National announces NMRA Interchange 

From the NMRA…
We are really pleased to announce the launch of the NMRA Interchange. The Interchange will provide an online space for our members to collaborate, learn, exchange ideas and information, and much more! Born from the wish of members of the NMRAx team to connect members from across the globe without the need for any formality, as well as Marketing’s desire to move away from the website forums, and driven by the National Team’s wish to unburden Regions and Divisions from the costs associated with hybrid/online meetings, we happily present the NMRA Interchange. It is estimated that if each NMRA Region and Division had to self-fund online meeting software it would cost the organization over $25,000 per year. This is money that we would much prefer go towards growing the hobby in your local areas instead. 
The NMRA Interchange will connect you with members from across the NMRA using voice and text chat. The Hangout rooms are available for video conversations anytime without the need to pre-schedule. Each Region and Division also has its own space where only local members can see what is posted. It is a great place to promote local events, meetings, train shows, and even op sessions. Each SIG (Special Interest Group, as listed on has its own place to announce events and answer questions from NMRA members. In addition, we have created a place where you can have your own channel for your layout or share your model railroading journey. Events will be promoted at the very top of the menu, and we will be running training sessions for Division members who organize meetings so that we can show you how to create and promote events. 
The onboarding process is necessary to ensure the NMRA Interchange remains only for NMRA members. Without a membership number and completion of the onboarding process, your access to the NMRA Interchange will be limited. If you struggle with the onboarding process there is a channel called “#i-need-help” where the Interchange Team will assist you. As with the Digital Magazine you must use your membership number and a clearance code will be sent to the same email address registered with the website in order to complete the onboarding process. 
The NMRA Interchange uses the Discord platform, which is available through a web browser like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome. You can also download the Discord desktop application or the Discord mobile app for your smartphone and/or tablet. The software works on iOS, MacOS, Windows, Linux, and Android you can download the Discord application from here:

Joining the Interchange

Register for Discord and find the NMRA Interchange 
1) Go to to log in as a member.
a) If you are not registered with yet, you can register with your email address on file in the NMRA membership system.
2) Read through the page and then follow the link invite link: it will look something like this –
3) You will then be taken to Discord where you will be prompted to sign into Discord if you already have an account or prompted to register.
a)You can find instructions for creating an account or logging into Discord here.
NMRA Interchange Onboarding
You will now be in the NMRA Interchange Server “Lobby” where you now need to complete the onboarding process.
1) Type /onboard into the message box at the bottom of the screen. When the command with the NMRA logo appears, click on this and then enter your membership number. Do not forget to add the 00 or 0A at the end if displayed on your membership card, including the space.
2) When you have entered your membership number, press the Enter key and you will see the Interchange Bot reply to your message with the email address you are registered with at Only you can see this message.
3) Go to your email mailbox and you should have received an email from the NMRA with a single-use code that you will need to enter into the Interchange to complete the onboarding process. (Remember to check your spam folder, too.)
4) Return to the NMRA Interchange and enter /clearance click on the interchange bot as you did during step 1 and enter the code from your email after input. (Make sure you don’t add any spaces.) Then press Enter again and the Interchange Bot will tell you it is working and confirm that your onboarding has been successful. If the Bot tells you onboarding has failed please repeat the /onboard membership number step.
You will know when the onboarding process has been completed when many more channels appear in your menu, as well as a channel just for your local division in your region. 
Discord has produced a handy guide to help you get started with the NMRA Interchange:
However, should you have difficulties or if you think the Bot has placed you in the wrong Division please use the “#i-need-help” channel for support from the NMRA Interchange Team. 
Finally, we would like to thank the months of efforts by our team and our NMRA Interchange testers from the James River, Central Indiana, and Twin Cities Divisions. However, a special thank you goes out to Speed Muller, Jordan Kramer, Michelle Kempema, Aaron Stinson, Frank Trocchia, and Brad Anderson. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to add this fantastic benefit to our members and local organizations. 
Gordy Robinson
NMRA President

From the Desk of the Superintendent

The monthly meeting of the South Mountain Division (SMD) will be held on Sunday, January 8th at the home of division member Steve King.

As we continue our revitalized home layout tour program I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to see Steve’s reconstructed Virginia Midland.  This layout was originally located in Germantown, MD but was disassembled and moved to Pennsylvania several years ago.  The original Virginia Midland, which is modeled in N-scale, was a very nice operational line but Steve feels that the rebuilt version is even better.

Steve has provided the following description of his layout for your edification.

The Virginia Midland is a fully operational N-scale railroad located in the Virginia and West Virginia area and set during the 1969 period.  The layout is about 10 scale miles long and operates between two staging areas representing Marion, VA and Welch, WV.  One passenger train, four freight trains, plenty of coal trains, and several daily mine runs keep the layout busy.

Steve’s house is located in Fayetteville, PA (two houses down the street from Don Florwick). Please email the SMD at for the street address.

As always, the meeting will start at 2:00 PM.  Following the business meeting Steve will present a slide program focusing on Chinese external combustion (read steam) locomotives as they existed in mainland
China around the year 2000.

The usual admonition is still in effect — If you are ill, have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been recently exposed, we would ask you not to attend.  Otherwise, everyone is welcome.

Turnout for the SMD year to date has been very good —  Let’s keep up the trend and have an even better turnout as we start the new calendar year.

Please find and review last months meeting minutes on the previous post.

Bob Johnson

2022-2023 SMD Superintendent

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 11, 2022

Division members met in-person at the home of Jeff Grove near Maugansville, MD.  16 or so were present. After viewing the layout, admiring Jeff’s great models, and socializing, the Superintendant welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order at 2:30 p.m.

22.121​ Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance was $3,457.91 (the same as last month).

22.12-2​ Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by e-mail): however there was discussion of a necessary revision:  the date for the Mini-Con was incorrect and should be changed to April 8 2023.  (See item 22-10.5 below.) With that change and per Roberts Rules of Order, the draft minutes, as revised, were approved by acclamation.

22-12.3SMD Superintendent Bob Johnson thanked Jeff Grove for hosting. Jeff informed attendees that his layout is only 3 years old. He has a crew of guys who come and work on it with him every Wednesday. Jeff says that downsizing to a smaller house was a good, not great, idea and that we should all do it.

22-12.4​ A review of the division organization:  There are three elected officials. The Superintendent is Bob Johnson. The Paymaster is Ray Price. The Clerk is Harvey Heyser. Other volunteers perform other roles for the division.

Old Business:  

22-10.5 Mini-Con 2023:   Because of conflicts with the availability of the meeting hall, the Mini-Con date is set for the second Saturday in April April 8, 2023 – the day before Easter.

22-11.4​ SMD Summer Trip in 2023:  The Superintendent reported that the Division trip to the EBT will need to be in July due to the tour leaders being out of town in June. The exact date is still to be determined. This visit will include a visit to Robertsdale where the FEBT Museum will be opened for the Division. The walking tour, handcar and, hopefully, railbike rides should all be available. The group will then go to Orbisonia/Rockhill Furnace where activities will include; shop tours, trolley rides and a ride on the EBT. By that time, the EBT should be using steam engine #16 to pull the trains.

New Business:  

22-12.4​ Annual dues for the NMRA:  The new amount of $68 makes you a member at the national, regional, and the divisional levels.  SMD members in attendance seemed happy enough with that.

22-12.5​ New Monthly Newsletter:  Editor Alex Polimeni reported that starting 1/1/23 the newsletter will be emailed to everyone. If you have content, modeling notes, news, announcements etc., please send them to Alex so he can get them into the newsletter.  (The implication was that the newsletter will be electronic – not printed or mailed by USPS.)

2212.6 Membership Roster:  In response to a question from the floor, the Superintendent replied that there are plans for that. The first step is for all division members to be contacted to see if they will allow their contact information to appear in such a roster. Once that is established, the roster will be created and sent to the members.

22-12.7 Jay Beckham brought a large number of videos with him to give away – free to any good homes!

Adjournment:  The Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting on Sunday,January 8, 2023 will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Steve King’s home near Fayetteville, PA.  Members will be reminded by e-mail.

Notes for the Minutes taken by Pete Clarke and formatted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Jeff Grove spoke in detail on the topic of laser cutting (which he uses to produce his Carolina Craftsmen Kits line of structure kits).  The presentation was augmented by Jay Beckham’s comments on his personal experiences with laser cutting.