Rails to Pittsburgh
2023 Mid Central NMRA Regional Convention

The Convention will be from May 4 through 7, 2023, sponsored by the Keystone Division of the NMRA, Mid-Central Region, at the Doubletree by Hilton at Cranberry, 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, PA, 16046.

Clinics - Tours - Contests - Non-Rail Activities - Layout Tours - Banquet - White Elephant Tables - Door Prizes - Railfanning

Our convention hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton at Cranberry, is conveniently located within easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate-79 just north of Pittsburgh. You can visit the city, see Station Square, ride the Duquesne or Monongahela Inclines, railfan and enjoy the area. You are just 15 minutes from Norfolk Southern Mainline and 20 minutes from CSX Mainline.

Beginning on Saturday, April 29, you must be an active NMRA member with your NMRA membership id in order to register for the convention online or at the door.

Online registration for the convention and for extras will end Wednesday, May 3rd at noon.
All unpaid online purchases must be paid at the door prior to entry to the convention.
If you are not registered before the May 3rd cut-off, you are welcome to come to the convention with your NMRA membership card, and register at the door.
Extra fare clinics, tours, and merchandise can also be purchased at the convention.

If you have any questions regarding the convention, please contact by e-mail .

Didn’t pre-register? You are encouraged to sign-up for the hands-on clinics and the Non-Rail activities and pay as necessary when you pick up your materials upon arrival at the convention. Check at the Registration Desk for availability.

Op Sessions Thursday Evening Operating sessions on seven local layouts are scheduled for the evening of Thursday, May 4. The operating sessions start at 7:00 pm and we suggest arriving at least 10-15 minutes before the start of the session. Assignments were made during registration on a first come, first served basis until all spaces were filled. Operators were notified by email by Monday, April 24th with a confirmation of their layout assignment. Due to limited space at most layouts, everyone who signed up must operate and not just observe. Operators were asked to report on time to their assigned layout and to thank the layout owners for opening their doors for us. (Op Sessions)

Breakfast & Lunch Breakfast (7:00-9:00am) and lunch (11:30am-1:00pm) will be available for Convention Attendees in an area of the main lobby Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Food items will be in the $5-7 price range (cash only). (Breakfast & Lunch)

Meet & Greet Thursday, 4-5pm, in the Chestnut Room. There will be a cash bar for convention attendees.

Division Two Modular Layouts There are several modular layout groups active within the Keystone Division. At this convention, three of the groups will display their modules. In the Pre-Function Area, two of the groups will set up: the Pittsburgh S-Gaugers (a local chapter of the NASG) and the Keystone Division FreeMo (HO scale). Meanwhile, Division Two T-Trak will be set up in the Cedar Room next to the Vendors. The T-Trak group also sets up at Greenberg and smaller venues too, and many of their modules are on display in the Cedar Room; after the “Make & Take” clinic produces additional T-Trak modules, these will be added to their layout.

Banquet The Rails to Pittsburgh Convention central activities conclude with a dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening. The menu includes salad; chicken piccata or miso glazed salmon; fingerling potatoes; roasted vegetables; and dessert for $55.00. The after dinner speaker will be Bill Neale, MMR, an avid historian and modeler of the PRR, whose HO scale layout has been widely featured in the hobby press. Bill will present remarks on the first 50 miles of the PRR Panhandle Division, which he models. The evening wraps up with an awards ceremony from the contest activity and other regional announcements. (Banquet)

Sunday Self-Guided Layout Tours
While the convention activities close Saturday night, a self-guided layout tour is available for you on Sunday. Twenty-eight home and club layouts featuring modeling in O, S, HO, and N scales will have their doors open for you to visit. The self-guided tour booklet is included in your registration packet. Layouts include several in the Pittsburgh vicinity and neighboring counties, eastern Ohio, and northwestern West Virginia. The layouts are open at diverse times on Sunday, so please be sure to consult the Layout Tour Guide for maps and hours, and be respectful of the hosts' property, both inside and outside the home. Check the message board near the registration desk for any last minute adjustments to the layout tours. (Layout Tours)

Steel City Chapter of the R&LHS
Established in 2017, the Steel City Chapter, a 501c(3) non-profit historical society, is the youngest chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. The R&LHS is the oldest railway historical society in the United States (est. 1921), which is dedicated to the preservation and research of American railroad history.
Our general office in Irwin maintains a large collection of railroad artifacts including maps, timetables, newsletters, manuals, and photographic images (including railroad prints, slides, and negatives). We are thankful to have acquired the William “Bill” Nixon, Charles Lanhinkey, David Morton, and Richard “Dick” George collections.
The organization will have display tables and photographs and railroad memorabilia for purchase. All proceeds benefit their mission of preserving western Pennsylvania railroad heritage. Find them online at (steelcityrlhs.org).

P&WV Technical and Historic Interest Group
The P&WV Technical and Historical Interest Group will have a display in the Pre-function Area. This is an informal group of individuals dedicated to documenting the past, present and future of the 132 miles of railroad track that used to make up the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway, which connected the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad in eastern Ohio with the Western Maryland, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, while running through and serving the Pittsburgh area.
It was affectionately called "The High and Dry" because it was built across the hilltops into the Pittsburgh area since other railroads had already taken the more desirable routes along the streams and rivers, which also accounts for its 171 bridges and 21 tunnels, despite having a relatively short mainline.
The display at our convention features items from original P&WV archive material, most of which has never been seen or exhibited in any type of private setting or show. The information should be of interest to anyone who models the WM, NKP,W&LE, P&LE, B&O and other short lines that interchanged with the P&WV. The display also includes a large selection of prototype scale models. Much more information may be found on their website at (thepwvhiline.com).

Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society
The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society (prrths.org) has a display in the Pre-Function Area as well. The PRR T&HS is the pre-eminent charitable organization, a 501c(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as to its faithful representation in scale modeling efforts.

White Elephant Sale & Company Store
The White Elephant Sale is located in the DOGWOOD ROOM, as is the Division Two Company Store. Hours are 9am through 9pm Thursday and Friday, but 9am through 3pm on Saturday, to allow for settlement of sales (3-4:45pm, doors closing at 5pm before the Banquet set-up). Abandoned items are forfeited to Division Two for the purposes of future fundraising. See full rules & regulations for the White Elephant Sale on next page. (White Elephant)

Division Two FreeMo and Pittsburgh S-Gaugers
The Division Two FreeMo (HO scale) group (keystonedivision.org/modular.html) and the Pittsburgh S-Gaugers have set up modules for display in the PRE-FUNCTION AREA outside of the clinic rooms. Both of these groups set up modules at the local Greenberg Train Shows, and some of their members take their modules to more distant venues to contribute to building larger FreeMo layouts or spreading their enthusiasm for S scale. These modules will be set up from Thursday at 1pm through Saturday at 3pm.

T-Trak Modules & Vendors
The Division Two T-Trak (N scale) group (keystonedivision.org/ttrak.html) have set up their layout in the CEDAR ROOM, where you can also find the Vendors, who are supporting our convention. The modules and vendors will be here Thursday and Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Saturday, 9am to 2pm (at which time this room closes promptly for Banquet preparation). The T-Trak group also sets up at Greenberg Train Shows as well as local and regional train shows and swap meets; after the “Make & Take” clinic produces additional T-Trak modules, these will be added to their layout in the Cedar Room.

Volunteers Needed
Help Make This Convention A Great Experience For All

The full line-up of activities being offered promises to make the 2023 MCR Convention a memorable one for all attendees. Much planning and pre-work has taken place to make sure there's plenty to do over the four days. To assure everything falls into place and runs smoothly, we need the help of volunteers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Many Division 2 members have already stepped-up and agreed to help. That's where the old expression, "the more the merrier" comes into play.

We want to be certain there are enough volunteers on-hand to share the duties, so no one misses a clinic or activity they want to attend. \ With that being said, how about offering a little of your time to help us? As an added benefit, you will earn "volunteer" hours toward your NMRA Association Volunteer Certificate!

There are several areas that you can we can use help:

Convention Volunteers:
  • No experience is necessary, but there are plenty of members throughout the region who have assisted in past conventions. We'll need help in the Vendor Room, White Elephant Room, Attendee Assistance and Registration.
  • Send an e-mail to  .
Model Contest Volunteers:
  • Judges: We need members that have served as a judge in at least one NMRA sponsored Model Contest.
  • Clerical Staff: We need members to help check in models and complete the required paperwork.
  • Contest Room Security: We also members to help visitors secure any packages they are carrying before viewing the models as well as ensure that the models are not damaged.
  • Send an e-mail to .
Give it some thought and agree to help out.
Clinicians and Vendors
We still have room for additional Clinicians and Vendors:
  • clinicians can email us at
  • vendors can email us at

Would you like to know more about what we are planning? Our Superintendent is making presentations to all Mid-Central Divisions.
Here is a Link to the Presentation he made to Division 8 on October 15, 2022. We thank Division 8 for allowing us to share it with you.

Here is the Convention Flyer PDF handout that you can view and print.