The NMRA's Turntable is a monthly publication which, like a railroad turntable, will lead you in a number of directions on the internet.

pdf NMRA Turntable April 2019 (1.20 MB)

DCC Information Tidbit

To prevent your locomotive headlights from coming on when in consist (second, third, fourth locomotive, etc.) program CV22 to zero (0) before putting the locomotives in consist.  It does not affect normal operation or as a lead unit in a consist.

We hear a lot about the benefits of being an NMRA member.  Most people want to know "what's in it for me"?  Why should I shell out $44.00 or $66.00 they ask.  I think we are all aware of most of the tangible benefits: 

  • Access to the world-class Kalmbach Library
  • Access to standards and recommended practices in all scales
  • Ability to participate in the Achievement Program
  • Ability to attend national and regional conventions
  • Calendar and address labels
  • Subscription to a fine hobby magazine focused on NMRA members and activities.

These are all great.  But, to me, the biggest benefit by far has been the fellowship and knowledge I've gained from getting together with people from around the world, or from around the corner, that share my love of model trains.  Granted, I am fortunate to live in an area that is rich with model railroaders and to be a part of a very active NMRA division.  But whether you live in a hot bed of activity or one where only a few folks reside, the first steps are up to you.  Steel City Superintendent John Stewart summed it up about as well as I've heard in a recent article he wrote for his division's newsletter.  John offered the question "If you bought a ticket to a movie or play, would you decide not to attend the performance?"  Of course you wouldn't.   Why would you shell out your hard-earned money to buy a ticket to a show, movie, game, whatever, and then not attend?  Makes no sense, does it?  But in a way, that's exactly what folks are doing who pay for NMRA membership, and then don't attend or participate in any of the activities (the "show"). 

So go ahead and use the "ticket" you've paid for.  Attend a convention, clinic, open house, op session or just a lunch with some like-minded modelers.  I am confident you'll enjoy the show!

Joe Gelmini, Eastern District Director

We've been getting a lot of questions about the Visitor Policy that the NMRA Board adopted and publicized in February of this year, limiting visitors to NMRA meetings to three visits during their lifetime.

This isn't really a new policy, since it was first adopted in 2007 and explained in the "President's Car" column in the November, 2007 issue of Scale Rails. Then, as now, the needs of our insurance provider played a large part in the adoption of this policy, but there are also issues of basic fairness, as well as tax issues in the U.S.

Here's the policy: Visitors are allowed three visits to an NMRA meeting IN THEIR LIFETIME. If they don't join by their third visit, they cannot attend any more meetings.

A lot of the questions we've been getting are from members trying to over-complicate the policy, worrying about this or that exception and making up complicated what-ifs. The policy does not apply to spouses who come along to the meetings so that they can go to dinner afterwards. It does not apply to non-member caregivers who aren't modelers, but who provide a ride to a member who cannot drive himself. It does not apply to events that are organized for the general public, like mall shows, swap meets, beginner clinic series, and the like, nor does it apply to things like joint meetings with another group or family picnics or outings.

Allowing freeloaders to participate as if they were members is unfair because it takes advantage of our members who HAVE paid up. We're all paying to keep the organization going - what are the freeloaders doing, besides getting a free ride on our backs? And tolerating permanent freeloaders can give our insurance providers a reason to cancel your coverage if you have an incident, leaving individual officers and members responsible for paying the claim. The IRS has rules about giving benefits of membership to non-members, too - they say don't do it, and there are tax consequences if you do.

Now, if your Division and Region are already following the rules (which would be a really good idea if you want the protection of our NMRA Liability Insurance policy), this is not the big deal you might think it is. We all know that if someone comes and tries us out three times and still doesn't join, they're not going to join. So after the third turn-down, don't worry about it "“ just move on to the next prospect.

If you're still wondering whether your group is in compliance, just ask yourself: are you allowing people who aren't members to come to your meetings month after month, year after year, and participate as if they'd paid their dues? If the answer is no, then fine, just keep doing what you're doing. If the answer is yes, then you have some changes to make.

If you have additional questions about this policy or how to implement it, please feel free to contact an NMRA officer, director, or NMRA HQ. We'll get your question to the right person.

Mike Brestel - At Large Worldwide Director