Cleveland Convention 2014

The 2014 NMRA and LDSIG Conventions will be held in Cleveland, OH from July 13 through July 19.

Information on the NMRA Convention is available here; information on the LDSIG Convention will be available here.

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

To get involved, please contact the LDSIG Convention Chair.


The schedule for the week includes:

Sunday night meet & greet - 7:00 -10:00

Monday AM Layout Design Bootcamp - 8:00 - Noon

Clinics, Monday afternoon 1:00, 2:30, Tuesday and Thursday 9:00, 10:30, 1:00, 2:30,

Friday 1:00, 2:3- (depending on what they do about clinics during the train show

Wednesday - Annual Business Meeting

Wednesday - Tour all day and  evening 

Friday Night Dinner - at Berea Depot (6:00 -10:00 ???) Bill Neale is the speaker



We do welcome interested model railroaders not already members of the Layout Design Special Interest Group to join.  Membership information is located on the LDSIG site here. 


SIG Room

Meet and Greet, Sunday, July 13, 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 between clinics or from other convention activities. 

Layout Design Consulting Service  (Monday through Friday - Open to all convention attendees) 

Members of the LDSIG will be offering free half-hour layout design consultation 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  Seth Neumann, Tony Koester, Steve Prevette, Bruce Faulkner, Jim Dahlberg, Rodney Black, Ken Cameron, Cal Sexsmith and Doug Geiger.  All the LDSIG clinics, including the Layout Design Bootcamp are open to all Convention Attendees.

Layout Design Bootcamp, Monday, July 14, 2013, 8 to Noon 

Layout Design Journal editor and custom layout designer Byron Henderson and Seth Neuman of the NMRA's Layout Design SIG are leading a Layout Design Bootcamp at the Cleveland 2014 NMRA Convention.

We'll still begin at 8:00 AM Monday, July 14 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!

Other Clinics

Steve Prevette Follow the Water

Steve Prevette TT&TO Basics

Ken Cameron Principles of Dispatching

Seth Neumann Panel: What Would You Do Differently?

Tony Koester MultiDeck Layouts

Jim Dalberg DL&W Passenger Trains

Rodney Black Using CATS to Validate Design for a CTC Layout

Seth Neumann Arduino based CMRI node

Bruce Faulkner Clinchfield Design

Bruce Faulkner Helpful Hints for Hosting Operating Sessions

Cal Sexsmith Helix


Wednesday, July 16, 2013, 8-9 AM, LDSIG Annual Meeting 

Wednesday, July 16, 2013, 9:30 AM until 9PM, LDSIG Annual Layout Tour

This year we have gathered another amazing group of layouts for your touring enjoyment.  

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). 

The following layouts will be on the Tour.

 Bram Bailey’s Ontario Central Railway  

Cuyhaoga Valley & West Shore Model Railroad Club

 Dave Johnson’s Pennsylvania RR, Pittsburgh Division

 Jim Moore’s Cold Creek & Lake Erie RR

 Dave Lawler’s Canadian National and Ontario Southern

 Dave Hanna's PRR Middle Division

 Tom Businger’s PRR Elmira Branch

 Ken Stroebel’s Kawartha Lakes Railway

 Mike Hauk's Susquehanna & New York Railroad

 Frank Feko's Southern Ohio and Michigan RR

 John Chlebowski's Denver, South Park and Southern

For a map and links to information about each layouts please visit our Wednesday Layout Tour Page.

To purchase tickets for the Wednesday Layout Tour, please go to the NMRA Company Store and click on the 2014 Cleveland LDSIG Layout Tour 

Note: On-line sales of layout tour and banquet tickets are no longer available.  You can still buy tickets at the convention.


 LDSIG/OPSIG Banquet Friday July 18,  4PM

This year's banquet will be held at the Berea Union Depot in Berea, Ohio (about 15 miles SW of the convention site).  We will hear from our speaker, MMR Bill Neale.  Bill is a Pennsylvania RR modeler and has been featured in MRP, Great Model Railroads, Model Railroader, and Rail Model Journal.  Tickets for this event will be limited.  

To purchase tickets for the banquet, go to the NMRA Company Store and click on the 2014 Cleveland LDSIG/OPSIG Dinner  button.

 Note: On-line sales of layout tour and banquet tickets are no longer available.  You can still buy tickets at the convention.