From the Desk of the Superintendant

From Superintendent Bob Johnson…

Mini-Con 2024

A big thank you to everyone who participated in the annual SMD Mini-Con at Blue Ridge Summit in April. In my opinion the event ran very smoothly. A special shoutout to Grant Berry for again taking the lead on this ever-popular event. 

Mini-Con 2024.
Bob Johnson looks at a locomotive at his brass loco tuneup table.
John Pursell, D.M.A. talking about improving structures.
Dave Thalman talks about basic scenery forms.
Frank Benenati talks about making wire tree armatures for dioramas and detail scenes.
Maryland T-Trak.
Ken Mazer talks about fast tracks turnouts.

This year’s attendance was just about the same as last year. We still have not returned to the kind of numbers that we were seeing before the great COVID lock-down but those that attended seemed to be having a good time. Assuming we hold the event again next year I have some ideas for increasing the pre-event publicity that may help attendance.

Election of Officers

We will be “electing” the division officers at the May meeting.

The candidates are as follows:

  • Superintendent (president) – Bob Johnson
  • Clerk (secretary) – Alex Polimeni
  • Paymaster (treasurer) – Ray Price

These are the only elected positions in the Division. There are numerous other unofficial positions (see listing at end of the Wheel Report).

Please note that I have already announced that I will not serve again for the 2025 / 2026 program year, and Alex has stepped up to serve as Clerk, simply because no one else has volunteered. If we cannot get some new candidates for officers for the 2025 / 2026 we will be forced to declare the division inactive.

Summer Activity Planning

At a previous meeting we discussed the possibility of setting up a group trip on the Western Maryland Scenic out of Cumberland. The big draw there is of course C&O engine 1309. Unfortunately, I have been informed that the 1309 is currently out of service due to a cylinder issue. We will discuss this more at the upcoming meeting.

FYI, EBT number 16 is also out of service due to a cracked driver hub. It is not a good time for steam in our area.

Mid-Eastern Region Convention Planning

We have been officially asked to host the 2027 MER convention. Assuming we are still an active division I can see no reason not to do so. Under the current convention protocols the MER handles a significant portion of the work involved. I would like to form a small (3 to 4 people) exploratory committee to investigate available facilities, possible prototype tour activities, etc. If you would like to participate in this endeavor please contact me as soon as possible.

For details about the 2024 convention visit, <>.

Wheel Report Feature Articles

As previously noted, Alex Polimeni is now working with Division members (and others) to develop feature articles, layout photo tours, written clinics, etc. to supplement the basic Wheel Report content. Please consider reaching out to him and providing content.

Remember, this is your Division and we are depending on you to support us and provide us with content for the Wheel Report. We will not be issuing a regular edition of the Wheel Report until August, so you have plenty of time to work something up.

All submissions will be published on

Email submissions to – Ed.

Author: smdnmra

South Mountain Division, Mid-Eastern Region, National Model Railroad Association