are waiting to hear back from more. And of course, you can, and should, carefully walk across the street to Mainline Hobby Supply. Tell them thanks for supporting this event by making a purchase, and while you are talking to them, say “Thanks for sponsoring the Mini” out loud.

Raffle: Again this year we will purchase a $150 gift certificate from Mainline and sell raffle tickets ($10 each) through the morning. Also, HobbyTown USA – Frederick (Richard Benjamin) has donated a $50 gift certificate that we will give as a door prize. Both of these will happen at 1:00 PM.

Formal clinics: Also, at 1:00 PM we convert from informal to formal clinics. We hope to have a speaker from the Mid-Eastern Region (MER) tell us of the plans for the MER’s annual fall convention. Alex Polimeni will speak on Model railroading as game design, and noted historian and author Lee Rainey will speak on “Shortline Operating Patterns: What to Consider in Designing a Schedule.”

Food: We will have food and beverages on site. This will also be handled by SMD members.

The Mini-Con is almost here. We still need you to make it happen. Please contact me and offer to help. Mostly we need folks to give informal clinics. Everyone who’s done one of these clinics has had a great time. If you have questions, I’d be happy to talk with you about it. There are other things you can do, we’ll need extension cords, tools for the make & take clinics, help at the registration desk, morning set up and afternoon clean up. Just can’t do any of those? Attend, and then tell others about it.

Follow the SMD blog for Mini-Con updates at southmountaindivision.wordpress.com.

SMD NMRA March 8 Meeting Reminder

Alex Polimeni, superintendent (2017-2020), NMRA South Mountain Division. (Tom Fedor)

Everyone,

Just letting you know, once again, that we’re meeting this Sunday, March 8th at Jay Beckham’s home in Berkeley Springs, WV. Doors open at 2PM for the layout tour, with the business meeting and a clinic about laser cutting to follow. I’m told there’s more to see on the layout since the last time the Division has visited, so make sure not to miss it! Please email me at southmountaindiv@gmail.com if you need directions.

Keep in mind, this will be our last meeting before April’s Mini-Con.  You will also find an impeccably prepared post of our February meeting minutes HERE.

In other news, May’s election meeting is fast approaching! You can review our bylaws referencing nominations and elections by clicking HERE, and in particular, I’d like to draw attention to this point:

In addition, any three members may nominate someone via a written notice to the Nominating Committee, with the permission of the nominee. Such nominations must be submitted to the Nominating Committee at least thirty days ahead of the election.”

So, if there’s someone you’d really like to give a little “push” into the Super’s chair, well, you have the means to do so! Heaven knows, it’s how I got the job. Our nominating chair this year is Ron Polimeni, who can be reached at ronpolimeni@gmail.com .

I’d also like to take a moment to recognize Wheel Report editor Tom Fedor for another great year of our little Division publication, and to thank you guys for the contributions which make it possible, too.

Hope to see you all this Sunday,

Alex Polimeni, Superintendent

SMD Draft Meeting Minutes – February 9, 2020

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Division members met at the Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club (CVMRR) in Chambersburg, PA.  19 or so were present.  After viewing the Club’s layout and displays, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

20.2-1 Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price (not present) submitted a report that the Division has $4115.08 in its bank account, the same as in November, 2019.  Purchase of the $150 Mainline Hobbies gift certificate for the Mini-Con raffle prize will happen soon.

20.2-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes for the January meeting (previously distributed by e-mail).  It was noted that Ron Polimeni will chair the Nominating Committee with Bob Law’s participation and Tom Fedor’s assistance with communication.  Brian Greenawalt made the following motion (second by Tom Fedor):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the January 2020 meeting be approved as revised.  The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

19.9-7 2020 Mini-Con will be April 18, 2020:  Chair Pete Clarke will contact Brian Wolfe of Mainline Hobbies for final coordination.  Chair Clarke reported the following:

a. Informal Clinics:  1 slot remains to be filled.  Back-ups (in case of no-shows) would be helpful to plug holes the day of the Mini-Con.  Contact Pete Clarke.

f. NMRA/SMD promotion at the Mini-Con:  It was suggested that the Division raffle off Rail Pass memberships.  Further discussion pointed out the need to gauge a recipient’s actual interest and suggested a need for current members to sponsor Rail Pass recipients.  Another suggestion was to reimburse recipients for the cost of a Rail Pass at the end of 9 months (if they felt that NMRA membership was not what they hoped it would be).  The discussion also touched on the cost of full NMRA membership and noted the fact that the hobby itself can be quite expensive.  CVMRR Club dues are $20 per month.

The promotional pamphlet was discussed as separate new business below.

19.10-6 White Elephant Table:  Although not discussed at length, it was observed that the Philadelphia Division had great success disposing of HO rolling stock (with Kadees and weathering) for a bargain price of $5 at the recent Timonium show – “passing the hobby forward.”

20.1-8 Spring Wheel Report deadline:  February 15, 2020.

New Business:

20.2-3 Host Cumberland Valley Model Railroad Club welcomed everyone to the Club.  The SMD expressed thanks for hosting the meeting.

20.2-4 SMD promotional pamphlet (tri-fold) giving specific information about Division activities:  Bob Johnson presented a draft copy of the pamphlet for discussion.  (A copy of the draft will be kept with the meeting Minutes.)  Discussion pointed out that the National NMRA policy limits visitors to two (2) meetings before requiring membership and that the URL’s listed were too long.  Bob will make corrections.  In addition to distributing them at the Mini-Con, members recommended flyers be placed at Mainline Hobbies and HobbyTown USA Frederick.

Printing costs and printers were discussed.  CVMRR Club recommended their printer OSI.  Bob will follow up.  Dave Thalman made the following motion (second by Ken Mazer):

Motion:  That the expenditure of up to $150 be authorized for the printing of SMD promotional pamphlets (tri-fold).  The motion passed unanimously.

20.2-5 Steve Green, a long-time SMD member, has contacted the Division to assure everyone that he is still involved in the hobby (despite not being able to attend meetings) and is recovering from a car accident last October.

20.2-6 The Waynesboro MRRC open house scheduled for Monday 2-10-20 will feature a presentation from Scale Trains.

Adjournment:  The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting is scheduled for March 8, 2020.  Members will be notified of the location by email [Jay Beckham’s in Berkeley Springs, WV].

EBT to Reopen in Summer of 2020

A nonprofit foundation has purchased the East Broad Top Railroad from the Kovalchick family. A press release on  eastbroadtop.com states the new EBT Foundation Inc., led by Brad Esposito, David Brightbill, Lawrence Biemiller, and Stephen Lane, with backers Wick Moorman, Henry Posner III, and Bennett Levin, will immediately begin work to overhaul track and equipment and to stabilize the Rockhill Furnace complex.  Esposito will be the general manager. Advisors include Linn Moedinger and Rod Case. The Kovalchick Family is on the board of the new nonprofit.

New management is encouraging all who wish to support restoration efforts to connect with the Friends of the East Broad Top (FEBT). Volunteers should look to the FEBT, named a close partner in the release, if they want to work on equipment and infrastructure.

Announced events at eastbroadtop.com/events include:

  • JUNE 6, 2020: OPEN HOUSE
  • JULY 22-25, 2020: 60th ORBISONIA ROCKHILL HOMECOMING
  • OCTOBER 9-11, 2020: FRIENDS OF THE EAST BROAD TOP REUNION