Draft Meeting Minutes – 9 October

Division members met in-person at the home of Superintendant Bob Johnson near Jefferson, MD.  16 or so were present, including the Superintendent, Paymaster, Newsletter Editor, and Mini-Con Coordinator.  After viewing the layout, the Superintendent welcomed everyone to the first in-home meeting since March 2020 at Jay Beckham’s and called the business meeting to order.

22.101Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance was $3,457.91 and confirmed that the SMD is still receiving approximately $40 from MER twice a year.  He also reported that the SMD account is now with Truist after a merger between BB&T and Suntrust.

22.10-2Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  In the Clerk’s absence, the Superintendent explainedwhy past meeting minutes had not yet been approved.

March meeting minutes:  the Superintendent asked for motion to approve the revised draft March meeting minutes.  Ron Polimeni made the following motion (second by Grant Berry):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the March 2022 meeting be approved as revised.  The motion carried.

May meeting minutes:  the Superintendent asked for motion to approve the revised draft Maymeeting minutes.  Grant Berry made the following motion (second by Ray Price):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the May 2022 meeting be approved as revised.  The motion carried.

September meeting minutes:  Per Roberts Rules of Order, the draft minutes, as submitted, were approved by acclamation.

22-10.3The SMD welcomed new member Mark R.

Old Business:  There were no items of old business discussed.

New Business:  

22-10.4A Planning Meeting held prior to the start of the meeting year.  The Superintendent reported that the decision was made to hold the September meeting by Zoom and that the remainder of the meetings would be in-person with the following hosts:  Bob Johnson to host October, Paul Mahoney to host November, Jeff Groves to host December, Steve King to host Jan, Pete & Jane Clarke to host February, Andrew Dodge to host March, no confirmed date for Mini-Con, and Rich Randall to host May.

22-10.5Mini-Con 2023:  Chair Grant Berry raised the issue of attendance dropping after lunch atpast Mini-Cons and suggested a revised schedule with informal clinics running through until noon followed by a roundtable / panel discussion with guests.  He asked for member input on the revised format.  A suggestion was made to pre-load the roundtable / panel discussion with starter audience questions determined beforehand.

Another suggestion was made to hold the raffle drawing after the roundtable / panel.

Chair Berry asked for membership to be considerate of Brian Wolfe’s support of the Mini-Con.

Mini-Con Finances:  Paymaster Ray Price reported that we earned $150 after expenses on the raffle last year (2022). Normally our only expenditures are the gift card for the raffle and morning coffee + donuts.

Modular Layouts:  The consensus was to invite layouts back if they wish to attend.

22-10.6Newsletter (Wheel Report):  Editor Alex Polimeni asked for input regarding format of newsletter.  He raised the possibility of publishing a larger, more conventional newsletter once or twice a year.  The Consensus of the discussion was to move to a monthly format, shrink newsletter size, and focus on highlighting the upcoming month’s events and presenters.  Editor Polimeni announced that first issue of new format will be December 2022.

22-10.7Hybrid Meetings:  Alex Polimeni requested input.  The consensus was that such meetings are doable but difficult.  He will investigate and attempt to implement options.

22-10.8Audit:  The Superintendent reported that an Audit Commission will be set up at the next officer’s meeting.

Adjournment:  The Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting on November 13, 2022 will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Paul Mahoney’s home in Frederick, MD.  It will be an in-person, face-to-face meeting.  Members will be reminded by e-mail.

Notes for the Minutes taken by Alex Polimeni and formatted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Bob Johnson presented a clinic on the concept of increasing layout realism by viewing the layout as a series of stages, utilizing concepts such as view blocking, viewing angles, scene exits (exit stage left) and forced perspective.

SMD Business Meeting – Sunday, 13 Nov

The monthly business meeting of the South Mountain Division will be held on Sunday, November 13th at Division member Paul Mahoney’s home. If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or believe you have been recently exposed, we kindly ask you not to attend; otherwise, all are welcome.
Please email the Division at southmountaindiv@gmail.com for the street address.
Activities are scheduled to start at 2pm. Following the business meeting will be a clinic on 3D printing. Minutes from last month’s meeting will be published  this Saturday, as well.
Hope to see you there!
Alex Polimeni Newsletter Editor, writing on behalf of the Superintendent

MER Joint Meet, 5 Nov.

The Potomac Division’s annual Joint Meet with James River will take place on Saturday,November5th at the Battlefield Baptist Church in Warrenton, Virginia, starting at 9 AM.
There will be door prizes, a white elephant table, model judging and a popular vote contest with the theme of Maintenance of Way (MoW) cars — coincidentally, also our Division’s Challenge category for the December-January Flyer issue. The centerpiece of the event will be clinics. The following are already scheduled:

Ken Wilson on Rolling Stock Brake Systems
Brian Sheron, MMR, on Making An Operational Grade Crossing Signal Norm Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher on Model Railroad Photography George Gaige on Building an Operating Water Tank
Phil Taylor on SoundTraxx Blunami
Ernie Little on Decoder Pro

Entry is free as is the parking. We will pass the hat to take up a donation for the church. Past donations from the Joint Meet have helped build a kids camp for inner city children and a feeding program for children in the U.S. and around the world.
The Church is located at 4361 Lee Highway in Warrenton.
There are also three layout open house visits scheduled in the afternoon:
Jim Rogers, Aldie, Virginia: Let’s call it the B&O Cheat River Sub. It is HO, point-to- point, Baltimore to Cincinnati (staging), with main yards in Grafton, WV and Clarksburg, WV. A papermill is served from the Clarksburg yard. The Charleston Sub goes from Grafton to Charleston, WV, where there is an interchange track with the NYC. There are 3 NYC trains coming from Toledo to service Charleston. We use card waybills and Dispatcher control of the main line.

Paul Buzby, Gainesville, Virginia: His HO layout from the late 1950’s to early 1960’s, covers the Southern Jersey region, including the Pennsylvania Reading/Seashore Line, the Pennsylvania RR, the Reading RR, and the Central Railroad of New Jersey (CNJ). The layout includes a 17-stall roundhouse with turntable, prototypical track layout of Camden passenger yard with kit bash of Allen Tower, heading south to a scratch-built tower of Newfield, then to Winslow’s kit bash tower, and finishing in Tuckahoe (with a scratch-built tower.Also, displaying an O-gauge layout with some vintage equipment, including an antique Lionel Train.

Marty McGuirk, Gainesville, Virginia: Marty’s HO scale model railroad is inspired by the Central Vermont Railway of the steam era.
Joint Meet Schedule – Potomac & James River Divs.

8:00 am — Set up for Staff, White Elephant tables, etc. 9:00 am — Open for Registration — Gym Entrance
9:20 am — Greeting and Announcements by Superintendents
Pastor Greeting, Prayer, Passing the Donations Bucket — Main Auditorium 9:40 am — Clinics, First Session
Room 106: Ken Wilson, Rolling Stock Brake Systems
Room 107: Brian Sheron, MMR, Making an Operational Grade Crossing Signal Room 111: Norm Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher, Model Railroad Photography
10:25 am — Break for Coffee and White Elephant Shopping — Gym 10:40 am — Clinics, Second Session
Room 106: Phil Taylor, SoundTraxx Blunami
Room 107: George Gaige, Building An Operating Water Tank Room 111: Ernie Little, Using Decoder Pro
11:25 am — Break for Coffee and White Elephant — Gym
11:45 am — Final Assembly — Main Auditorium
12:00 — Popular Vote Results, Raffle (Door Prizes), Closing — Main Auditorium 12:45-1 pm — Clean-up (volunteers) — Everywhere
1pm— OfftoLunch—OnYourOwn
1:30 pm-4 pm — Layout Visits

Here are short descriptions of the clinics:
Brian Sheron, MMR has a clinic on how to build an operational railroad grade crossing (automatically detects approaching train, starts crossbuck flashers and warning bell, lowers gates, and then automatically stops flashers and bell, and raises gates once last car passes the crossing). Included with this clinic is an operational HO scale model of a grade crossing that demonstrates how the gates work, how and where the detectors are located, and how everything is electrically connected.

George Gaige, who developed the prototype for the Broadway Limited Operating Water Tank will show you how to build your own in HO, though the process can be used in any scale. Come and see how to add interest and animation to your layout. This animation is useful for an operations-oriented layout to set the time for how long a water stop lasts during an Ops Session. The accompanying sounds add to the ambiance during the process.
Ernie Little, MMR has a clinic on the JMRI DecoderPro application. The clinic will cover the use of the JMRI DecoderPro application to program Digital Command Control decoders and will include a demonstration of the use of the application.

Ken Wilson’s clinic will provide participants with a clearer understanding of brake systems for both freight and passenger equipment. The way train brakes work, and what all the parts, pipes, and rods are will be demystified using diagrams and photos. Information will be provided to help modelers acquire the parts necessary to super detail cars, or at least upgrade older cars that only have minimal representation of brake equipment.

Philip Taylor’s clinic will focus on the new Soundtraxx Blunami — a device that marries a 2nd generation Bluetooth Radio Control Circuit to a Soundtraxx Tsunami 2 DCC Decoder. We will explore how this unique blend allows control and sound in straight DC, DCC and Dead Rail environments or if you choose some combination of the three options with or without a DCC Command System. There will be a demonstration of how to program the Bluenami and operate it using a phone or tablet with 2 to 3 locomotives.

“White Elephant” Sales Notes:
Who may sell:
Only NMRA members may conduct a sale in this White Elephant sale. Sellers may sell only railroad-related items (model or prototype).
Table Reservations:
Tables are 72” x 30”. Reservations must be requested no later than Wednesday, November 2. You can ask for more than one table.
Requests should be sent to Kenneth Montero by email to: va661midlo@comcast.net. Confirmation will be sent by Thursday, November 3. Questions: Call Ken Montero at 804-794-5704 and leave a message or by email.
Norm Reid & Jeffrey Fleisher will present a clinic on “Model Railroad
Photography”. In this clinic, you will learn how to compose effective photos, what equipment you may want to use, techniques for creating clear, in-focus photos and
videos, and some post-processing techniques to enhance your photos.

Sale staffing:
The member requesting one or more tables will have to staff his/her tables (set-up, sales, close-out), either alone or with the help of one or more fellow attendees. Sales:
Sellers will handle all aspects of their own sales.
Sellers are responsible for the security of items brought for sale.
Neither the James River Division, the Potomac Division or any of its members assisting with the sale accept any liability for items brought to the meet.
If away from one’s tables, such as during a clinic, a seller may want to use a table cloth to cover sales items to indicate the seller is away.
Sales Times:
The sales area will be closed during the opening and closing portions of the meet. Doors to the gymnasium will be closed.
It will be open before the opening portion, during clinics, and after the closing portion.
The sales area will remain open after the closing portion of the meet. Sellers arerequired to pack up any unsold items, then fold up and return to
storage all tables by 1:00 pm

October meeting (in-person)

The monthly meeting of the South Mountain Division (SMD) will be held on Sunday, October 9th, at Division superintendent Bob Johnson’s home.  This will be only the second in person meeting, and the first home meeting hosted by the division since February of 2020.  Obviously, if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently been exposed, we would ask you not to attend.  Otherwise, everyone is welcome.

Please email the Division at southmountaindiv@gmail.com for the street address and contact information.  Activities are scheduled to start at 2:00 PM but reasonably early arrivals are welcome.

For those of you not familiar with Bob’s layout, the West Virginia Midland is a central West Virginia shortline that connects with the B&O at Holly Junction and the Western Maryland at Laurel Bank.  The railroad started as a logging line in the early 1900’s and later expanded into hauling other bulk materials such as coal, coke and limestone.  There is also a small industrial area located in the town of Webster Springs.  In keeping with the origins of the railroad motive power is heavy on geared locomotives but there are also a small number of rod engines on line for hauling general freight.

The layout is completed in terms of track work and is approximately 90% sceniced.  The design emphasizes operations and typically operates using TT&TO with a 10 person crew.

Following the business meeting Bob will present a clinic on the concept of increasing layout realism by viewing the layout as a series of stages utilizing concepts such a s view blocking, viewing angles, scene exits (exit stage left) and forced perspective.

If the weather is good (read dry) Bob asks that you enter the layout room through the outside basement door.  If it is wet entry will be by the front door.  Signs will be posted on the day of the meeting to direct you.

Let’s have a good turnout for our first live meeting of the year.

Bob Johnson
Superintendent, South Mountain Division

SMD Draft Meeting Minutes 11 September

Draft Meeting MinutesSeptember 11, 2022

Division members met remotely on the internet using the Zoom platform.  14 or so were present.  In Superintendent Bob Johnson’s absence, past Superintendent Alex Polimeni chaired the meeting.  Heopened the Zoom session prior to the published start time for logging in and sharing.  

During the lead-up to the meeting, the following was shared:

The Superintendent was visiting the Grand Canyon.
Don Florwick reported that he has converted his passenger car fleet to heavy-weights with 6-wheel trucks – more appropriate for the era and region of his railroad.  He thanked Bob Johnson and Dottie Polimeni for assistance in working out track kinks to make the new cars run reliably.
The Four County Society will not be setting up for the Timonium fall show as they work on the modules in preparation for future displays.
Chair Polimeni apologized for not forwarding the draft minutes and made an informal posting using Zoom features.

The Chair called the business meeting to order at about 2:30 pm.  

22.91Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance was $3,507.91. That balance does not reflect the $50 contribution to the Greencastle High Line Station Fundauthorized by motion at the May meeting (Item # 22.5-6).  The Paymaster requested forwarding information.  It was not clear whether the balance reflected payment for the 2022-23 Zoom renewal ($157.40).

22.9-2Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  As mentioned above, members were not able to review the draft minutes prior to the meeting.  In addition, the Chair reported the Superintendent’s plan to handle the minutes in a different manner.  As a result, approval of draft minutes was deferred until the October meeting.  Clerk Harvey Heyser requested member feedback on several uncertain matters related to the March and May minutes.  Members shared the following:

March 2022 – During the Clerk’s Zoom disconnection, members approved the February 2022 draft minutes as submitted and focused on the Mini-Con during the following discussion.

May 2022 – The motion made to elect by acclimation was for the entire slate of officer candidates (not only for Superintendent).  No one else was running.

22-9.3Future Minutes:  The clerk indicated he is unlikely to be able to attend upcoming meetings in-person and requested assistance with note taking.  The Chair suggested the Clerk forward a list of his requirements for the notes and for electronic document transmission.  The Clerk will continue to formatthese notes into formal minutes.  The Clerk will be able to attend by Zoom or by phone – neither alternative entirely reliable for hearing group discussion in a larger space.  The Chair will investigate a microphone more suitable for the situation.

Old Business:  There were no items of old business discussed.

New Business:  

22-9.4A Planning Meeting was held prior to this regular membership meeting.  The Chair reported that

the Superintendent is excited about the coming year and has plans worked out for the year’s meetingsplans he will share in person.  With regard to clinics, Don Florwick suggested polling members on which subjects they are interested in learning about and which subjects they would be willing to present.

22-9-5Future Meetings:  September’s meeting hopefully will be the last remote meeting.  The schedule of hosts for face-to-face meetings is as follows (subject to confirmation):

October 2022 – Bob Johnson

November 2022 – Paul Mahoney

December 2022 – Jeff Grove

May 2023 – Rich Randall

Others who have indicated a willingness to host:  Andy Dodge and Pete & Jane Clarke.

22-9.6Wheel Report:  Editor Alex Polimeni reported his plans to publish the Fall 2022 issue soon and then to adjust the future publication schedule to better coordinate with future Mini-Cons.  It was noted that any increase in the number of issues will depend on additional submitted content.  A Modeler’s Corner with captioned photos was suggested.

22-9.7Mini-Cons (general):  The loss of audience for formal clinics after lunch was discussed and several suggestions were made: 1) extend time for the informal clinics into the afternoon, 2) run the activities through lunch time, especially if an on-site food option is available, 3) schedule a roundtable discussion for lunch to give informal clinicians a break, 4) finish the event about 2 p.m., and 5) schedule  a “heavy-weight” speaker to wrap-up things – suggestions;  Bob Geldmacher talking about scenery and someone speaking about decoder installation.

Publicity:  Don Florwick requested information more in advance of the event to account for magazine deadlines and to reach other NMRA Divisions (not possible in 2022 because of the late decision to hold the 2022 event).  He also repeated the need to reach a wider audience (parents with kids, for instance).

Food:  The 2022 vender had reasonable business.  Nearby Rouzerville has numerous options.

22-9.8An NMRA Alternative for Remote Meetings/Clinics:  As a way to save the SMD money, Harvey Heyser asked whether National has any plans.  Bob Morningstar will look into that.  Although hopefully this September meeting will be the last remote meeting, remote hobby hang-outs may happen.

22-9.9Bob Johnson’s Layout:  Harvey Heyser urged members to take a good look at Bob’s town of Diana, an excellent example of small layout design.

Adjournment:  The Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting on October 9, 2022 will be held at 2:00 p.m. at Bob Johnson’s home in Jefferson, MD.  It will be an in-person, face-to-face meeting.  Members will be reminded by e-mail.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

There was no clinic scheduled following the September business meeting.  The following was shared:

Andy Dodge filled members in on his small switchback layout (unfortunately too heavy to bring to a Mini-Con) and his new Proto-48 Maine Central basement layout.
As part of a discussion of turnout electrical problems, Rich Randall revealed that he has made his switching branch (only) dead-rail with dedicated battery powered locomotives.
Jack Fritz shared his uncertainty about the future of his layout and requested member feedback.  Jack prefers model building to layout troubleshooting.