Detroit Convention 2007

The 2007 NMRA and LDSIG Conventions will be held in Detroit July 22-28.

Information on the NMRA Convention, The Great Lakes Express, is available by clicking here.

Information on the LDSIG activities at the convention is available here:



The following LDSIG activities are available to all convention attendees -- membership is not required (but we would love for you to join!)

Displays & LDSIG Desk – in the SIG Roundhouse (Mackinac East Room). Members’ informative displays include trackplan diagrams, layout photographs and 3d mock-ups, and priority lists of design features to help others learn how others have solved layout design problems. Design-related clinic schedules, descriptions of open-house layouts for the Wednesday tour, carpool signup lists, a local restaurant list, and a roommate-wanted list. A bulletin board will have important updates about LDSIG events -- be sure and check daily for activities and schedules. You may catch great discussions from time to time, especially in-between clinics. The SIG Roundhouse (Mackinac East Room) is open Sunday, July 22nd from 4:00p to 11:00p and daily throughout the week from 8:00a to 11:00p. Saturday, July 8th the SIG Roundhouse will close at noon.

Layout Design Advice – (Mackinac East Room) The Layout Design SIG offers a free design consultation service. Stop by for an available consultation period. Bring your list of "Givens & Druthers," proposed track plans, etc., to obtain valuable help.

(NEW) Pre-Convention Layout Visits

Sunday, July 22, 10:00a to 1:00p, Blissfield, Michigan (about 70 miles south of Detroit). Self-guided layout visits to Doug Tagsold's photogenic HO scale Denver, Front Range & Western and Doug's On3 D&RGW Silverton Branch (two layouts at one place); and the Blissfield Club's HO double-deck layout. Doug is at 303 S. Lane St., Blissfield. The Blissfield Club is at 115 E. Adrian St., Blissfield, Mi. Maps at the bottom of this page.

Sunday, July 22, Noon to 5:00p, Northwood (Toledo), Ohio. Pete Forbes will host an open house Sunday, July 22, for LDSIG and OPSIG members driving to the Detroit NMRA Convention via Toledo, Ohio. Pete is modeling about 4 miles of the urban PRR Phildelphia Terminal District between North Philadelphia and Frankford Junction. The 20x25' HO layout will feature the 4-track main line, signaled interlockings and catenary, industrial branch lines, and a fiddle yard to generate traffic. So far the main line is running and the N. Philly station platforms, Shore Interlocking, and several overpasses and underpasses have been modeled. From the Ohio Turnpike (I-80) west of Cleveland, take Exit 71 onto I-280 North. Go 7 miles and take the 3rd exit, Exit 6, for "Woodville/Curtis Road". Go up the exit hill and turn right at the stop sign onto Curtis Road. Go .2 miles and take the second right onto Chantilly Rue (West). The address is 108 Chantilly Rue (West). Pete's phone is 419-309-8648.

Meet 'n Greet – Sunday, 7:00p, Greco Room. Begin your convention by meeting other attendees who are especially interested in layout design. Hear informal LDSIG-member introductions about their layout design and construction status, plus timely event announcements and networking opportunities. Meet published authors and respected contributors to various email lists. A nice social occasion. Sunday, 7:00p, Greco Room.

The following LDSIG activities require membership in the LDSIG:

LDSIG Annual Meeting – Wednesday, 8:30a to 10:30a, Cartier Ballroom. Our annual membership meeting agenda includes bylaws amendments, voting for a director, and officer and volunteer reports. All members should participate because a quorum of members is required. Layout tour maps will be distributed at the close of the meeting.

LDSIG Layout Tour and Picnic – Wednesday 11:00a departure, last layouts open until 10:00p. A highly-regarded self-guided tour and picnic by carpool or rental car (no transportation provided). Tickets must be purchased at NMRA tour desk before Monday at 9:00p so we can finalize food order. Sign up for carpools Sunday-Tuesday in the Mackinac East Room. The time and location for finalizing carpools, organizing car rentals, and distributing maps will be announced on the LDSIG’s Bulletin Board in the Mackinac East Room. Information on nearby rental car agencies will be available for those wanting to gather a group of friends or "birds of a feather" to visit specific layouts. Event is open to members’ spouses. Nineteen innovative home and club layouts will be open to choose from – expect to see about ten, with up to 200 miles of driving. The picnic (ticket required) will be at the Operations Road Show layout location.

(NEW) Special Thursday Morning Layout Visits - Thursday, 10:00a to 1:00p, Blissfield, Michigan (about 70 miles south of Detroit). These layouts would have been on our Wednesday Tour and Picnic, but were in the wrong direction and too far away. Self-guided layout visits to three interesting layouts, including Doug Tagsold's photogenic HO scale Denver, Front Range & Western and Doug's On3 D&RGW Silverton Branch (two layouts at one place), and the Blissfield Club's HO double-deck layout. See below for addresses and maps. (These layouts are also open on Sunday before the convention--see above)

LDSIG Reception and Program – Friday, 6:00p to 8:00p, Penthouse of the Courtyard by Marriott Downtown hotel, two blocks from the main Convention hotel. Cash bar, light hors d'oeuvres (not a dinner). A great social occasion to wrap up the LDSIG’s week of Convention activities. An entertaining program will begin about 7:00p, featuring an illustrated presentation by Jack Ozanich, the designer of the very innovative and influential Atlantic Great Eastern Railroad. Spouses and members of the Operations SIG are welcome. Reception tickets must be purchased at the Convention Tour Desk by Tuesday afternoon (changed: was Monday, 9:00p). Plan on having your own early or late dinner (we will provide a list of area restaurants in varying price ranges), and join us for a "cocktail party and show" either before or after.

(NEW) Special Friday Evening Layout Visit - Friday, after LDSIG Reception, until 10:00p. Mike Burgett's fully signalled C&O layout will be open for modelers specifically interested in signal systems. If you missed this layout on our Wednesday tour, this is an opportunity for a visit. For directions, see maps from Wednesday or visit LDSIG display room.

All 20 Layouts on the LDSIG Tour and Picnic

Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club

HO Group 3

The Huron Valley Railroad is housed in an historic and restored 1886 Michigan Central Depot located in Dexter, Michigan.  It represents a shortline railroad being spun off the New York Central in southeastern Michigan.  Features include NCE command control and the JMRI computer application driving CMRI based detection and signals.  The layout is a single track point-to-point operation between Detroit and Jackson, with emphasis on local freight and passenger service.

Michael J. Burgett

HO Group 4

My HO scale railroad models the Chesapeake and Ohio’s (C&O) line as accurately as possible between Clifton Forge and Gladstone, Virginia in August of 1965. The historical aspect as well as the operational aspect is my main focus in the construction of this layout. Making the operator walk away with the feeling that he has spent a day back in time working for the C&O is the objective to this effort. The CTC system is of primary focus to me and will feature all aspects of prototype signaling as employed by the C&O, route locking, time locking, call on features and prototype C&O signal aspects to name a few. The CTC machine was acquired from an actual railroad and features only original Union Switch and Signal Company’s (US&S) components.

Larry Burk

HO Group 4

SE coal hauler/bridge line set in 1980. Large double and triple deck designed for operations. Staging for 45 trains. Numerous through freights, some locals and lots of coal. 25 – 30 car trains over a 600’ mainline. NCE radio DCC. Dispatcher control with radios. Monthly operating sessions with 15 – 20 operators.

Ken Chick

N Group 2

The Danforth Hadley & Northern is a 30' x 60' point to point railroad with two large yards and a large engine facility, featuring long runs through beautiful scenery between 12 cities on a 400' main line. Based on the Northern Pacific Montana Division operating between Huntley and Garrison, MT, it shares tracks with its parent NP and an occasional GN train. The railroad is steam to diesel transition on code 55 track with hand-laid turnouts and crossings, NCE DCC, a branch line and a separate logging railroad. Construction uses L-Girder benchwork and both Homasote on plywood and spline roadbed. Scenery uses “Oatmeal’ over Styrofoam and Geodesic scenery materials. An aluminum backdrop is used to round corners and for the backdrop on a peninsula. The DH&N has appeared in several major trade publications including most recently in Scale Rails.

Mario Mateo

HO Proto 87 Group 3

The CRRR is an independent line running from Anacortes, WA on Puget Sound and up the Skagit Valley to the Diablo dam construction site. The setting is just pre-WWII -- around spring of 1940 plus or minus one year -- at a time when many of the products of the Valley were in greatly increasing demand in the lead up to the war. The CRRR actively interchanges with the GN (at Burlington, WA) and the NP (at Sedro Woolley, WA), as well as with a number of small timber lines along its route. The CRRR layout is being built to Proto-87 standards; all layouts are custom built and all rolling stock must be modified significantly from typical NMRA standards to run on this track. As such, the CRRR is one of the largest P87 layouts in existence. The layout is designed for operation, with considerable staging available for the GN, NP , as well as the logging lines and numerous on-line and off-line industries for switching. The layout should be of particular interest to members of the Layout Design, Operations, and P87 SIGs.

John DePauw

HO Group 4

I model the Elgin Joliet and Eastern Railway in the fall of 1973. The actual prototype railroad runs a 30 mile radius around Chicago, Il. All railroads coming into Chicago cross the “J” at some point. Some railroads more than once. I have modeled most of these interchanges; some are at grade, others are over and under. There are 101 staging tracks. The layout is in a 2000 sq ft basement. The layout is built in a double deck configuration. In some locations there are 3 levels. I’ve used a support structure made out of metal in a “U” form. It is called strut. It goes together like an erector set. On top of the strut support system I have installed ¾” plywood with ¼” Upsom board on top of the plywood. I use cork for my roadbed for the mainline trackage and the industrial areas are laid directly on Upsom board. My trackage is all code100 flex track using Peco and Shinohara switches. I’ve used ¼” drywall for my backdrops and all corners are curved. I am using the NCE DCC system for control of the railroad. All main line switches will be powered and controlled via the dispatchers. I say dispatchers because there will be 2 dispatchers. The trackage between Gary yard and Joliet yard is double track and is controlled by the #2 dispatcher. The trackage between Joliet and Waukegan is single track with passing tracks and will be controlled by the #1 dispatcher. The layout has been built with operation as the basics.

Dan Kempf

Sn3 Group 3

The Clear Creek Branch is point to point with an option for continuous running. It is set in the 1930’s and starts at the wye in Forks Creek travels up the canyon of the Clear Creek to Idaho Springs. At Idaho Springs the line services passenger station, the Argo Mill and Stanley Mine, a mine supply warehouse, bulk oil, gasoline and coal facility, along with a lumber yard along and other general industrial sites. Moving up the canyon the next stop is Georgetown. In Georgetown the train will stop at the station or drop of loads of coal or lumber or pick up empty cars at Stewart & Wing. The Georgetown Power plant, mining supply warehouse or the Clear Creek Sampler Works are also serviced before heading off to Silver Plume. After crossing the Devils Gate Bridge the next stop is Silver Plume with its station, team track and coal, lumber and oil facilities. From Silver Plume it is possible to run continuous through the Alpine Tunnel to Forks Creek. The bench work is all “L” girder construction with riser and spline and homosote roadbed. The track and switches are mostly prefab. Some of the “special” track work in Idaho Springs is hand built. I have 3 PFM sound systems that operate the layout that add a great dimension to operation. The premises of operations are that three operators could operate at the same time. Two main line trains, while a third operates in a yard.

Bill Neale

HO Group 2

Actual railroad documents, ETT’s, track charts, historical letters, etc. were used to develop a plan. The plan was built in two stages, allowing early operation. A 3-dementional mock-up was created to check clearances, and to comprehend the overall look and feel of the layout. Some design for locomotive sound considered and incorporated. Part of the layout is actually double deck, with the mainline climbing a 2% grade to reach the second level. This replicates the eastbound helper district on the prototype, as the PRR climbed out of the Ohio River Valley from the Steubenville/Weirton Jct. area heading towards Pittsburgh. Design also accommodated both tunnels on this part of the line as important design elements in the overall plan. Total mainline length is about 3 scale miles. Staging was developed to provide a reasonable representation of the actual traffic running in September of 1939. Staging yards have minimal access, with 3 yards stacked on one wall, and partially hidden staging on the other side of the access aisle. Staging includes a loads in-empties out arrangement. Scenery in done through about 70% of the layout, with rough forms in place for the other 30%.

R. Brooks Stover

S Group 4

Prototypical representation of BC&G coal-hauling 19 mile line through WV mountains, including all four towns serviced by the prototype. Linear track plan with 100’ mainline on around the wall benchwork with large central peninsula with above-eye-level scenery. All three of road’s Consolidations and many of its rolling stock are modeled. Also represented is the Lilly Fork logging line of the ERC&L Co., including sawmill at Swandale. Layout is designed for prototypical operation, using car orders based on prototype paperwork. Typical op session runs 8 trains of all three roads. NCE DCC with Soundtraxx sound in all locomotives. Hand operated ground throws. All structures are scratch built from photos of prototypes. Some are accurate representations; others capture the character but are freelanced.

David Thornton

O Group 1

This is a railroad that represents a change in history. The Baltimore & Ohio acquired the Kanawaha & Michigan Railroad instead of the NYC. The line became a secondary mainline hauling coal from the Charleston, West Virginia area to the Lake Erie port of Sandusky, Ohio, where the B&O actually did have a coal dumper. The section of line I model is from Kanagua, Ohio, on the north bank of the Ohio River through Athens, Ohio to Zanesville, Ohio. There is interchange and trackage rights running with the C&O (Hocking Valley) between Galapolis and Hobson Junction, Ohio; a crossing and junction with the B&O St. Louis main at Athens, Ohio; and major coal mine branch at Botsko, Ohio; and interchange with the NYC (Zanesville & Western), NKP (W&LE), and PRR (Morrow Branch) at Zanesville, Ohio. There is a large, double ended division point yard at Kanagua. There is a three track, 72 car capacity stub end staging yard for Cincinnati, and 8 track, 192 car capacity double ended staging yard for Charleston and Newark, Ohio, and 2 – 2 track 24 car capacity stub end staging yards for the Pennsy Morrow branch, and one each 10 car capacity staging yards for the NYC and NKP. Traffic is predominately coal and chemicals moving north and manufactured goods moving south. There are two crossings at grade; one with the B&O St. Louis main at Athens and one with the PRR Morrow branch at Zanesville. The staging yards are located below Athens and the mine complex. Minimum radius is 60” and all curves are eased. #6 turnouts are the minimum with a number of #7 and #8 turnouts. All 65 plus turnouts are hand layed. There is currently over 800 lineal feet of track in place with a total of 1600 feet planned. There is minor passenger service (4 -5 car trains, all steam powered heavyweights) between Charleston and Cincinnati and Charleston and Willard, Ohio. This is late in the steam era, but the B&O is still heavily steam powered in this part of the world for another year.

Larry Wright

HO Group 2

Railroad is essentially the Ma & Pa moved from the east side of Pennsylvania to western Pennsylvania. It represents a shortline running from Wellsville, Ohio, on the Ohio River northeast to Erie, Pa.

Jim Zinser

HO/Hon3 Group 1

Michigan Upper Peninsula mining/logging theme. Rugged, UP scenery, detailed structures. Standard and narrow gauge trackage (standard gauge mainline and branch trackage completed, narrow gauge mainline trackage to be laid this summer but narrow gauge line will not be operational by convention time). A 10-track hidden staging yard that pulls out like a drawer when in use, then disappears under a town when not in use. Note that while the staging yard is complete and operational, the town over it will not be constructed until after the convention, thus the yard’s mechanisms will be fully visible. A whistle-stop station and water tank scenery section that flips over (via motor) to become just a section of wilderness. This “disappearing town” concept allows the same area to simultaneously serve both as a stop and a pass-through sceniced area, adding more “miles” to operating sessions. Thus even though a train will go through the same area more than once, the scene will change each time as will the action taken during operation. (Construction of this feature to take place this summer).

Operations Road Show

HO Group 3 (also the Picnic Location)

This modular constructed layout features TT & TO operations on 55 miles of the Wabash Montpelier Division’s Second District between Peru and Lafayette, Indiana. Designed with unobstructed access to fit into the typical hotel ballroom at NMRA National Conventions, a unique aspect of the modules is that they are double-sided; doubling the running length and with about one foot of depth to the modeled scene. The layout had its public debut in July 2003 at the Maple Leaf 2003 NMRA National Convention in Toronto. It also was displayed at the Cincinnati Convention. Intensive research for the layout included a detailed list of “Givens and Druthers” used to make design decisions. The layout was written up in the February 2006 issue of Rail Model Journal.

Skip McDonald

HO Group 3

The Mackinaw & Western models a fictitious bridge line in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula based on the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic in the 1950’s. The modeled portion of the line begins in Mackinaw City on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, with the crossing of the Straits of St. Ignace modeled with the car ferry Chief Wawatamon a pivot arm crossing an aisle, and stretches to Ishpeming and Marquette in the UP.

Thomas Lendzion

O Group 1

The NYC Ypsilanti (MI) branch is a loose copy of an agricultural line which emphasizes switching, with 2 man crews assigned to locals. A yardmaster and a road crewman round out positions. I can accommodate approx. 6 people per session. The line models Southeast Michigan from Ypsilanti to Cement City, with 3 towns in between. All industry is modeled on the actual customers on the prototype.

South Oakland County Model Railroad Club

HO Group 1

We are modeling the Grand Trunk Western, Holly Subdivision from Milwaukee Junction (Downtown Detroit) to the city of Durand during the transition period. The layout is a two level design with two helixes and wide aisles. It is designed to be a point to point layout but has turnaround capability at each end. The upper level of the layout is single track representing the more rural areas with a few switching areas. Double track begins at the upper entrance to the main helix and represent the more industrial areas from Pontiac to Detroit. Our goal is to be as historically correct as feasible.

Dave Regittko

HO/HOn3 Group 4

Two division RR with division point yards, engine servicing and industrial switching. Four online towns, with much switching, staging for 16 trains at each end of the RR. Some HOn3. ABS signals, helper grade where trains won’t make the hill w/o helpers. Most switches are powered. CTC80 control. Need 12 operators for full session, can run with any number.

John Orminski

HO Group 4

Around the Walls with 3 Peninsulas, two level, two laps to complete. Large freight yard and engine terminal area. Diverse scenes, Dale Jct (WY) and German-themed towns. All Peco track and turnouts (approx 50) all powered.

Detroit Model Railroad Club

O/On3 Group 4

Easily one of the country’s oldest model railroad clubs, the Detroit Model Railroad Club was founded in 1935 and the Detroit Union Railroad has been located in its current home – a converted movie theater – since 1974. The railroad is 2 rail O scale and has 3500 lineal feet (32 scale miles) of hand laid standard gauge track with over 100 feet of On3 track under construction. The sloping floor of the old movie house allows the layout to be on two floors of the building with over 7 feet of elevation change and scenery topping 8 feet in some locations. And construction is not for the weak; access to some areas is by walking on the track! The 8 ½ mile long mainline is 50% double track and 50% single track with a ruling grade of 1 ½ % and there is a 2 ½ mile long branch with a ruling grade of 3% tying end to end with the narrow gauge line. Train control is by verbal train orders and radio controlled DCC. The railroad features 18 double ended staging tracks accommodating trains from 30 to 50 cars in length.

Roger Parry

HO Group 2

Roger Parry's large layout occupying his entire basement. Modeling the Great Northern in Washington, this single-level layout features five major towns each in a separate room. Specific scenes include a bay on Puget Sound, and the Cascade Mountains. Only steam locomotives are allowed on Roger's layout! Tall duck-under. Large staging yard; operations by waybill.


Directions for Sunday and Thursday Layouts

(see above for dates and times) Here are sketch maps to Doug Tagsold's layouts and to the Blissfield Club layout: