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Mid- Eastern Region of the NMRA

    Report on the Potomac and  James River Division's Joint Minicon

The Joint Minicon was held on Saturday, November 6, 2021 at the Battlefield Baptist Church in Warrenton, Virginia with a total of 41 members of the Potomac and James River Divisions in attendance.

The Joint Minicon opened at 9 A.M. with opening remarks made by Potomac Division Superintendent Martin Brechbiel and Jerry Ritter, Paymaster in place of Phil Taylor James River Superintendent, providing information regarding the event. Mid-Eastern Region President Kurt Thompson was also in attendance providing the attendees with updated information on events and actions of the Region. Pictures of all the activites associated with this event were taken by Rod Vance of the James River Division.


The Joint Minicon had a White Elephant Sale and clinics presented by members of both Divisions.The clinics were presented in two simultaneous parallel tracks with two 45 minute clinics presented at the same time starting at 10:15 A.M.. The clinics were well attended by the participants and concluded approximately 12:30 P.M..

White Elephant Sale

The White Elephant Sale was held in the Church's Gymnasium and facilitated by Jim Kinder.


Track 1 Clinics-

Ken Wilson (Potomac Division) -N&W Caboose Acquisition and Restoration

This clinic provided a description of the 130-year history of Southern Railway rail traffic in Warrenton, Virginia, from 1852 to 1982. In 1995 the Norfolk Southern donated a retired Norfolk & Western C-31P class caboose that had been in service for 25 years, and during the next three years the caboose was restored, and tracks relaid. The N&W modified this caboose several times during its life, and ongoing research has revealed some unusual details that will be of interest to modelers. Many photos included in the presentation along with some artifacts made available for close examination by the attendees. Later in the afternoon the caboose was be opened for members to visit.


Ed Fischer (James River Division) - A Railroad that Never Was and One that Ain’t No Mo

This is a clinic was on the history of two railroads within the James River Division and how they wound up in Ed Fischer's basement. One, the Northern Neck Railroad, which was planned but never built from the Chesapeake Bay up the Northern Neck to Fredericksburg. The other, the Virginia Central Railway, was built from Fredericksburg to Orange, but has been abandoned.


Track 2 Clinics-

Marty McGuirk (Potomac Division) - Modeling an October Scene

Autumn can be one of the most fascinating seasons to model.  Although this clinic highlighted the process to model eastern fall colors, the tips and techniques apply equally to all seasons. Marty shared what he’s learned over several decades of trying to get fall “just right.” The clinic covered the importance of a believable overall color tone, composing believable scenes on your layout, and modeling fields and pastureland by effectively blending static grass and other scenery materials. And no clinic on fall scenery would be complete without discussing trees and how to model them.


John Vogler (James River Division) - What Are Railroad Signals ?

This presentation covered how and why railroad signaling came into being and will provided the attendees with some background as to the functions of the various signal systems used to protect real trains. It started with basics and built on that to prepare the attendees to explore the application of prototype practices to our model railroads and in future clinics. John Vogler was head of signals for NJ Transit before he went to Amtrak and became a senior signals official for the Northeast Corridor.


Door Prizes and Closing.

After the clinics the group assembled back in the main hall and the Door Prize drawing was held. A lot of good prizes were gathered by those with winning tickets.


The activities at the Church concluded with remarks by Jerry Stanley II, Potomac Division Paymaster and Minicon Chairperson.


After the activities at the Church two model railroad layouts, in the Gainesville/Haymarket area, and the Norfolk Western Caboose, in Warrenton, were opened for participants to visit.

Cam Green's Maine Central Railroad - Lower Branch, an HO scale layout. Click here to see pictures of his layout taken by Rod Vance.

Jahn Swanson's Cresson Branch Railroad, an HO scale layout. Click here to see pictures of his layout taken by Rod Vance.