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The ninth annual Model Railroading University, sponsored by the Carolina Southern Division, National Model Railroading Association, was held on Saturday January 17, 2015. We had approximately 75 model railroaders who came from as far away as Georgia and some as close as just down the street. Our clinicians offered courses beginning with Basic Model Railroading all the way up to how to wire and control LEDs for signals on your railroad. Three NMRA Master Model Railroaders were on hand to teach, answer questions, and judge models participants brought in for the NMRA Achievement Program. The Train Doctor was a big success again this year! Once again, the CSD was blessed to have the Northside Baptist Church made available for our use.
RMU Acting Superintendent Larry Paffrath and RMU Registrar Roy Becker greeted attendees as they arrived and oriented them on the day's activities.
It wasn't long before Dick Beck and Bob Wessmiller had The Train Doctor open for business, diagnosing RR equipment problems in all scales. Some minor repairs were accomplished, however, diagnosis and evaluation was the primary purpose of this opportunity.
Some presenters shared the same room. Each of them using that room for one period of the day. Here Neal Anderson, Ty Brown and Roy Becker are working with each other in preparation for the day's classes.
Out timetable required 1st period classes to get started at 9am and like any railroad worth it's stock, we had to get rolling. Ty Brown led off and covered Static Grass Start to Finish. He demonstrated how to make a static grass applicator and then use that applicator to show how various sizes of grass can be added to your railroad. The attendees in this class show their rapt attention, which was typical of all the classes during the day.
Doug Algire presented Basic Model Railroading, taking attendees through the basic terminology, common scales, basic layout considerations, and suggestions for getting started. This class was designed for the person who may have gotten a trainset or some equipment for Christmas and were thinking "now what?"
Prototypical Operations were covered by Seth Gartner and Marcus Neubacher. Marcus talked about Realistic Model Railroad Operations. Attendees learned tips for getting started in operations, making operations fun, realizing that operation sessions do not have to be perfect and don't be afraid, just doing it. Seth covered Implementing Timetables and Train Orders for your railroad. Attendees learned how to set up, write up and use timetables and train orders (T.T. & T.O.) to create prototypical operations on a model railroad.
Scenery is one of the most popular classes at RMU. Gil Brauch and Michele Chance teamed up for THE ABCs of Scenery. Gil started the morning off with an overview of designing and constructing model railroad scenery. He and Michele then teamed up with a 'hands on' session that resulted in the participants taking home a finished diorama. They are shown hard at work applying ground cover and trees to their almost finished pieces. As you can see, all age groups love model railroading and scenery.
Like any good railroad with a "HOT Train" the RMU Express had to be kept on time, before we knew it, 2nd and 3rd Period was here. People were having a hard time finishing conversations with fellow modelers so they could find their seats in the next class! By all accounts, everyone was having a grand time. Jack Haynes took Attendees Beyond The Basics and Fred Miller, MMR, discussed Lights, Sound and Motion Animation on your Railroad. Jack is shown discussing advanced techniques for joining rails together while Fred goes one on one with an attendee in an explanation.
Neal Anderson (L) handled Laying and Ballasting Track. In this class introduced attendees to laying track to NMRA Standards on a model railroad module that can be used with clubs in the local area. He then covered ballasting that same track. It was cool to see both men and women and young and old in the classes. Just goes to prove that everyone comes to RMU and enjoys themselves while learning and sharing with others.
Dick Bronson once again handled teaching about the Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI) with two classes: Intro to JMRI and Signaling Your Layout. This class is always popular with those wishing to take their knowledge of computerized train operations and layout signaling to the next level.
Northside Baptist Church once again offered lunch for those that choose to stay on site and eat. As attendees were finishing their lunch, everyone was encouraged to move to the opposite side of the cafeteria to hear Robin Frye. After being introduced by our Acting Superintendent and RMU Dean Larry Paffrath, Robin spoke briefly during the lunch period about his life spent as Performance Director for the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus Red Unit. Robin had everyone captivated, but soon it was time to return to class.
Again this year, we were pleased to have Jack Parker, MMR on hand for Tips & Tricks. Attendees where introduced to some of the techniques he has used over the years to obtain his NMRA Master Model Railroader Certification. It was another busy hands on class for attendees.
It was a great day to be a model railroader! And like all good things, the RMU Express was quickly coming into the station and the end of our run. But there was a big treat awaiting those who stayed onboard all day.
Robin Frye closed out our afternoon talking about his custom built models of the R.B.B.&B. circus train he has built, in three different scales! I'm sure you will agree, those that Robin had on display were beautiful. A sample of his work is shown in the photos below. Attendees had a great time talking with Robin about his techniques.
Well, all the trains, scenery, signals, solder irons, LEDs, track, grass, ballast, modules, gravel, hand laid turnouts, electric meters and repaired trains have been packed up. Tables have been folded and put away, lights have been turned off and doors locked. RMU 2015 is over and by all accounts, it was a success. Success in some people learned, some people taught and some people formed friendships that will last for years.
Thanks to all the attendees and Presenters who took time to come to RMU 2015 from the Board of the Carolina Southern Division. But I leave you with one question: Will we, see you, at the next RMU???
Story and photos by Rusty Doss
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