Schedule and Clinics

Basic Schedule at the Ambassador Center:

8:00 AM — 9:00 AM: Registration with complimentary continental breakfast

9:00 AM — 9:45 AM:  Clinics in the two clinic rooms

10:00 AM — 10:45 AM: Clinics in the two clinic rooms

11:00 AM — 11:45 AM:  Clinics in the two clinic rooms

12:00 PM — 1:00 PM: Lunch break

1:00 PM — 1:45 PM: Clinics in the two clinic rooms

2:00 PM — 2:45 PM: Clinics in the two clinic rooms

3:00 PM — 3:45 PM: Clinics in the two clinic rooms

4:00 PM — 5:00 PM: End-of-day wrap up with raffle drawings and complimentary hors d’oeuvres


The clinics will be a major highlight and will be offered throughout the day. We are planning on  providing a variety of clinic topics including modeling methods, prototype modeling, and model railroad operations. We will add clinic topics and details as they are finalized. As we get even closer to the date of the mini-meet, we will publish the schedule of the various clinics, so you can plan your day.

Initial Clinic List: (subject to change)

  • Large Power Transformer Basics for Model Railroaders: Transformers are often modeled items on our model railroads, both as flatcar loads and as scenic details in substations, industrial plants, etc. However, they are often poorly represented as they are not prototypically accurate or are incorrect for the era modeled. This clinic will present prototypical examples of large power transformers from various manufacturers as appropriate for the late 1950s as well as explain the various types and uses of such transformers. Major components for modeling consideration will be presented as well as variations over time of these and other design elements.


  • Timetable and Train Order Ops: A Primer: Introduction to basics of TT&TO operations for interested neophytes. Designed to be followed by hands-on TT&TO operations session on author’s model railroad later the same evening.


  • Structure Lighting with NCE Light-It Decoders: Lighting tips for structures using NCE’s lighting Decoder to facilitate a variety of lighting effects.  These decoders can be used as mobil, accessory, or signaling devices. This clinic will focus on using them as mobil decoders.  Using the decoder in it’s DC mode will also be discussed for those interested in lighting their structures at shows.


  • Using Wooden Blocks to Build Complex Building Structures:The clinic will show how the table saw and miter saw in the woodshop can be used to construct complicated roof structures. Primary focus will be on building the Lehigh Valley’s “sunshade” signal tower, a design unique to the LV that has a complex twin-roof. Clinic will show how to quickly and safely build this complex structure with complete interior detail. Clinician will also demonstrate how to make various hip roof designs typical of depots that have gables and multiple roof levels. Completed structures built by the clinician will be on display to show finished results.


  • Developing Operations for the PRR Chautauqua Branch: Researching and using prototype information to develop operations for my PRR Chautauqua Branch RR.


  • Expanding Your Horizons with Backdrops: The presentation is a guide to adding realism to a model railroad by using backdrops. It starts with a rationale for using backdrops. It then goes through creating a plan including exploring different materials and applications. Most of the clinic then deals with tips and tricks for making backdrops more realistic and dealing with some of the inherent problems in using backdrops.


  • The Joy of Modeling Short Lines with a Focus on Pennsylvania Railroads: Want to enjoy modeling, instead of cleaning goo off of hundreds of car wheels and miles of scale track in order to keep your Class 1 empire in operating condition? Modeling a short line might just be your ticket to modeling heaven, with a reasonably-sized roster of equipment and a modest amount of trackwork. It can also greatly help to focus your money and time towards reaching an attainable goal.  While wonderful short lines were (and are) found all over the United States, Pennsylvania has been particularly blessed. We’ll do a quick survey of these little roads, both past and present, and talk about features of modeling them. Finally, what we learn about these can provide guidance for proto-freelancing your own fictitious but entirely believable short line.


  • Weathering with Decals: Using decals to weather your rolling stock.


  • Building the PRR Panhandle 2.0: The presenter will discuss the second incarnation of his Pennsylvania Railroad Panhandle Division now currently under construction.  This nearly 3x larger version (47’ x 11’) incorporates major features of the prototype such as the double-track bridge across the Ohio River, Weirton Steel, and the cities of Weirton, WV and Steubenville, OH.  The clinic will highlight the presenter’s journey towards better design, construction, electrical and scenic decisions as well as future plans.


  • Engineering the Right of Way: Incorporating prototypical engineering practices into your model railroad can significantly increase the realism of your layout. The presenter will share with you how he has done so on his railroad. The clinic sill start with overall design considerations and will then turn to a discussion of topics such as track geometry, earthwork including cuts and fills, slopes, drainage considerations, and the correct use of bridges and tunnels. Finally, he will share his techniques for right of way modeling which will allow you to accurately portray actual civil engineering practices on you railroad’s right-of-way.


  • Terminating Turnout Trouble: Inspection, installation, operation, repair, replacement, and maintenance of turnouts for trouble-free performance.

Clinic Application Form:

While we have some clinics in the queue, we would like to have some additional offerings for the mini-meet. So, if you have had brief discussions with one of the division board members and not submitted a form or if you have a clinic you would like to have us consider, please complete an MCR Division 12 Clinic Submission and send it to our clinic chair at

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