Clinics

of the

STEEL CITY EXPRESS
2020 Mid Central NMRA Region Convention


A detailed list of clinics (rail and non-rail) will be included in the timetable at the convention. Also, we will add the clinicians and topics on the website as they are finalized. We will have three clinics rooms in use from Thursday Evening until Saturday afternoon.


Model Railroading in Germany - Patrick Altdorfer

Pat discusses the state of our hobby in Germany,” Just like us… but even more so!” Facts and figures are presented along with a history of modeling starting a year after the first prototype railway in 1836. BDEF, the “German NMRA”, German manufacturers and plenty of photos of the gigantic public displays in Berlin and Hamburg round out the clinic.


SMD (Surface Mount Device) LED’s – Robert Belt

A general “how to” on using LED’s in model railroading. Examples and techniques will be presented.


RTV Molds and Resin Casting – Robert Belt

A tutorial on the creation and use of molds to create details that are used on an award-winning contest model. Sources, tools and techniques are discussed.


Transformer Modeling for Flatcars – Rob Bennett

This clinic provides an introduction to Large Power Transformersand covers some basic information to help those wanting to better model these unique devices.


Paper Signals for Prototype Operation - Charlie Blenko

This clinic will give a brief overview of the types of track authority then show how to make, implement, and operate realistically with inexpensive, professional-looking paper signals based on the ideas of Bruce Carpenter in an MR article. The technique is not intended to be a permanent solution, but it serves as a cheap way to try operating with signals before making bigger investments.


The World's Fastest Diesel Train! - Andrew Blenko

British Rail’s InterCity 125 set the world record in 1973 for fastest diesel powered train at 143.2 mph (=230.5 km/h), and went into daily service for British Rail for 43 years until finally being retired in May 2019. This locomotive revolutionized rail travel in the UK and is an iconic part of the British transportation system. Come learn about the design and operation of this unique train.


Estate Planning for Model Railroaders - Frank Bongiovanni

As an attorney and fellow model railroader, the presenter will discuss appropriate steps those of us in the hobby should take for our survivors. Audience participation is encouraged.


Doing a Bucket List Layout - Gary Carmichael

Join me in exploring my journey to re-invent my old layout but yet keep the essence intact. Many questions are asked on what to keep and what can be improved. With all the new information available it can be an exciting and fulfilling time. We'll explore some of the new techniques and products at our disposal. The possibilities are endless.


Tracking the PRR T1 Locomotive – Mike Crosby

Mike Crosby reports on charting the movement of the PRR T1 Duplex Locomotive. Included are their Division assignments, types and sizes of trains, and daily operations. The research and sources of information will be explained.


Scratchbuilding the Montana Flour Mill at Harlowton – Bruce DeMaeyer

The large flour mill, originally built 1909 and still standing in Harlowton Montana, originally served the wheat ranchers in the Gallatin Valley.  It was completed within months of the construction of the Milwaukee Road’s east-west mainline.  The clinic will describe the construction details used to scratch build the sandstone flour mill and attached silos all done in N-scale.


Sand Patch – Keith DeVault

This clinic will show action from Cumberland, Maryland to Connellsville, Pennsylvania. It will have steam and diesel locomotives along with some structures no longer in existence. It will showcase the history of the line from the B & O Railroad until today’s CSXT.


Today’s Davies Steel-Jim DiPaola

Dean Freytag’s Davies Steel have been relocated and expanded. Structures and rolling stock have been incorporated into the Pittsburgh, Youngstown and Ashtabula layout owned by me. This Power Point presentation will describe how the structures are incorporated into the 26’ x 32’ layout.


Geep with a Capital G - Jerry Doyle

An examination of post-war dieselization and the development of the Electro Motive Division GP series of four-axle locomotives from 1947 – 2000. Emphasis on the Chessie System roads and CSX with some other roads and Shortlines covered as well.


How to Model the Steel Industry without Modeling the Steel Industry, Part 2 – John Gallagher

Most people presume that to model the steel industry, you have to have a blast furnace, open hearth, rolling mills and more and therefore they don’t have enough room. Such is not the case. While coke was an essential component for reducing iron oxide to iron, coke making facilities were not always located at the mill proper. This clinic will concentrate on coke manufacturing facilities throughout the years and the cars used to transport coke and coke by-products.


The B&O Allegheny Yard Branch, circa 1926 – Eric Hansmann

We open a window back in time to discuss a forgotten B&O branch in Pittsburgh. You will be surprised with this six-mile branch with industries ranging from pickles to freight cars. This branch packs inspiration and ideas for an operations-oriented, manageable-sized layout.


Modeling the Lehigh Valley Railroad in NY and PA in the Period before 1905 – Michael Hohn, MMR

This clinic describes the building of a model railroad representing two locations on the Lehigh Valley Railroad around the turn of the Twentieth Century: Auburn, NY, a small city with diverse industries and commercial enterprises, and Alderson, PA, a small town in north-central Pennsylvania supported by lumbering and tourism. Track layouts, structures, and rolling stock represent the prototype in these contrasting scenes with as much fidelity as possible, based on insurance and railroad maps, historic photographs, equipment diagrams and registers, and a large dose of conjecture.


The Supplee-Wills-Jones Milk Tank cars along the PRR – Matt Hurst and Ed Rappe

The Supplee-Wills-Jones Company operated a small fleet of milk tank cars and had several creameries along the Pennsylvania Railroad mainline as well as several branch lines. With the focus being on the towns of Huntingdon, PA and Bedford, PA, we take a look at how two milk cars were interchanged between the PRR and Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railroads.  Come along to see how this can add interest to passenger train operations on the Pennsy's Middle Division and how they fit into a railroad model operating scheme.


Evolution of PRR's Pitcairn Yard - Ken Kobus

A historical review of the many changes made to Pitcairn Yard over the years.


Intermodal 101 for Model Railroaders – Rich Mahaney

This presentation looks at intermodal operations, intermodal box and tank containers, truck trailers, intermodal facilities, intermodal and truck trailer equipment and transferring the prototype to the model railroad.


Junctions, Interchanges and Diamonds for Your Model Railroad – Rich Mahaney

This presentation looks at real railroad junctions, interchanges and diamonds and how they can be modeled by model railroaders. Their use can allow more rail traffic, the use of other railroad equipment and can some interesting operations. If a modeler likes a number of railroads, this is the solution to allow the many of different railroads to operate on a layout. A variety of examples from different model railroads are shown as part of this presentation.


The Second Lives of Cabooses – Rich Mahaney

This clinic looks at cabooses still in service, cabooses that have been turned into businesses or part of business, cabooses that have been turned into information stands and cabooses that can be found next to train stations, in parks and at museums. This presentation gives the modeler ideas for cabooses uses on a modern era layout or for diorama displays. This presentation inspired a caboose modeling challenge for the NMRA NCR Region for 2017-2018.


Storage Tanks 101 for Model Railroaders – Rich Mahaney

This presentation that deals with the various kinds of storage tanks found in industry for solids, liquids and gases. Atmospheric tanks, low pressure tanks, high pressure tanks, corrosive tanks, cryogenic tanks, etc., loading and unloading racks and the tank cars that can be found servicing them.


Building the PRR Panhandle 2.0 – George Pandelios

George will update the status of his Pennsylvania Railroad Panhandle Division currently under construction. Version 2.0 is nearly 3x larger (47’ x 11’) than its predecessor and incorporates major aspects of the prototype such as the double-track bridge across the Ohio River, Weirton Steel, and the cities of Weirton, WV and Steubenville, OH. Significant progress and construction have taken place since the last update in April 2019. The clinic will focus on this progress as well as discuss future plans. Throughout, lessons learned and the presenter’s journey towards better design, construction, electrical and scenic decisions will be highlighted.


Tank Cars for the Natural Gas Industry – Stephen Ross

This clinic presents the production of natural gas from around 1900 up until today. Currently most natural gas is transported by pipelines, so the focus will be on natural gas byproducts that are carried by railroad tank cars. These include natural gasoline and LP gas (propane and butane). Sulfur and carbon dioxide are impurities removed from natural gas that can also be transported by tank cars. Prototype photos of processing plants are shown along with a number of different tank cars. Available models of the cars for use or as starting points for kitbashes will be discussed.


Five Great Years and 100 Yellow Boxes – Stephen Ross

After getting his first SLR camera during his senior year in college, the presenter made dozens of railfan trips between 1979 and 1984. He changed his modeling interests nearly as often. “Pennsy” steam from high school gave way to Conrail, the East Broad Top, New Jersey Transit and a variety of other roads. Take a 40 year trip back in time for a nostalgic look at prototype railroading and a few unfinished models.


Classic Farm Tractors and Models 1917-1970 – Stephen Ross

A brief history of farm tractor production. Many examples of transportation by rail. Prototype and available models are illustrated, most prototype photos are restored examples seen at Pennsylvania antique tractor shows.


Capturing the Commonwealth: How I Recreated Pennsy’s Middle Division – Neal Schorr

Inspired by a trip to Pennsylvania’s Juniata River Valley in 1975, Neal has attempted to capture the scenic beauty of that area on his model railroad depicting PRR’s Middle Division. He will identify the critical geologic and scenic features of central Pennsylvania as well as those of the railroad’s physical plant that are necessary to create a highly accurate model of that railroad. The layout has appeared numerous times in the model railroad press including MRP and Kalmbach’s “How To” series.


Pittsburgh Light Rail System – Neal Schorr

Pittsburgh has one of the most interesting Light Rail systems in the country.  The modern part of the system was built between the early 1980’s and 2012. It features a downtown subway, street and private right of way operation, and a tunnel under the Allegheny River.  However, some portions retain their as built appearance from the early twentieth century.  This clinic will look at the evolution of today’s system from the remnants of Pittsburgh’s once extensive trolley system.  This clinic is highly recommended for those planning on attending Friday’s Light Rail System tour.


Line Poles and Pole Lines – Neal Schorr

Line poles, commonly referred to as telegraph or telephone poles were found along almost all mainline railroads through at least the 1980’s. A few are still used today. The collective assemblage of line poles, wires, and right of way is known as the pole line. This clinic looks at how prototype line poles were built and how they were installed on the pole line. Next, to how to accurately model them on your layout using commercially available kits in several scales. Neal’s work on this subject has appeared in Model Railroad Planning 2007 & 2017 and How to Build Realistic Reliable Track.


Extra Fare Clinic

Laser Cut Building Construction Techniques (Build & Take Clinic)– Gary Kohler (Portland Locomotive Works) and Sam Swanson, MMR presenting

Thursday 7pm to closing (2 slots). Building the 2020 fundraising Telegraph Office kit in HO. Building, painting techniques, laser kit assembly tips and tricks applicable to future work with laser kits. Price $20, 20 participants MAX.


Extra Fare Clinic

Build Your Own T-Trak Module (Build & Take Clinic) - Gary Kohler (Portland Locomotive Works), Bryan Hartle (CMR), Richie & Laura Jodon presenting

Friday 10:30am for T-trak background and module assembly, break for lunch then 1pm & 2:30pm (2 sessions). Building a 1x single module (12” x 12”) from a CMR/TabTec kit. Adding track then decorating it with grass, trees, and other items to make it uniquely yours. After class, modules will be added to the T-trak layout displayed at the convention. Price $40, 10-20 participants MAX.


Evolution of an Operating Scheme –Bob Weinheimer

This clinic discusses the industrial development on a layout and how that and car purchasing patterns have caused the operating scheme to evolve over a period of 30 years.


Waynesburg and Washington Railroad, Second Number 4 - Jim Weinschenker

The Waynesburg and Washington Railroad was a small (28 mile), narrow gauge line located in SouthwesternPA. The eleventh of twelve locomotives ordered for the W&W RR, second number 4, a 2-6-0 Mogul was outshopped in May of 1916. Miraculously, second number 4 survivedthe scrapper’s torch and exists today.Drawing from theRR archives and photograph collection, W&W author and historian, JimWeinschenker, presents this iron pony’s “biography” starting with the builder’s photo and service life, to its "homecoming" andcurrent day state. This presentation also offers a look at the W&W’s earlier locomotives via rare photographs.


Mid-Central Region Model Contest Administration Clinic - Steve Zapytowski, MMR

This clinic is a training session primarily for the members of the Mid Central Region Contest Committee, but it is open to all interested parties. The management of the contest and its administration, the contest procedures and the software used will be covered. This clinic is required to members of the MCR contest committee.


Judging the Mid-Central Region Model Contest - Steve Zapytowski, MMR

This clinic explores the process and philosophy behind the judging of models for the Mid-Central Region Model Contest. It examines each of the five required areas of evaluation; Construction, Detail, Conformity, Finish and Lettering, and Scratch Building. The judging matrix is described and the manner of awarding points is discussed. Also offered is a strategy for efficient judging. This clinic is different than the one offered in previous years and is strongly recommended for past judges as well as those who wish to judge for the first time.


Hosting the Regional Convention? What You Need to Know about the Contest - Steve Zapytowski, MMR

There is usually some confusion about responsibilities with respect to hosting the contest at a Mid Central Region Convention. There tasks handled exclusively by the regional contest committee and its chair while other items are dealt with by the local convention committee. Learn who provides which items, and more importantly – who for pays what. Hosting the contest at the regional convention is an important task for the local convention committee, but they need to know that they are not alone. There is lots of help available from the regional contest committee.


Myths and Legends of the Tillamook &Astoria - Steve Zapytowski, MMR

What story does any picture tell, or better yet, an entire layout? Over the years as I built the “little known” Tillamook & Astoria I discovered its rich and colorful history. It served a number of cities and towns in Northwest Oregon. Some of these places exist to this day while others have faded from history. Reports of a famous accident along the right of way appeared in the Oregonian newspaper published in Portland. Other less spectacular “incidents” and even a hint of investor fraud remained hidden from view for many decades. This clinic delves into many “true” facts lost to mists of time.