Monday, April 25, 2022

PCR 2022

 The title refers to the Pacific Coast Region of the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), to which I belong, and to this year’s convention at Rohnert Park, California (near Santa Rosa). It took place last week, and I can assure you, just about everyone there greatly relished the chance to meet with old friends, enjoy clinics, layout touring, and prototype tours, as well as in-hotel activities like the contest room, sales room etc.

Like almost everyone else, PCR missed its last two annual meetings, so this was especially nice. I always enjoy NMRA regional conventions, for my region or those that are nearby, as the attendees are mostly people I know. As I usually do, I gave a talk, on tank car waybills and operation (see the handout at: ). 

We met at the local Hilton, named “Sonoma Wine Country,” where we also met in 2018. (Like many NMRA regions, PCR rotates the conventions among the various divisions in the region. This one was hosted by our “Redwood Empire” division.) The hotel’s comfortable lobby bar, where both meals and beverages were available, was a nice feature. (Hilton photo).

A large component of the convention was layout visits, of which there are a fair number in the area. A few photos will serve to highlight this feature of the convention.

I will just show a couple of scenes from one visit, Ron Learn’s Northwestern Pacific HO scale layout. First, an accurate rendition of Willits, California, including this view at the Commercial Street crossing, with the depot at right, and the California Western’s railcar no. M80 standing at the depot. I especially like the backdrop, effectively suggesting the typical Mendocino County hills.

Another nice detail at Ron’s layout was this scene of an underpass. There is a mirror, positioned perfectly in the center of the shadow under the bridge, making the road appear to continue onward, though in fact the bridge is nearly at the backdrop. Very nicely done!

I want to mention a model display at the hotel: a delightful project just getting going, a group of people including Dave Connery, Pete Birdsong and others, building modules for several towns along the San Ramon branch of the Southern Pacific in N scale. End to end, it is already over 20 feet long. Shown below is part of their town of Concord, California, with all structures scratchbuilt. This is already an impressive effort, and I look forward to seeing it as it progresses.

This was really a nice regional convention, and one I definitely enjoyed attending and participating. If you haven’t ever been to an NMRA regional convention, I bet you’d enjoy one if you tried it. Watch for the next one near you. I know I look forward to more of these!

Tony Thompson

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