From the Desk of the Superintendent

Robert “Bob” Johnson, Superintendent (2022-24)

After skipping the December meeting due to
the lack of a host we will be returning to our
regular meeting schedule for the rest of the
2023 – 2024 program year.

Believe it or not, it is already time to start thinking about the 2024 – 2025 program year. First up on planning for next year is the election of officers. Normally the slate of new officer candidates would be read at the March meeting and voted on during the April meeting. Since our annual mini-con meeting is always held in April we need to move that process up, read the slate during the February meeting and vote at the March meeting. Therefore, I am issuing a call for volunteers at this time to run for the positions of:

  • Superintendent (president)
  • Clerk (secretary)
  • Paymaster (treasurer)

These are the only elected positions in the division. There are numerous other unofficial positions who voluntarily serve at the pleasure of the Superintendent.
Not listed is the position of Assistant Superintendent. I would like to re-establish this position as both a back-up for the Superintendent and to serve as a membership coordinator.
If you would like to run for an elected position or be considered for one of the volunteer positions, please let me know before the February meeting.
Remember – this is your division, and your help is needed to make it work.

Draft Meeting Minutes – Oct/Nov 2023

Draft Meeting Minutes – October 8th 2023

Division members met in-person at the home of Larry Daily near Shepherdstown WV. Approximately 12 were present.  After admiring Larry’s layout and socializing, the Superintendent welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order around 3:00 p.m.

  • Paymaster’s Report:  Alex Polimeni reported on Ray Price’s behalf that the SMD bank balance remained unchanged at $3,669.71.
  • Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The September meeting minutes were never distributed and thus could not be approved by motion or acclimation.
  • Superintendent Bob Johnson thanked Larry Daily for hosting.

Old Business:

  • Superintendent Bob Johnson congratulated Larry Daily on a superb layout and supporting website, specifically recognizing his faithful replication of a prototype railroad. Larry is new to the Division and opted to host his second ever meeting.
  • Bob Johnson raised the issue that the Division is still paying for a ZOOM subscription with no plans to resume using it; suggest he may call a board meeting to decide what to do with the account.
  • Bob Johnson stated that we still do not have hosts for November, December or January meetings without returning to a host we visited last year. Suggestion was made to reach out to Paul Mahoney to host.
  • Concern was also raised that we have not typically had clinics after meetings, either. Grant Berry commented that it’s great practice for the Mini-Con.

New Business:

  • Bob again asked for volunteers as he’s looking for a membership coordinator to join the advisory committee. Their role would be to reach out to new members and those whose membership is about to expire.
  • Bob also asked for meeting host volunteers as November, December and January’s meetings do not have hosts.
  • Bob addressed the need to begin planning the Mini-Con. Grant Berry raised the concern that with Division member Brian Greenawalt’s passing, the Mini-Con will need a new volunteer to handle the Make and Take clinic.
  • A question was raised about a projector; Bob clarified that we have a projector screen but not a projector, as the Division’s projector disappeared with former Superintendent Jerry Skeim’s passing. Discussion about purchasing a replacement was shelved as Bob volunteered his projector and other members said they can provide a projector if needed.


The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn around 4:00pm. The next meeting will be at Steve King’s home near Waynesboro, PA.

Draft Meeting Minutes – November 12th, 2023

Division members met in-person at the home of Steve King near Waynesboro, PA.  Approximately 11 were present.  After admiring Steve’s layout and socializing, the Superintendent welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order around 2:50 p.m.

  • Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance is now $3,910.71 after a deposit of $241.00 by the Superintendent. (?)
  • Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The October meeting minutes were never distributed and thus could not be approved by motion or acclimation.
  • Superintendent Bob Johnson thanked Steve King for hosting.

Old Business:

  • Superintendent Bob Johnson updated the attendees that he’s found and contacted a printer for the SMD brochures and will have a price by the next meeting.
  • Bob updated attendees that we still do not have a December meeting host, but all other meetings have been accounted for. Bob called again for volunteers and stated that if we cannot find a host for the December meeting, it may be cancelled.
  • The idea was presented that SMD has organized a membership Christmas dinner at a restaurant in years past. Discussion followed with Hagerstown presented as a central location for the Division.
  • Alex Polimeni acknowledged failure to distribute the previous Minutes.
  • Bob Johnson again appealed for a volunteer to join the Division advisory committee as membership coordinator.

New Business:

  • Superintendent Bob Johnson informed attendees that he received an email from SMD member Gary Snook that Gary has a decal printer capable of printing white, and is happy to work with Division members who could make use of it.
  • Bob also heard from long time Division member Reginald Bowman who is giving away a 50 year archive of model railroading magazines. Members are asked to follow up with Bob if interested; these will be trashed if not re-homed.
  • Bob informed attendees that currently elected SMD clerk Harvey Heyser has informed the Advisory Committee that he has no plans to attend meetings through the ’23-’24 year. Bob would like to ask for volunteers for Clerk, either to complete the remainder of the ’23-’24 year or to run for office in the ’24-’25 year.


The Superintendent accepted a motion to adjourn around 4pm, and asked host Steve King to speak about his railroad, who elaborated on how this was the fifth iteration of the Virginia Midland, and the first to be built free-standing. Steve has been adding more scenery to the layout and hosting regular operating sessions, and invited attendees and SMD members at large to participate in.

This was followed by a wonderful presentation about traction railroading of all sizes by new(ish) SMD member Grant.

There is no host for the December meeting at the time of these minutes, but the January meeting will be hosted by Dave Thalman near Winchester, VA.

November Meeting

Our November SMD membership meeting will be held on Sunday, 12 November, starting at 2:00 PM. For this meeting we will be making a return visit to Steve King’s “N” scale Virginia Midland railroad. Steve’s railroad recalls both the N&W and the Virginian Railroads, featuring heavy coal operations in the mountains of Southwest Virginia and surrounding areas.

Steve resides in Fayetteville, PA (yes – that is two houses down the street from Don Florwick’s home, whom we visited in September.). Please email the Division leadership at for his street address.

Grant Harrison will be presenting a clinic on the lighter side of railroading (traction/trolleys) that addresses both prototype and modeling considerations. This topic couples nicely with the Division’s visit to the Trolley museum in Rock Hill this past summer.

Reminder, SMD membership meetings are always the 2nd Sunday of the month at 2PM. The only exceptions are for April, when the Mini-Con replaces our business meeting, and in May, which will take place one week later, on the 3rd Sunday.

From the Desk of the Superintendent

Robert “Bob” Johnson, Superintendent (2022-24)

First, I want to thank Larry Daily for hosting the October SMD meeting. Larry is a new member and stepped up right away by hosting. Larry’s layout is one of the few photo- realistic layouts I have ever seen. He is modeling a specific place and time, and many of the scenes on the layout are documented by photos of the actual locations which confirm his skill in recreating these scenes in miniature.

We still need a host for the December 2023 membership meeting. All of the rest of the 2023/2024 meeting venues have been spoken for. If you can host us in December please let me know as soon as possible. We are also looking for volunteers to present clinics at a number of the meetings. These mini-clinics add interest to the meetings and provide additional value to those attending. Any railroad prototype and/or modeling topic is fair game for a clinic. You don’t need to develop a “professional” presentation so don’t worry about your presentation skills.

Finally, we are looking for one or more volunteers to join the SMD management team. One position I would like to fill is a membership coordinator. This position’s duties would include new member recruiting efforts and welcoming new members to the Division. Again, if you think you might be interested let me know.

Draft Meeting Minutes – May/Sep 2023

Draft Meeting Minutes – 21 May 2023

There was no SMD business meeting in April because the Division hosted its annual Mini-Con.

Division members met in-person at the home of Rich Randall near Gettysburg, PA.  11 or so were present. After admiring Rich’s steadily progressing layout and socializing, the Superintendent welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order at 3 p.m.

235.1​  Paymaster’s Report:  [The notes taken made no mention of the Paymaster’s report.]

235.2 Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): The attendees dispensed with the reading/summary of the minutes (previously distributed by e-mail). As there were no comments or corrections, per Roberts Rules of Order, the draft minutes, as submitted, were approved by acclamation.

235.3​  Superintendent Bob Johnson thanked Rich Randall for hosting.

23-5.4​  The SMD welcomed new member Grant Harrison, just moved from Denver.

23-5.5  Election – The Superintendent apologized for losing sight of the timing of the nomination process and reported that the three present officers have all indicated a willingness to serve another term.  Andrew Dodge made the following motion (second by John Madden):

Motion:  That the bylaws be suspended and the current officer slate be re-elected.  The motion passed unanimously.

Old Business:  

22-10.5​  Mini-Con 2023 Paymaster Ray Price reported the event was successful with over 100 in attendance.  Monroe Stewart won $150 door prize.

In light of the Mini-Con’s success, there was a suggestion that the SMD hold a similar winter event.  After discussion, it was concluded that would be too big an obligation.

22-11.4  SMD Summer Trip in 2023:  The Superintendent reported on plans for an EBT tour: Organizers Jane and Pete Clarke have proposed Friday the 21st or 28th of July because Fridays are less crowded. Grant Berry observed that the Friday date largely limits attendees to retirement age.

Proposed schedule:  

  • 10am – Beginning,
  • 11:30am – Catered lunch of pizza,
  • 1pm – Guided shop tour,
  • 3pm – A ride behind #16 followed by a ride on the trolley, and
  • 4pm – Conclusion

A Division member’s personal cost will be $45.  Guests are welcome.  The Superintendent advised that everyone buy their tickets in advance.

Alex Polimeni made the following motion (second by Stefan Minne):

Motion:  That the Division pay for the EBT lunch (approx $100 from Division coffers). The motion passed unanimously.

The Superintendent would like to aggressively promote the EBT tour.

New Business:

23-5.6​  Hosts for 2020 meetings:  8 will be needed.  John Madden, Andrew Dodge, Stef Minne, Rich Randall indicated their availability.  Bob Johnson potentially will be available also.  The superintendent wants the schedule established as early as possible.

Rich Randall suggested doing a barbeque meeting at his place; Andrew Dodge suggested a scheduling it for a September or October date to re-engage members.

23-5.7​  “Reversing the trajectory” of the Division due to COVID era decline:  Andrew Dodge observed that participation in the division has remarkably declined and suggested brainstorming directed towards reinvigorating the Division.

23-5.8​  Newsletter tardiness:  Editor Alex Polimeni apologized and indicated he plans a retrospective for the past season and then to return to a monthly format in September. Andrew Dodge suggested a Q&A section to share members’ expertise publicly.

23-5.9​  Mainline Hobbies Fall Open House:  An advertisement is needed in Wheel Report.

23-5.10​  There was a discussion of SMD territory.

23-5.11​  Zoom meeting with a special guest.:  Andrew Dodge reported on the James River Division event.

Adjournment:  The Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting will be scheduled for the second Sunday in September.  Members will be notified by e-mail of the place and date.  The division does not schedule regular meetings in June, July, or August.

Notes for these Minutes were taken and transcribed by Wheel Report Editor Alex Polimeni; formatting by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Draft Meeting MinutesSeptember 10, 2023

Division members met in-person at the home of Don Florwick near Fayetteville, PA.   17 or so were present. After admiring Don’s extensive layout and socializing, the Superintendent welcomed everyone and called the business meeting to order.

239.1​  Paymaster’s Report:  Paymaster Ray Price reported the SMD bank balance was $3,669.71.  The last expense was EBT pizza for $50.  The Superintendent stressed SMD’s lack of revenue.

239.2  Clerk’s Report (Meeting Minutes): Because of a failure to get notes taken at the May meeting, there were no draft minutes to review.  The Clerk hopes they will be available for the October meeting.

239.3​  Superintendent Bob Johnson thanked Don Florwick for hosting.

23-9.4​  The SMD welcomed new members Larry Daily (from Shepherdstown), Dan Mulhearnfrom Waynesboro, and another new member from Waynesboro.

23-9.5​  The Superintendent reviewed the SMD’s customary schedule:

  • Monthly meetings usually are held at members homes from September through May (except for April because of the Mini-Con) on the second Sunday of each month (except for May – third Sunday because of Mother’s Day).
  • The meetings start at 2pm with a layout tour followed by a business meeting and a clinic (if available) – The SMD is always looking for clinicians; please contact the Superintendent to volunteer.
  • The April gathering is the open to all modelers Mini-Con held in conjunction with Mainline Hobbies in Blue Ridge Summit, PA.

Old Business:  

22-11.4  SMD Summer Trip in 2023:  The Superintendent reviewed the day, and Rich Randall praised the Robertsdale mine tour given by Pete Clarke.

23-5.6​  Division picnic:  Following up on Rich Randall suggestion, there were several suggestions of a picnic as a Division activity.  No action was taken.

New Business:

23-9.6​  Keeping current with membership:  The Superintendent reminded all to renew and to update e-mail addresses.

23-9.7​  Hosts for the upcoming November, December, and January meetings are needed. Please contact the Superintendent.

23-9.8​  SMD hosting a MER Regional Convention (the main way of raising revenue in the past):  The last one hosted by the SMD was 2005 in Hagerstown.

23-9.9​  SMD brochures:  The batch printed before COVID are getting low.  There was sentiment expressed for getting another batch printed because the Division needs exposure.  The consensus was for the Superintendent to get a price.

23-9.10  Volunteers:  The Superintendent requested a volunteer for membership coordinator to reach out to new members and possibly for a new Clerk/Secretary [given that the current Clerk has not been at any face-to-face meetings in years.]

23-9.11​  COVID concerns were expressed (considering the new strain circulating).  The consensus was that common sense is for those especially worried to use N95 masks.

23-9.12​  Items of Interest:

  • The Shay at Kinneyman’s
  • A steam tractor ice cream machine
  • MER 2023 convention in Altoona – The hotel is sold out.

Adjournment:  The Superintendant accepted a motion to adjourn.  The next meeting will be scheduled for the Sunday, October 8 at 2:00 p.m. at Larry Daley’s home in Shepherdstown, WV.  Larry has a small layout based on the Piedmont Sub of the Chesapeake and Ohio, started in 2016 and 2/3rd’s scenicked.  (Larry notified everyone that US Route 340 is closed for maintenance and recommended using an alternative route across the Potomac River.)  Members will be reminded by e-mail.

Notes for these Minutes were taken and transcribed by Wheel Report Editor Alex Polimeni; formatting by Clerk Harvey Heyser

Following the meeting, host Don Florwick thanked everyone for coming, gave a history of his time in the hobby, and explained how this railroad came to be.