Railroad Modeler’s Retreat 2018

Twin Cities Division of the NMRA
presents our Annual
Railroad Modelers Retreat
April 6-7, 2018

Enjoy two days of great presentations on railroad, prototype, operations and modeling geared for the Railroad Prototype Modeler. Some of the finest regional modelers will display their craftsmanship and be available to share with you their research, modeling and finishing techniques. Research the railroads in the Twin Cities through one of the most extensive historical map collections which will be displayed in the exhibit hall, plus get a hands on demonstration of JMRI computer programming for DCC decoders.

Location: Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth, Plymouth MN, 55441

Pre-Registration is $20.00 for two days of activities plus lunch on Saturday. Deadline Monday, April 2.  Registration at the door will be $25.00. Limited commercial display space available. For more information, call Ken Zieska at 763.232.3455.

To pre-register, mail your name, your email address (for confirmation), and a check payable to TCD, NMRA to Ken Zieska, 11810 52nd Ave. N., Plymouth, MN, 55442-1820. Or by email to Ken at mhry19@gmail.com and transfer funds via PayPal.

Friday, April 6 

Room A is the Conference Room
Room B is the Youth Room
4:00 PM — Doors Open, display room available for set up
5:00 PM
Room A— JMRI Decoder Pro presented by Walt Thompson. Walt’s presentation will help get you on-line and working with Decoder Pro the internet based open source tool that makes DCC so much easier and powerful.
Room B— DCC Operational Control with your smart phone presented by Ron Olsen. Ron will demonstrate step by step how to control your DCC layout using the power of your smart phone.
6:30 PM
Room A— Harbor and Car Ferry Operations presented by Ross Hammond. Ross’s presentation will show how you can use a harbor scene and car ferries (car floats) to add additional operational action to your model railroad operations. Ross will show examples of how he does this currently on his layout.
Room B— Large Operations in Small Spaces. Dan has created a compact layout with the operational theme inspired by the Minnesota Commercial. Small spaces and tight clearances in urban alleys are Dan’s formula for getting large operational action.
8:00 PM
Room B— Northern Pacific D line joint with the SOO Camden Line presented by Ken Zieska. These shared facilities served important customers north along the Mississippi River from “Hole in the Wall” to the Camden Wye. The presentation will feature the area as it looked in the 1930s and later in its evolution.
9:00 PM
Room B– Rail Historian and Foamers open projector time. There are so many interesting photo records of railroad history in Minnesota, we are inviting participants to bring slides or photo files to share.

Saturday, April 7 

Room A is the Conference Room
Room B is the Youth Room
7:00 AM — Doors Open, Display Room open for set up
8:30 AM
Room A— Resin kit construction presented by Lester Breuer MMR. Resin kits are typically low volume kits of special or unique versions of railroad equipment. Les is well know for his outstanding workmanship and the exquisite models he builds, in this clinic Les will share his experiences, and the tips and techniques you can use to build resin kits to add to your roster.
Room B— Prototype Operations from the viewpoint of the locomotive cab presented by Barry Karberg. Barry will share operations insights and anecdotes gathered from 40 years of railroading across the mid-west. You may not want to replicate some of these lessons at home.
10:00 AM
Room A— Powder River Coal, Planning and Operations presented by Jeff Otto. Jeff had the opportunity unity to be involved in the planning and operations of the Powder River coal fields, his presentation will be an amazing opportunity to get an inside look at one of the most important railroad undertakings of the last half of the 20th Century.
Room B— Time Table and Train Order basics presented by Joe Binish and Doug Complin. TT&TO…. the term alone can cause the novice model railroad operator to shy away from an operating session. Joe and Doug will help you understand the basics of TT&TO and prepare you to jump into this interesting aspect of model railroad operations.
11:30 AM — LUNCH (Included in your registration)
1300 (AKA 1:00 PM)
Room A— The Rocky-SOO Transfer presented by Bob Rivard. Bob knowledge of contemporary SOO Line operations around the Twin Cities is amazing. In the era before mergers, consolidations and abandonment, the Rocky-SOO transfer was a key traffic mover and a source of interest for the railfan.
Room B— DCC Conversions, installations and conversations presented by Dennis Bartholow. There are few model railroads being built without DCC and few established layouts that have not converted to some type of DCC. While the technology may be established new decoders, speakers and installation opportunities abound. Dennis will share his extensive experience as a DCC installer and operator.
Room A— Big Operations, Small Spaces presented by Doug Hodgson. Many equate Doug Hodgson with the large layouts he has helped create. Doug’s latest creation is his own layout, based on the Southern Pacific Ry. Citrus Division operations. Doug will share how he gets big operations in a small space and how that gives him more time for exquisite detail.
Room B— Great Northern Railway Passenger operations presented by Greg Smith. Greg models Great Northern Railway passenger operations, motive power and consists in wonderful detail. Greg’s presentation will cover the Great Northern passenger operations radiating from the St. Paul Depot dating from the post WW-II era through the rainbow era to the end of passenger service on the GN.
Room A— Open Projector presentations. Enjoy exploring the Twin Cities Railroad history through the photography of fellow rail fans and historians.

Notes —
Continuous in the Display Room. Dave Vos will share his vintage railroad map collection covering the Twin Cities area. We cannot physically visit “Hole in the wall”, “Chestnut Street” or the many interesting railroad operations and interchanges that made our area such a key railroad crossroad however they are still documented and illustrated in Dave’s map collection.

Display tables are free and will be available for viewing Friday and Saturday. View the excellent models and visit with some of the regions finest modelers.


Joe Binish/ Doug Complin  — TT&TO basics
Dennis Bartholow  — DCC conversations
Lester Breuer  — Resin kit construction
Dan Dossa  — Call it the Transfer, call it the Commercial it just gives you big operations in a small space
Ross Hammond  — Harbors and Car Ferry Operation
Doug Hodgson  — Big Operations, Small Space
Jeff Otto  — Powder River Coal, planning and operations
Barry Karlberg  — Prototype operational photos from Barry’s experience as a T.C railroader
Ron Olsen  — Smart Operational Control with your Smart Phone
Bob Rivard  — The Rocky-SOO Transfer
Greg Smith  — Modeling Great Northern Passenger Operations
Walt Thompson  — Panel Pro
Ken Zieska  — SOO Camden Line- NP “D” Line

Tom Johnson  — DCC JMRI programming station
Dave Vos  — Twin Cities Railroad maps, pre-merger era

More presentations coming!

Quality Presentations
Quality Presentations
Milwaukee Road display
Milwaukee Road display
Craftsmanship in all scales
Craftsmanship in all scales
Les Bruer Milwaukee
Les Bruer Milwaukee
Hands on Switching 2
Hands on Switching 2

— Photos from 2017 Railroad Modelers Retreat