I've belonged to the NMRA since 1984, more or less out of momentum rather than anything else. Their last membership increase a few years ago pushed my membership in Canadian dollars to around $55.00 a year. Since the most "benefit" I was receiving was the NMRA Bulletin newsletter, and it didn't amount to much, I changed my membership to sustaining that does away with the Bulletin. This was about $22.00 a year cheaper, and I did not miss the publication.
This week I received a welcomed surprise - a check from the NMRA treasurer for one of my photos they used on the October Bulletin cover! I had sent some photos several years ago, and did not realize they still had any on hand. Since I don't get it, I borrowed a copy from a friend. Wow, lots of changes since I stopped getting it! It's now called "Scale Rails" and in very teeny type "and NMRA Bulletin".
Lots of changes, former editor Terry Bacus is back. The front three quarters of the publication almost appears to be an independent hobby publication, but some of the old material is still there - the official's columns, the corny "Thumbz" cartoons, etc. The last quarter of the issue is the actual NMRA Bulletin - membership news.
So the "new" Scale Rails is sort of new, but with lots of the "old". I'm not sure what the idea was, to make it more like an commercial publication or what. It does seem to be more interesting.
One thing this is sadly interesting is the membership thermometer; the latest info from July of 2003 shows only 20,493 NMRA members. When I got the Bulletin, I recall the numbers always seemed to be hovering around 23- 25K. Looks like quite a few members have lost interest (or passed away).
Just passing along some info!
Bob Boudreau Canada