Draft Meeting Minutes – December 8, 2018

Division members met at Frank Benenati’s home.  15 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

South Mountain Division

Mid-East Region – National Model Railroad Association

Draft Meeting Minutes – December 8, 2018

Division members met at Frank Benenati’s home.  15 or so were present.  After viewing the layout and socializing, Superintendent Alex Polimeni called the business meeting to order.

Reports:  Note that the order of the reports has been adjusted to conform to their order during recent meetings.

18.12-1 Paymaster’s Report:  As the Paymaster was not present, there was no report.

18.12-2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes):  Clerk Harvey Heyser summarized the draft minutes.  There was general agreement that item #18.10-7 Change of date and/or time of SMD meetings should be corrected as follows:  “There was discussion but no agreement to change the meeting start time.  The social portion of the meetings will continue to start at 2 p.m.  The Superintendent will call the business portion of the meeting to order shortly after that (by 2:30 p.m.) to facilitate finishing business and clinics early enough for those traveling a long way to leave before sundown.”

Jane Clarke made the following motion (seconded by Pete Clarke):

Motion:  That the draft Minutes for the May 2018 meeting be approved as corrected.  The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:

18.10-4 2019 Mini-Con:  Date:  Saturday, April 13, 2019.  Location: Blue Ridge Fire Company, Blue Ridge, PA.  Chair Pete Clarke (ebtmx5@aol.com) summarized arrangements to date:

a. Registration:  Volunteers lined up.  It was suggested to make the sign-in sheet digital to obtain more usable information about attendees.

b. Informal clinics:  Some spaces are still available.  (One suggestion:  working on a model has gotten very positive response in the past.)

c. Hands-on clinics:  Mainline Hobbies has donated DPM kits, and Jeff Grove has donated Carolina Craftsman laser kits.

d. Formal clinics (afternoon):  1) Jeff Grove – laser technology, 2) Ira Silverman – Canadian railroading, and 3) Alex Pollimeni – model railroad operations as game design.  The Chair reported having been contacted by a visitor from England offering to compare and contrast modeling in England and the U. S.  Members expressed concern that the afternoon sessions will stretch too long limiting attendance for the formal clinics and cutting take-down time for modular layouts.  It was suggested that the visitor be invited to give his clinic at a regular meeting.

e. Dealer tables:  1) Larry Nyce – railroadiana, 2) Grant Berry, and 3) Jeff Grove – Carolina Craftsman.

f. Modular layouts:  Looking for an additional new group.  Contact Chair Clarke.

g. Raffle – $150 gift certificate to Mainline Hobbies.

h. Door prize – $50 gift certificate to HobbyTown, Frederick.

i. SMD brochure to hand out – suggested.  (The 4 County group has had success with theirs.)

j. Participation by other clubs and groups welcome.

18.10-5 Web Site:  A blog feature has been added to the SMD web site.  If members forget the address, a link has been added from the NMRA site.  NMRA National has been encouraging divisions to have a greater web presence.

18.11-6 Future notices and updates from the officers will originate from an SMD e-mail address rather than a personal account.  With this change, Superintendent Pollimeni expressed concern some members may not receive his e-mail blasts.  He requested any member not getting notices to contact him at southmountaindiv@gmail.com

18.11-7 Operating Session at Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad (Gainesville VA):  Don Florwick reported there were a few crew spots still open for this TT/TO session (scheduled for Thursday 1-17-19 – snow date Tuesday 1-22-19).  SMD members interested in participating should contact Don Florwick by e-mail:   donflorwick@gmail.com

(As of 12-27-18, Don reported the crew list full.  Contact him to get on the extra board in case of cancellations.)

New Business:

18.12-3 Host Frank Benenati welcomed everyone to his HO scale Western Maryland themed railroad.

18.12-4 MER Convention Registrar:  A volunteer is needed immediately.

18.12-5 Holiday train displays:  – Winchester Model Railroad Club (B&O freight house, Winchester, VA)

– 4 County Model Railroad Club modular display (Westminster MD Mall)

18.12-6 Contacting Mini-Con attendees:  Several people pointed out this is one of the primary purposes of the Mini-Con.  Further discussion will be scheduled for the January regular meeting. 

Adjournment:  The Chair accepted a motion to adjourn.  Notice of the next SMD meeting will be communicated to the members.

Minutes submitted by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Frank Benenati was not able to demonstrate using Decoder-Pro and a Sprogg to re-program DCC engines because of a technical glitch (Murphy again), but he held a lively discussion with those present.

Winchester Model Railroad Club

I’ve been asked by Andy Arnold of the Winchester Model Railroad Club to relay the following message. If you’re unfamiliar, the WMRRC occupies a renovated freight house in Winchester, VA, and is easily accessible from both I-81 and Rt. 7. 

After 30+ years, it looks like the Winchester Model Railroad Club is about to lose its lease.  If that happens, we will have 30 days to dismantle the layout and strip the building to the walls.  We are actively pursuing space for a new layout and other options. We don’t expect to disband the club.

We already have open house events scheduled:

    •       Sunday, Dec 23, from 1:00 to 4:00
    •       Monday, Dec 31, from 6:00 to 10:00 (part of Winchester’s First Night event)

These will probably be the last two chances to see our layout before we dismantle it. We are located at 430 N. Cameron St, Winchester, VA.  You can find us on the web at wmrrc.org .

Directions from the WMRRC website are…

    • Set your GPS to 430 N. Cameron St., Winchester.


    • Take Exit 313 (Route 50 West) off of I-81

    • Follow Rt. 50W in to Winchester 

    • Turn right onto South Cameron Street

    • South Cameron becomes North Cameron at the center of town

    • Proceed to the brick CSX Freight Building on right side of street

Attached photo is from WMRRC’s Facebook page. Tearing down a layout is always a great loss, and doubly so for a long-standing landmark like the Winchester club.

Alex Polimeni


Bunker Hill Train Club Open House

The Bunker Hill Train Club 30×60’ HO scale model railroad layout, with over 7 miles of track and multiple trains running at one time, will be open to the public on 15 December, 2018 (10AM – 4PM) & 16-December, 2018 (12PM – 4PM). The club has railroad artifacts, memorabilia, and a B&O wagon-top caboose. Light refreshments will be available.

Bunker Hill Train Club

1298 Sam Mason Rd

Bunker Hill, WV 25413


MER convention registrar needed

MER VP Kurt Thompson, asking for volunteers to take over as Convention Registrar, effective immediately. Please read the job description per the MER Executive Handbook below.



Appointed by: President
Approved by: Board of Directors
Reports to: Executive Convention Chairman
Position Summary The MER Convention Registrar shall perform the normal registration duties associated with mounting an MER convention. The MER Convention Registrar is an integral member of the MER Convention Action Team (CAT) and works closely with the Local Convention Committee.
Principal responsibilities:Registration records: 1.Sets up and maintains suitable registration records for each convention, working closely with the Local Convention Committee and the MER Convention Treasurer and the Executive Convention Chairman; Registration form: 1. Designs and maintains a convention registration form, both print copy and web form, e.g. one version in Word and another as a pdf file, with input from the Local Convention Committee and approved by the Executive Convention Chairman;2. Provides the registration form(s) to the Webmaster in a suitable electronic format; 3. Provide to Editor of The Local a registration form for inclusion with the ballot and as needed for printing in The Local; 4. Updates the registration form regularly working closely with the Local Convention Committee, and provide updated forms to the Webmaster and editor of The Local.
Individual registrations: 1. Directs all registrations to his office and manages all registrations, both prior to the convention and at the door, 2. Deposits all funds received in the registration process in the bank account for that convention and account to the Convention Treasurer for these funds, Registration Packages: 1. Creates and is responsible for the basic registration packages for all convention attendees, 2. Coordinates with the Local Convention Committee and the ECC for registration inserts, 24 Accounting: 1. Makes all deposits from registrations or other sources in a timely manner, 2. After the conclusion of a convention, transfers all financial records to the Convention Treasurer, 3. Acts as a back-up for the MER Convention Treasurer (or may also be the MER Convention Treasurer), (deleted 10/4/2018) Statistics: 1. Tracks the registration statistics of the convention, working with the MER Convention Treasurer. Provides the Executive Convention Chairman, the MER Treasurer and the MER Vice-President a final registration statistical report.


Oregon Coast RR map

I’d like to relay a message from SMD member Don Florwick, letting you know he’s taking reservations for a January operating session on Mat Thompson’s Oregon Coast Railroad. The session is scheduled for Thursday, January 17th, with Tuesday, January 22nd as an alternate date in case of bad weather. It will be a daytime session, beginning at 10:30AM until around 2:30PM. 

This session is Time Table & Train Order, and folks interested in learning about TT&TO are encouraged to join the group. The session can accommodate up to 15 people, and Don will be keeping a standby list in case of cancellations. If you’d like to go, please contact Don Florwick directly at DJFlorwick@comcast.net to reserve a spot for this exciting event. If you’d like to know more about the railroad, please visit oregoncoastrr.potomac-nmra.org/