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Seacoast Division President's Message

Year Ending 2018

December 30, 2018

To all our Seacoast Division Members:

I have been a model railroader since my parents gave me my first train set for Christmas, when I was very young. I can still remember the Athearn hustler locomotive with the rubber band drive. I’ll bet I went through at least 100 rubber bands during the time I had that locomotive. It was so easy to make it go flying off the track and roll on the floor beneath the Christmas tree. My cat had a lot to do with that locomotive coming off the track, also. It was just something else that she could take a swipe at with one of her paws.

So here I am about 60 years later, trying to build my own model railroad empire and embarking on a hopefully successful tour as your Division President. Just being able to be a part of this Division has been a great help to me. Meeting as many of you as I can since I first walked through the door, has been absolutely wonderful. I am extremely grateful for your friendship and mentorship over the past few years.

As most of you know, our 2018 President, Chip Faulter, had to resign his position this year due to medical issues. Chip has been undergoing chemo-therapy for treatment of his cancer condition. I am happy to report that the treatments have had some success and the tumor on his pancreas has been significantly reduced. The final outcome of all this is still to come, once the treatments are complete.

While Chip has been undergoing his chemo-therapy, he has still participated in as many events as possible and has been an inspiration to me as I embark on my "earlier than planned" tour of duty as your Division President. My sincere thanks go out to Chip for all his hard work and devotion to our hobby and this Division, as he continues his battle with cancer.

I have taken some time to speak directly about the issues and areas below. It is meant to be a summary of what we have accomplished as a Division during 2018.

Division Leadership:

As of this writing, I am the only candidate for President for the coming year. Glenn Mitchell has agreed to run for Vice President. Unless there are some last minute candidates, the Board of Directors will be electing us to these positions. At the Annual Meeting, 3 positions on the Board of Directors will be up for election. As of this writing, the 3 candidates are Mike Pedersen, Dave Kotsonis, and myself, Tage Erickson.

Over the years, the Seacoast Division has been blessed with excellent directors. Two of our best directors will be stepping down from the Board, effective January 5, 2019. Those directors would be Dave Sias and Larry Cannon. These two gentlemen have been solid supporters of the Division for many years and we will certainly miss their presence. Larry has been on the Seacoast Division Board for about 20 years. He is moving on to become the Northern Area At-Large Director for the Northeastern Region of the NMRA. So we will still likely be seeing both Larry and Dave at future Events.

I am still soliciting to fill vacancies with some of our Division committees and positions. I will send out and email to all the members once I have responses from all of the particular individuals concerned. I will specifically need a new Division Secretary for the coming year. If there is someone who feels they are interested in doing this, please read the position description in the Division By-Laws and then contact me as soon as possible.

Quarterly Events:

Our Quarterly Events continue to be very well run and reasonably well attended. They are the most important events that this Division runs. Glenn Mitchell has done a brilliant job this year. In 2018, we continued to have great clinics and terrific presentations. The reason for this is due to your participation at these Events. Most of our presenters come from our Division members. For 2018, we owe a debt of gratitude to Chuck Hastings of the Southern Maine Model Railroad Club, Tom Oxnard, Bob Bennett, Dave Sias, Chris Oliver, Rich Breton, Dwight Smith, Victor Hand, George Carhart, Jerry Clark, Bruce Robinson, Larry Cannon, and Paul Lessard, for their willingness to present clinics to us.

Also, we are indebted to those members who graciously agreed to open their homes for layout tours following each event. Those individuals are Rob Selberg, Lou Champagne, Chris Oliver, The Heritage Park Railroad Museum, Larry Cannon, The Great Falls Model Railroad Club, Tom Oxnard, Mike Grahame, and Gregg McFarland. Additionally, Bruce Robinson opened his layout for an operating session after the Fall Event. Thank you Bruce, and thanks to all the layout owners for allowing us into your homes to admire your modeling.

As you can see, it is our members who make each event very special. I would like to challenge each of you to considered giving a clinic or a short presentation at one of our upcoming events. We need your help to succeed and grow our Division.

Derry Fun Night (DFN):

As in previous years, the Derry Fun Night continued to be a success in 2018. The success of this event is due to the efforts of Bruce Robinson. Thank you Bruce, for devoting the time and effort to put together all the clinics and presentations that make this event a success. Bruce’s modeling skills and organizational abilities are second to none. There are many of us out there that are very grateful for your ability to teach and pass on your those skills. I also want to mention that many of our Seacoast Division members support Bruce with knowledge and clinic expertise. Thanks to all of you who willingly give your time to this program.

Maine Layout Tour Program:

The fourth annual Maine Model Rail Road Tour was held on Saturday, September 8, 2018. Mike Pedersen is the coordinator and Stan Moody is the webmaster. The initial request for hosts was made by email in January 2018. Mike was surprised to receive over a dozen positive replies. The list of hosts eventually grew to 26, spread over southern, interior and mid-coastal Maine. The layouts included N, HO, S, On30, O, O 3-rail and G scales. The eras represented were from steam to modern diesel and included freight and passenger operations as well as DC and DCC control systems.

Stan and Mike updated the website by uploading layout descriptions and photos as they were received. As in the past, links were created that took you to Google Maps® when you clicked on a layout and gave directions to the layout from where you accessed the site. Publicity was again by flyers distributed at area model railroad meets, model railroad clubs and hobby shops. The flyers were also emailed to Sea Coast Division members and to the NMRA national, regional and division newsletters. Paul Lodge also put out an additional notice to members of the Great Falls club.

The weather September 8 was good. Of the 26 layouts on the tour, eight were first-time hosts. Since they had made no restrictions as to location, considerable driving was involved and it was not possible to visit all the layouts in one day. This was mentioned by several people after the tour. Also, several hosts felt attendance could have been better and some of the repeat hosts felt it was down from previous years. Overall, the majority of the hosts and visitors were pleased with the event and look forward to next year’s tour.

So, planning is underway for a 2019 Maine Layout Tour. The tentative dates for the tour is the weekend of September 29-30, 2019. Mike Pedersen has agreed to continue the coordinator role supported by webmaster Stan Moody and a coordinating committee. The Seacoast Division NMRA has been the primary sponsor of the tour and I will be asking the BOD to continue this support, to include some modest financial support.

The Switch Tower:

Our Switch Tower Editor, Geoff Anthony, continues to do a superb job with our Division Publication. It is read by most members of our Division and by many in the NMRA outside our Division to include our current NMRA President, Pete Magoun. I want to thank Geoff for his outstanding efforts and I would like to encourage all members to send Geoff any articles you may write or anything of note that you think our members would be interested in. Rail fanning, layout tours and operating sessions all make for good photos and articles that Geoff can include in the Switch Tower.


Steve Russo, our Division Webmaster, does a terrific job maintaining our Division website. At this time, I am not aware of any issues that need to be looked into. Keep up the good work, Steve!


Our membership chairman, Lou Champagne, will be giving a separate full report to the members at our Winter Event on January 5, 2019. I encourage each of you to attend the event and listen to Lou’s report. He is doing an excellent job as the Membership Chairman and we are fortunate to have him back for 2019. Thanks, Lou!


We are fortunate to have Dave Kotsonis as our Division Treasurer. Dave will be back next year and will be giving a separate Treasurers report at the Winter Event. Thanks, Dave!

NER Convention Planning:

As Chip mentioned in last year’s report, sooner or later, it will be our turn to host a NER convention. At this time, our Division Convention committee which was formed last year, has nothing to report for this past year. I am disappointed with the lack of progress on this issue, so I will be spending more time focussed on it in 2019. Currently, the NER is scheduled to have future conventions sponsored by the Central New York Division in 2019, and the Hub Division for 2020. The Nutmeg and Metro North Divisions are in discussion for potentially supporting a convention in 2021. Beyond that, there is nothing.

I will not commit our Division to anything until I can get a good sense of support from the Board of Directors and our members. These NER conventions are a great place to learn more about this hobby and interface with the best modelers in our region. Every year, those that attend have wonderful time. It does not cost that much to attend one of these conventions, and it is a lot of fun to be there. All of you will be hearing more from me this coming year, regarding our sponsoring a future convention.

NER News

As the Seacoast Division President, I am now considered a Director for the Northeastern Region. I sit in on the NER BOD teleconference calls. Currently, there are several proposals on the table to change the way the NER treasury uses its money and conduct its business. An NER Finance committee has been established to study these recommendations, and will report its findings during this year. I will have more details at a future date and time. The NER is also considering changing its logo. More to follow on that.

Closing Statement:

Please consider volunteering a bit more of your time, in order to help the Division grow stronger. We have so many talented members out there. Your knowledge could be invaluable to other members who share the passion of this hobby. We need clinicians for our Events and help for the various committees that we have.

We have a very strong and vibrant Division. Within the NER, we are the 3rd largest division with membership, and the 2nd largest in physical area. You should all be very proud of the talent and accomplishments of our members. My focus has always been to have each member take away from each event, additional knowledge that can be used to help further your enjoyment of our great hobby. Your time is valuable. I respect that. We had a great year in 2018, so let’s have a productive and enjoyable 2019 as we move on.

Please have a very Happy New Year! I hope to see as many of you as possible at our Winter Event on January 5,2019 in Westbrook, Maine.

Respectfully submitted,

Tage Erickson, Seacoast Division President