Carolina Special, 2022 MER Convention Update

Be sure to register soon as the registration cost goes up on September 1st!  Here are highlights of the latest Convention information.

The website has been updated several times since the last email I sent about this fun event. The 2022 MER convention website is http://www.carolinasouthern.org/MER2022.htmlwhere all the information you need can be found.

The Banquet will be a great meal with an exciting guest speaker, Shane Wilson, President of Scale Trains. Be sure to sign up.

There are Layout Operating Sessions and information on these can be found at:  http://www.carolinasouthern.org/MER2022tours.html

A full clinic schedule, with a broad range of exciting topics, with 4 Make-and-Take clinics of which three of these clinics are conducted in 2 sessions and information can be found at: http://www.carolinasouthern.org/MER2022clinics.html

We have three special tours before and during the convention.

Tour #201 is a pre-convention backstage tour being held at the North Carolina Transportation Museum at 1 Samuel Spencer Drive, Spencer NC.  Don’t worry about checking into the convention hotel until after the museum tour.  The private tour takes place on Thursday, October 20, 2022 starting at 12:30 pm.  Try to be in place at noon.  Information can be found at: http://www.carolinasouthern.org/2022%20Convention/NCTM%20Tour%20Notice-V3.pdf

And a map of the Museum grounds can be found at: http://www.carolinasouthern.org/2022%20Convention/NCTM%20Tour%20Map-r.jpg

After the tour you can visit The Little Choo Choo Shop, the largest model railroad hobby shop in NC across the street from the museum.

Tour #202: The second special tour is the UNIFOUR SPECIAL which includes the Southeast Narrow Gauge and Shortline Museum in Newton, NC and six very nice layouts in the Hickory, NC Metro Area. This is a Friday all-day mini-bus tour and will leave the convention hotel on Friday morning and return about dinnertime. Information on this tour can be found at: http://www.carolinasouthern.org/MER2022unifour.html

Tour #203:  The third special tour is of Lionel Corporation Headquarters. This will be a self-drive tour on Friday, October 21, 2022 starting at 9:30 am at 6301 Performance Drive, Concord, NC.  The Lionel Headquarters is approximately 5 miles from the convention hotel. 

 A Carolina Special Look South in 2022 convention shirt is now available to purchase during early registration.

One Day Registration is now an option.

We will have hand sanitizer in the clinic rooms and masks are welcome if someone feels safer wearing one.

For our friends in the Southeastern Region, a home layout in Greenville SC will be open on Sunday Oct 23 for our SER visitors returning home!

2022 MER Convention

From  Bob Halsey

  The next (and best) MER convention will be the Carolina Special Look South 2022 http://www.carolinasouthern.org/MER2022.html on October 20-23 next year – put those dates in your calendar!  Although the last two MER conventions (both in Maryland) were definitely top-quality events, the Carolina Southern Division is well into planning for 2022, and is ensuring that your trip to Charlotte, North Carolina, will be way more than worthwhile!  It will be downright memorable!

   We have already planned several tours, first:  on Oct. 20 to the North Carolina Transportation Museum (NCTM) in Spencer (the former main maintenance facility of the Southern Railway, including the huge backshop, large roundhouse and turntable, many historic locomotives, railcars, automobiles, firetrucks, and airplanes.  You can get a ride on one of NCTM’s own passenger trains (pulled by one of their ex-Southern diesels), and if we are lucky we may get to see an impressive visitor – the N&W 611 large 4-8-4 steam locomotive, which comes to Spencer from Roanoke for regular maintenance.  We will also offer a tour of the National Narrow Gauge Museum and Restoration Facility in Newton, where they have several old and not-so-old railcars and locomotives (steam and diesel).  The museum not only has the original fully-restored passenger/freight station, but a separate building with several large O, HO, and N gauge layouts.  We are also arranging a tour of the Lionel Corporation’s development center in Concord to see their latest projects (O and HO).

   Of course, we are going to have the usual elements for a successful convention: many clinics (including some you have not seen before!), a company store (formerly “white elephant” room), and the contest room.  As a judge (“evaluator”) at the last two conventions, I can say that many of the dioramas and rolling stock were not just super-detailed, they were true works of art!

   And we will have many layout tours available to visit (too many to list here) including Jack Parker’s Piedmont & Western (HO mountain railroad) and Seth Gartner’s NYC Piney Fork Branch (with its large detailed steel mill).  Both of these were subjects of 2018 cover articles in Model Railroader magazine.  Also Ed Smith’s Erie Railroad (with its amazing 10-arch viaduct bridge), Neal Anderson’s basement-filling KKL Railroad, and a number of excellent N gauge layouts.

   This spectacular convention will be held at the University Hilton in north Charlotte (just off I-485), with a reduced room rate for convention attendees.  Although we are not ready to accept registrations (will be soon), our website www.carolinasouthern.org will contain convention details. We have a very interesting Saturday evening banquet speaker lined up – again, more details soon!

    For non-modeler attendees (spouses and future adults) there are a number of local attractions:  the Mint Art Museum, US National Whitewater Center (whitewater rafting, zip lines, hiking trails), Discovery Place Museum, Duke Energy Explorium, Charlotte Aviation Museum (at the airport), Billy Graham Library and Museum (very interesting!), Charlotte Motor Speedway (you can get really fast rides in NASCAR race cars driven by professional drivers), Concord Mills Mall (it’s a big one), and evening dinner cruises on Lake Norman, plus many good restaurants in the area.  I have done all of these things!   

Vote now: MER-NMRA – 2021 MER Director Election

Mid-Eastern Region

The MER is holding the MER-NMRA 2021 MER Election of Directors.

The voting deadline is Aug 31 2021 11:30 pm Eastern Time (US & Canada).

The Region is using an online election system to tabulate votes. SMD members should have been emailed and assigned a unique access key that can only be used to vote once, keeping voting choices anonymous. Do not forward the email. Do not reply to the email to vote, as votes will not be registered.

If you have election questions, feedback, or if you are unable to make the electronic Ballot work, please contact Howard Oakes (business@mer-nmra.com) and he will send you a paper Ballot.

Jay Beckham’s open house 12 December

Mark your calendar. Jay Beckham is having an open house at his Berkeley Springs, WV,    O scale, 2-rail layout on 12 December from 1 to 5 PM. A mask and physical distancing are required to visit his 60’ x 30’ layout, based on the Pennsylvania Railroad. The layout operates with NCE DCC and C/MRI CTC signaling.

Jay and his crew have done a lot of work this year. Find Jay online at jaysoscalelayout.blogspot.com and see more of the recent progress on his layout at the SMD Facebook page. If you plan to visit, private message Jay on Facebook with your name, scale you model, and city where you live. Or send an email to the SMD at southmountaindiv@gmail.com and we will put you in touch with Jay.

ALERT – MER email SCAM

Mid-Eastern Region

By Kurt Thompson, MMR, President, Mid-Eastern Region, NMRA, Inc.

November 10, 2020

My fellow Mid-Eastern Region members:

It is November and we are approaching the holiday season which is a time of happiness and celebration and gift-giving. Sadly, someone is practicing to be the Grinch and is trading on the good name of the Mid-Eastern Region and me, as your President.

The MER has been struck by a scamming artist. The person has taken all the email addresses on the MER website and then masquerading as me, asked almost all the MER staff and the Division Superintendents to buy gift cards in support of a charitable cause. The culprit makes it sound very convincing. So much so that several members have called me and others have emailed me to verify the email as spam.

I will not forward the email here. Suffice to say, the closing salutation is incorrect and doesn’t carry my usual ending. Also the reply email address is not my official email address at all. When in doubt, let your mouse hover over the email address and look at the actual return address. It should be president@mer-nmra.com. If it’s not from the email address, it is not from me!!!

As President of the MER, I will never ask you to purchase gift cards or donate money to a cause, other than your donation to the MER itself. The MER is a 501(c)3 organization which means we can accept donations and they can be treated as a tax benefit to the donor. The MER does not make donations outside the organization.

The MER will take measures to strengthen the security of information on the website. 

If you ever receive an email purportedly from me as the President of the Mid-Eastern Region that asks you to purchase and mail gift cards, please stop and consider the nature of the request. It will be fraudulent. If you still question or feel that there may be some truth to the request in the email, feel free to call me on my cell phone which is listed on the MER webpage and in the NMRA Magazine.

If I don’t answer the phone call immediately, please leave me a message and DO NOT make any purchases based on the email. I will call you back within 24 hours. No purchase has to be made in haste that waiting 24 hours will cause the world to fail.

Wishing you a happy holiday season. May you and yours enjoy it.