Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Saturday, October 20, 2007

NER Albany Convention Update Day #3

This morning I am heading out on the Port of Albany Tour. Two large buses are here, so it looks like more than half of those in attendance will be going on the tour. We arrived in the Port and did an around the area tour by bus narrated by Tony Steele so we would know what we were lookoing at. Nice to see the D&H lightning stripe geep switching cars in the yard.

Next we stopped adjacent to the Cargill grain unloading facility and were able to get off the bus and stretch our legs. We were able to go over and check out the Port of Albany RR SW9 and CP caboose they use. We even got to climb on the equipment and go through the caboose! No one was on hand from the RR and they were not operating today.

Across the street a couple of Cargill employees came out and answered questions while operating their remote controlled switcher. This locomotive works a lot like model railroading with the engineer walking alongside the loco and using a large radio throttle to control movements.

We arrived back at the hotel around 11am, so I had time to grab lunch before going to see Dominic Bourgeois's clinic on D&H modeling. Dominc's clinic was a nice mixture of prototype and model slides and he provided a good deal of information on various paint schemes and uses for the cars. Many of the models seen in the slides were on hand in the next room on his impressive Schenectady layout section. Here are a few pictures of his impressive modeling.

Due to the staggering of clinic start times, I was not able to get in to see the start of a Jim Six presentation on structure building. I think it was interesting to try staggered start times, but the result seems to be too many clinics where people are coming in late off another clinic. Probably best to have uniform start times and provide half hour breaks to allow prep time and social interaction. So I will head in to see an update on Tony Koester's NKP layout at 3:30.

Tony's clinic was crowded so I am glad I arrived with time to spare. As usual it proved to be interesting and thought provoking. I have been to a number of Tony's clinics through the years and his clinics follow a rolling pattern. His ideas and concepts are presented and then through subseuent clinics you get to see the results presented on his layout. As these items are "checked off", he moves onto newer topics. As displayed in the lcinic, he is progressing well on his layout. I enjoyed seeing things he presented as concepts years ago at the Boston convention (2003) now implemented on his NKP layout.

The Happy Hour and Dinner Banquet followed and the food was suprisingly good (better than the usual convention fare). Having Sam Adams on tap doesn't hurt either. The awards presentation went OK, not taking too much time but still getting the recognition out to those who excelled at modeling, which was good. I was real happy to see Dominic get awards for his models and layout section. A real nice turn of events was Dominic winning not only 2 Merit Awards for his structures, but also the Baldwin Award for the best in show, awarded to his Schenectady layout section. The ironic part about this is he was not even going to enter the contest, but instead only display his work. Just goes to show you that it never hurts to put something into the contest. Same could be said for Glenn Glasstetter who did not build his structure of a residential house for contest purposes but still walked away with awards because he decided to bring the model and enter it.

The presentation for next years NER Fall Convention in Syracuse looked really interesting. Nice to see the use of technology in helping present, plan and execute a convention (i.e. an on-site iMac allowing those to vote on choices for rail and non-rail activities, using Mac software to put together photos, video and text to advertise the convention). They have some nice new concepts to try out as well, including a CD packaged with the map book so you can get photos of the layouts with full 360 degree views and turn by turn directions to get from layout to layout. And they have 50 layouts planned so far. Looks like a full slate of events with a group well organized and ready to go. Check out for more info.

Wrapping up the night (after checking raffle tickets and winning a CP Rail boxcar) is a layout building clinic presented by Jim Six. He touched on a lot of his clinic topics while presenting his overall concepts for building his latest layout. A nice way to end the on-site convention activities.


Wayne Woodland said...

Hi Mike- Souhds like a great convention. We haven never met before, but I have seen pictures of your layout on the net before - really impressive (Just found your blog today). I too model Maine Central - with CN having trackage rights (have to keep the Canadian component, as I am from Nova Scotia). I have started a blog as well recently - if you want to check it out, its at


Anton Mazza said...

Hi Mike,

Great job on the day to day activities at the convention. I wish I could be there. Some excellent pictures of some great looking layouts too. Just one request, more pictures of "Red Stuff" i.e. CP.

Your friend,

Anton "Pacman" Mazza

Mike Sherbak said...

Great job on the convention coverage, you have us all wishing we had made the pilgrimage to Albany.

Stay safe !
Mike Sherbak
Richland Twp. MI