Atlanta Convention 2013

The 2013 NMRA and LDSIG Conventions will be held in Atlanta, GA on July 14-20, 2013.

Information on the NMRA Convention is available by clicking here.  More specific information on the LDSIG Convention activities is available below.  This site is currently being updated frequently and more information will be available here soon.

The major LDSIG activities at the Convention will be the clinics, the Wednesday tour and the banquet. 


We do welcome interested model railroaders not already members of the Layout Design Special Interest Group to join.  Memberships are available at the Peachtree Express 2013 Company Store LDSIG Section.

SIG Room

Meet and Greet, Sunday, July 14, 7-10 PM

We will hold our traditional Meet and Greet in the SIG Room providing an opportunity for all Layout Design and Operations SIG members and friends to introduce themselves and their interests, and find folks who can share ideas and solutions to your layout design and operation concerns.  We have invited owners of the Wednesday Layout Tour to provide a preview of the Tour.  It is also a time to arrange car pools for the Wednesday Layout Tour.  Do not worry about arriving late if your're enjoying tours and op sessions, we will be there until at least 10:00 PM. 

Displays and Consulting 

The SIG Room will be open Monday to Thursday from 8AM to 10PM.  It is a great place to congregate, meet friends, make friends, enjoy the SIG Room Displays, get or give layout design consultation, or generally take a break from other convention activities. 

Layout Design Help Sessions (Monday through Friday - Open to all) 

Members of the LDSIG will be offering free half-hour layout help sessions.  Limited availability, sign up in person in the SIG Room during the Convention. 

Help Providers Needed!

Help-provider volunteers are crucially needed.  We need experienced LDSIG members volunteers to provide half-hour layout design help sessions during the Convention.  This offers a service to the hobby and promotes the SIG.  Each volunteer will be asked to set aside one, two or more hours during the Convention when they can commit to being available for help sessions.  It is very important that we have volunteers and hours confirmed before the Convention begins.  To volunteer, or for questions, contact LDJ Editor Byron Henderson, ldjeditor at com, who is coordinating the help sessions.


There will be several Layout Design clinics presented during the convention.  Beyond the Layout Design Bootcamp described immediately following, there are clinics by Bernie Kempinski, Seth Neumann, Byron Henderson, Tony Koester, Steve Prevette, Bruce Faulkner, Gerry Fitzgerald, Bill Kaufman and Bruce Metcalf.  Go here for times and descriptions of these clinics.  All the LDSIG clinics, including the Layout Design Bootcamp are open to all Convention Attendees.

Layout Design Bootcamp, Monday, July 15, 2013, 8 to Noon 

Layout Design Journal editor and custom layout designer Byron Henderson and other members of the NMRA's Layout Design SIG are leading a Layout Design Bootcamp at the Peachtree Express 2013 NMRA Convention in Atlanta.

Due to facilities issues, the Layout Design SIG Bootcamp 4-hour "super clinic" at the Atlanta NMRA Convention has been moved. The new (and better) location is a short indoor walk away from the LDSIG Room and will be found in the adjacent Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel (the Convention's official hotel). We'll be in the Stanhope Conference Room on the first floor.

We'll still begin at 8:00 AM Monday, July 15 with LDSIG President Seth Neumann and LDJ Editor Byron Henderson as your friendly presenters..  The Bootcamp is an intensive session on track planning and layout design. Discover how to refine vision, concept, and purpose; select layout footprints and schematics; draw accurate and useful plans; create efficient and engaging yards and industrial areas; make best use of staging tracks; maintain space for people; and avoid common track planning errors. Step-by-step examples from a variety of layout designs will be discussed.

Whether your dream layout is strongly prototype-based, a creative freelanced theme, or somewhere in between, this practical session will give you the tools and best practices to design a great layout!

Among the topics to be covered:

  • Layout design phases: Conceptual, Structural, and Detail
  • Developing vision, theme, and purpose
  • The impact of givens and 'druthers considering space, resources, and skills
  • Prototype research techniques and tools
  • The user and viewer experience
  • Layout footprint techniques
  • Drawing and rendering tools and best practices
  • Planning for people
  • Multi-deck considerations
  • Yard planning
  • Staging design
  • Signature elements vs. typicality
  • LDEs: Possibilities and pitfalls
  • Tricky traps of layout design (common errors to avoid)
  • Layout design for operation 

… and much, much more!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 8-9 AM, LDSIG Annual Meeting 

Meet in the SIG Room for important updates and discussions. 

Wednesday Layout Tour, July 17, 2013

A selection of 13 layouts of special interest to layout designers are on this year's tour. 

Carpooling is strongly encouraged so you can discuss the unique features of these layouts as you travel.  Sign-ups for carpools will be posted in the SIG room.  On the LDSIG tour, one can stay as long as one wishes to study a particularly interesting layout or design element.  The hosts are aware of SIG members' interest and are happy to answer questions.  All this makes the tour an invaluable learning experience.

No lunch is provided so you and your carpool buddies can eat what and when you want (there are plenty of good restaurants in all categories and price ranges along the route). 

A summary map and list of addresses will be provided but no detailed maps so bring your GPS.

Everyone on the LDSIG Layout Tour will receive a polo shirt with a special logo.

The following layouts will be on the Tour

  • Jared Harper’s Alma branch of the ATSF
  • John and Liz Rieken’s HO scale layout terminal operations in the Chicago area
  • Mike Devaney’s massive N scale C&O
  • Joe Sullivan’s Gainesville & Tennessee subdivision of the L&N is a large N scale multi-deck layout
  • Mike Deaton’s Colorado Joint Line Railway system is a large multi-deck HO scale
  • Phillip and Linda Stead’s’ D&RGW San Juan Division is a wonderfully executed On3
  • Mike Paslawskyj’s Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 
  • Alan Hirschfield focuses on mountain railroading in Colorado and Utah; specifically the BNSF and UP lines.
  • Larry Daughtry’s Kansas City & Port Arthur railroad
  • Dr. Paul Schenk’s hybrid B&O and B&M layout
  • Bob McIntyre's Susquehana Valley & Southern
  • Crew Heimer's Western & Atlantic
  • Morris E. Smith's Mule Shoe & Western Railroad Co.

More details on these layouts is available on the Wednesday Layout Tour page.

To register for the Wednesday SIG Tour go to the Peachtree Express 2013 Company Store LDSIG/OPSIG Section. 

LDSIG/OPSIG Banquet Friday July 19,  4PM

This year's banquet will be held at Trackside Grill in Kennesaw, GA (about 16 miles NW of the convention site).  The banquet will start with cocktail hour at 4 PM, Southern dinner with the "fixins" at 5 PM, followed by a special program at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History.  We will hear from our speaker, Scott Chatfield (who helped arrange LDSIG functions at the 1995 Atlanta convention).  We will have access to the museum from 6 to 10 PM.   The museum is just across the parking lot from the Trackside Grill.  The museum is the home of the locomotive General from the great locomotive chase during the Civil War.  Tickets for this event will be limited.  

Watch here for more details.


To register for the Friday SIG Banquet go to the Peachtree Express 2013 Company Store LDSIG/OPSIG Section.