Does anyone have a report on Toronto?

Can someone give a report on the Toronto NMRA convention? I haven't seen anything. How was it?

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Well, I spent the week in the fiddle yard of the layout my friends and I were using to demonstrate timetable and train order operation. I had a great time, even though it was Thursday afternoon before I had a chance to see any clinics or do much outside the SIGs Roundhouse room.

As part of the OpSIG display, we offered nine three-hour clinics which were extrememly well-received. We were amazed with how well the layout functioned (for its first public outing), and how much demand there seems to be to try organized operation. We filled the 145 operating slots we offered very quickly and could have filled as many more if we'd had them. We met a lot of neat people (Hi, Steve!), and had the opportunity to introduce a number of younger modelers to prototype operation.

A brief summary of how things went with our experiment in hands-on operations clinics can be found at

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. If all goes as planned, we hope to offer the same type of clinics at Cincinnati in 2005.

Thursday afternoon and evening, my friends and I took in the last half of the LDSIG layout tour. We picked up the self-guided tour at the cookout dinner and managed to see five layouts before calling it a night. The North York club and its neighbor were a study in contrasts. One club had a complete rebuild under way to a multi-deck linear design based on modern operations, while the other, in a large room next door, had an established and nicely-scenicked classic spaghetti bowl design under way. Clark Kooning's Sn3 layout was pretty neat, especially with what he accomplished in a small space. His compact workbench arrangement was pretty interesting, too.

On Friday, I finally made it down to the Prototype Modelers room. Most of the guys had already packed up their models, but Walthers was showing a test shot of the upcoming C&O 1600-series streamlined coach- a car I've gone on endlessly about wanting over the last eight years here. It's scheduled for late October/early November. They also showed a few Italian-made smoothside cars from some obscure western road. I think they were yellow...

I managed to get to two clinics on Friday before I had to head home: Allen McClelland's update on the V&O, and Bill Sharpe's clinic on scratchbuilding wooden cabooses out of styrene. The new V&O is well under way. and will concentrate on a different at of the V&O. It's a much more linear design, laid out around the walls of his new basement.

Bill Sharpe's clinic was one Bill has given for many years, but has updated as his techniques change. I saw the first half of it seven years ago at a regional in Ann Arbor, but was called away to deal with a leaky roof in the dealers' area, and didn't see the end of it until this year. I highly recommend Bill's clinic.

The slate of clinics available was top-notch, and the folks I spoke to during the week were all very satisfied.

Family obligations back home prevented me from attending the train show, so I can't say anything about it. I hear the Life-Like did not show their new Berkshire as they'd originally planned.

The number of lots at the Silent Auction was disappointingly low, but I found a few things to bid on, ultimately leaving with a stack of four old Con-cor kits for a 1960s era auto hauler. These will be loaded with the appropriate vehicles and become flat car loads.

I was a little disapppointed with the Company Store, since the Convention cars just didn't appeal to me (too modern), and there wasn't a lot of other stuff from previous conventions, as I'd seen at previous Nationals. I'd especially liked being able to buy surplus cars from various regional projects at Madison. Oh well, it left me more money to spend at the shop Al Westerfield was running out of his hotel room.

When I left mid-afternoon on Friday, I had yet to speak with anyone who wasn't having a really good time. Even without considering that the Convention Committee had been dealt a really bad hand in the months leading up the convention, the parts of the Convention I saw were top-notch.

I'm very much looking forward to the North Central Region's regional in October in Grand Rapids, Michigan- it'll be nice to attend a convention and not be working. They're offering tours of Bruce Chubb's Sunset Valley, a five (real) miles-long 7.5" live steam railroad, several very nice large local layouts, and a good slate of clinics. It's being held October 10-12. Details are found at

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-fm Webmaster, Rails on Wheels, Washtenaw County, Michigan's HO Modular Club, at

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The address in the header of this message is deliberately bogus to foil address-harvesters. See my web sites for my real address.

Reply to
Fritz Milhaupt

Toronto was only my second convention (Kansas 98) but I was very pleased with the clinics and the tours. Some days I went from 8.00 am to 12.15 am, just to cram it all in.

The train show was a disappointment, due to the almost total lack of any American manufactures and dealers. Too bad they subscribed to the mass hysteria about SARS.

The company store was very thin. I believe that it is usually run by the NMRA, but as you know, they pulled their support at the last minute. Something that won't be forgotten by Canadian Modelers!

Bill Wyman

Reply to
Bill Wyman

Several great clinics - Bruce Metcalf on "Lessons From the Art of the Storyteller" and John Roberts" Appalachian Coal Country" were two useful and memorable ones. Al Westerfield's clinic on running a model railroad manufacturing business was something different too.

The train show didn't offer much that most of the annual Toronto shows don't. I would suggest that the next time a Canadian group applies to host an NMRA convention, that it be a cross-border event - that is, have the convention in a border town like Niagara Falls, USA, and have tours that go into Canada. That way the US manufacturers won't have an excuse not to attend because of customs difficulties.

Reply to
Barry Silverthorn

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