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Pacific Coast Region NMRA
Annual Convention

April 21 – 24, 2022
Rohnert Park, California


Be here. Reconnect here. It's been too long!

Learn and share together all that makes you most enthusiastic in our railroading hobby. We'll have a seat for you at our 2022 clinics. So, plan to join our clinicians and get into the zone.

Clinics will appeal to both experienced model railroaders and beginners alike. With a schedule of more than 40 clinics, we are planning a variety of presenters for you to learn from and to talk with on a broad range of related topics. Speakers will include respected names in our hobby as well as talented, but perhaps yet unknown, presenters.

Clinics and Presenters

Please note this list is TENTATIVE and subject to change without notice. The list will be updated periodically, so check back here for the latest additions. (updated 04/24/2021)

  • Jack Burgess - "Going Beyond Prototype Freight Cars"
  • There can be much more to prototype modeling than just freight cars and buildings. This clinic will provide a layout visitor's view of the multi-deck Yosemite Valley Railroad along with some of the stories shared with visitors.

  • Bob Chaparro - "Open Car Loads"
  • A look at loads that modelers can duplicate with an emphasis on general service flat cars and gondolas in the steam and transition eras. Prototype practices are explored through photos and diagrams. Examples of accurately modeled loads and common modeling errors also are covered.

  • Bob Chaparro - "Citrus Industry Operations"
  • This presentation covers railroad perishable operations with an emphasis on the Southern California citrus industry, including refrigerator car preparation, loading, in-transit servicing, routing and delivery. We also will touch on packing houses, how a perishable train is assembled, support facilities, mechanical vs. ice bunker cars, what is done with returning refrigerator cars and railroad traffic and operations which support citrus traffic. The presentation will focus on the years 1910 to 1973.

  • Dave Connery - "Techniques and Tips for Building Resin Freight Cars"
  • Dave will describe resin kits (primarily freight cars), explain why you might want to have some in your collection, review basic steps to build a resin kit and provide tips to make it easier.

  • Al Daumann - "Enhancing Small Layout Operations - Passenger & Mail Ops"
  • Al will present a brief summary of operational features to enhance operations on small layouts and details of Passenger and Mail Train operational features for use on small layouts (and maybe larger ones too)

  • Mike Manson - "Restoration Projects of the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society"
  • Like well-used scale models, prototypical railroad cars and locomotives need maintenance, or even restoration. The Northwestern Pacific Railroad Historical Society has restored two cabooses. Society members are actively restoring two wooden passenger cars, including an 1869 Central Pacific coach. A 1904 boxcar awaits its turn in the restoration process.

  • Frank Markovich - "Hands-on Building of a Wall out of Strip Wood"
  • Hands-on: Techniques demonstrated will include weathering, painting, peeling paint, framing, etc.

  • Chip Meriam - "Amateur Authorship: Developing and Submitting an Article for Publication"
  • Creating ideas for worthwhile articles, submission guidelines from various publications, photography, getting the words out of your head and organized, transmitting text and photos to an editor, NMRA "Model Railroad Author" AP Certificate.

  • Seth Neumann - "Model Railroad Communications"

  • Seth Neumann and Jim Providenza - "Layout Design and Operations Discussion Session"

  • Jim Providenza - "Finer than Fine Scale"
  • Join Jim as he explores modeling the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes in his backyard in a unique combination of scale and gauge Proto 20.3n2. Prototype-based and operations oriented, mostly scratch-built, hand laid and kitbashed - not your usual garden railway fare!

  • Jim Providenza - "Creating Realistic Routings for Freight Traffic"
  • Research into historical resources is the key to understanding how freight traffic flowed. Modern computer tools are the means to do that and organizing the results. What seems like a mundane chore at best, is in fact, like most research, is worse than eating peanuts - you can't stop with just handful! Wait until you see some of the round about ways shippers sent 'stuff' to their customers!

  • Jon Schmidt - "The Great Tectonic Shift"
  • The Nicasio Northern is a freelance "rails in the mud" 1920's era pike servicing earthquake country. Conceptually, it runs from the San Francisco Bay to the northern California woods. The model was originally built straight and level, but the land moves, so if tangents are no longer tangent, and level track isn't, it's not the fault of the builders. It's an around-the-wall pike with a central peninsula. Over the years we have discovered that the aisles we designed were simply not wide enough for our crew of operators. This is the story of the earthquake which added 12 inches to each aisle and caused the north end to be completely rebuilt.

  • Jon Schmidt - "Arduino for Model Railroading: Hitting the Bell"
  • Many railroad interlocking towers had alarm bells to alert the tower operator that a train was approaching. On a large club railroad where I volunteer, there are train order offices located under the layout. We are setting up a closed-circuit camera system so that the agent/operator can see the approaches to his/her town. We also wanted trains to "hit the bell" as they approached.

    We decided to implement an Arduino-based solution to the problem. This clinic discusses what we built and what I learned while building it.

  • Tony Thompson - "Tank Car Operation Using Realistic Waybills"

  • Paul Weiss - "Blood, Sweat, Tears and Lumber - A 5th Year Look at the Central Vermont Railway"

Clinicians Wanted!

Share your knowledge with your fellow modelers, rail history buffs and layout design and operations fans. Have you found a better or easier modeling process? Have you uncovered some little-known history of a local railroad? Have you developed a technique or skill to share in a hands-on clinic? Do you have a story to tell about your layout that we can learn from?

The 2022 Convention needs your knowledge and expertise. We invite you to submit your clinic title and a short description of your presentation, hands-on clinic or other. Please contact Al Merkrebs at

Clinics will be presented on Thursday and Friday mornings and evenings, and Saturday morning. You can look forward to visually interesting presentations, hands-on clinics, as well as an evening Layout Design and Operations discussion session.

We look forward to seeing you in April 2022 and enjoying our time together!

E-mail Al Merkrebs at

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