As stated in its Articles of Incorporation and through its IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt classification, the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club (NRMRC) is involved in educational activities related to railroads and the hobby of model railroading. A number of activities take place from time-to-time to further these objectives.

The NRMRC plans and schedules Clinics covering various topics related to model railroading, and which are intended to educate individuals in the various facets of railroads and the hobby of model railroading. These clinics may be held individually or as part of a model train show in which the NRMRC is participating. Click on "Clinics" at left or scroll down to the Clinics section.

The NRMRC also provides displays for various functions which show, for example, the relationship between the various scales available to model railroaders. Other activities are undertaken as appropriate and needed.

Current Schedule

Following is the schedule of currently planned educational activities of the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club:

Dates Times Location Event and Description




No events currently scheduled.


The North Raleigh Model Railroad Club presents a clinic at each of its monthly meetings on various model railroading topics. There is also a 5-Minute Modeling Tip at each meeting covering a specific topic that helps simplify common modeling tasks. The clinics are presented by various members of the Club as well as invited guest clinicians. Specific times, location and topics are detailed in the Meetings section on our News and Current Information page.

If you have comments or questions about these clinics, or have suggestions for other clinics, please Email Gewrry Foster, Chairman of the North Raleigh Model Railroad Club's Education Committee. Contact Gerry.

The following is a partial list of the Clinics available through the NRMRC for presentation. Additional topics will be covered as requested by members or others. The Club also has available various railroad related books and/or videos which may be checked out for a period of time.

Introduction to Model Railroading

This clinic is intended for anyone new to the hobby of model railroading or someone wanting to learn what the hobby is about. It will be very helpful for someone trying to decide in what scale to model, and other basics of model railroading. The topics to be covered are:

  • Scales (Z, N, TT, HO, S, O, G, etc.)

  • Gauge (standard = 4' 8-1/2", narrow = 36", 30", 24")
  • Era (early/late steam, transition, early diesel, 2nd generation diesel, contemporary)
  • Railroad Type (shortline, mainline, branchline, junctions, industrial, etc.)
  • Layout Style (point-to-point, loop-to-point, loop-to-loop, continuous, etc.)
  • Layout Format (table top, sectional, around-the-walls, modular, etc.)
  • Model Track Types (sectional, flextrack, handlaid)
  • Layout Planning (books, magazines, freehand sketches, templates, software)
  • Other (NMRA, NTRAK, etc.)

Benchwork for Model Railroads

Benchwork is what holds the model railroad up and provides a foundation for track, scenery and anything else that mounts on, under or otherwise to the layout. The topics to be covered are:

  • Benchwork Types (table top, open grid, plywood frame, L-girder, hollow core door, etc.)
  • Legs and Support System
  • Backdrops

Basic Electronics for Model Railroading

Using a number of readily available references, this clinic discusses items such as Ohm's Law, resistors, diodes, capacitors, diodes and power sources that modelers need to know. Practical applications of the principles are covered, including more advanced applications in the referenced books.

Modular Railroading — NTRAK and Other Standards

Layouts at Train Shows are generally built form modules, which are constructed to a recognized standard. This clinic discusses various standards for modules and modular layouts, beginning with the world-wide NTRAK standard. Other N Scale standards such as BendTrak, twiNtrak and oNetrak are also covered. Reference materials are provided. Home and club layouts can also be built to modular standards.

Building an Basic NTRAK Module

This multi-session clinic begins with a review of the specific NTRAK standards for building modules, leading to a list of materials needed for construction of a module. Participants then acquire the materials necessary to build the module of their choice in subsequent sessions, which includes construction of the module itself, laying track, module wiring and scenicking.

Building a Lightweight NTRAK Module

This clinic describes the construction of a type of NTRAK module that is lightweight, easier to transport and easier to scenic than thje Basic NTRAK Module described in the clinic above. Go to Lightweight NTRAK Module Construction for the description.

Introduction to Digital Command Control

Digital Command Control (DCC) is the latest evolution of model train control. The concepts, standards and available systems will be discussed. DCC operations will be demonstrated. Installation of decoders in locomotives will be demonstrated as will decoder programming.

Planning and Running a Train Show

This Clinic discusses how to plan and run the Club's participation in a Train Show. Participation in Train Shows achieves several purposes:

  • Education of the Public
  • Display Our Modules
  • Recruiting
  • Running Trains

Shows entail a considerable amount of work and planning. Topics included in this Clinic are the following:

  1. Planning
  2. Setup
  3. Operations
  4. Tear Down
  5. Superintendent's Reports

Railroad and Layout Operations

Fundamentals of train operations will be discussed and demonstrated. This includes prototypical railroad operations, including basic railroad rules. A method for routing of freight cars to various siding tracks will be discussed and demonstrated.

Building the Scenic Ridge Layout
Scenic Ridge Layout

Scenic Ridge by Woodland Scenics is a complete, state-of-the-art, N-scale Lightweight Layout Kit. It can be built as a stand-alone layout or an NTRAK Module. Scenic Ridge is fun to build, and anyone can do it! It contains a full-size track plan printed on the base and requires no power tools or complicated calculations. Weighs less than 25 lbs. when completed. Finished dimensions: 3' by 6'. The layout kit includes all products necessary to built the layout, except track, buildings and rolling stock. A track kit for the layout is available from Atlas and a set of building kits from Design Preservation Models (DPM).

This entire layout will be constructed from the kit in a series of sessions as follows. Note that each topic can take more than one session to complete.

  • Foundation of the Layout
  • Roadbed, Grades and Tunnels
  • Track
  • Rock Castings
  • Culverts and Roads
  • Structures
  • Finishing the Layout
  • Layout Operations

Following are some photographs of the construction of the Scenic Ridge layout taken the last time this Clinic was offered.

Scenic Ridge 1

Scenic Ridge 2

Scenic Ridge 3

Scenic Ridge 4

Scenic Ridge 5

Scenic Ridge 6

Scenic Ridge 7

Scenic Ridge 8

Scenic Ridge 9

You can also view a very detailed assembly of the Scenic Ridge Layout at

NRMRC Member Guidelines for Clinic Presentations at Club Meetings

Thank you for volunteering to do a clinic for your Club members. Below are some general guidelines to help you plan your clinic.

  • Initial Confirmation: As soon as you volunteer to do a clinic and are confirmed with the education committee, write up a small description of your clinic and submit to John Wallis for inclusion on the NRMRC web site.
  • Final Confirmation: At the meeting a month before your clinic presentation, confirm with the Education Committee chair or member that you will be doing the clinic as you had planned.
  • Suggested Length: Plan to keep your clinic to about a half hour if it is a lecture type, and no longer than forty-five minutes if it is a demonstration or interaction type. Run through your clinic at least once before the evening of the actual presentation.
  • Special Equipment: Plan to arrange for any special equipment that you will need, such as any a/v equipment.
  • Early Arrival and Set-up: Notify the host for the Monthly Meeting that you will be presenting a clinic, and work out what time to arrive for set-up. Determine how much space and what type of space that you will need for the presentation, and where in the host's house that you will make the presentation.
  • Special Help: Consult with other club members who share similar interests and skills with you and your clinic topic. You may want to consider some of their ideas or even do a team presentation.
  • Interest: Plan your presentation to keep it moving along and to keep the interest of your audience. Use props and cue cards, etc., as needed. As time is limited, you will not have much time to talk about a lot of detail and specifics.
  • Information: Consider having hand-outs or note sheets so your audience can take information back with them. Include any pertinent diagrams, brand names, prices, web site addresses, and so forth.
  • Atmosphere: Be relaxed. Ask for questions. Keep it fun and interesting, since it really is.
  • Follow-up: You will probably know about how your clinic went, but consider asking for feedback on your clinic, not just for yourself but also for future presenters. If you promised to find out additional information for someone who asks a question, be sure to follow up on it. Also consider how you may do a follow-up clinic at a later time. A member of the Education Committee will also follow up with you before the next meeting.

Should you have other ideas to add to or subtract from these guidelines, please talk with the Education Committee.


Apex NC Diorama

The Club is currently constructing a Diorama of the downtown Apex, NC area as it existed in the mid to late 1970's, featuring the tracks of the Seaboard and the Durham & Southern railroads, along with appropriate railroad buildings, industries and stores along Salem Street. Completion is expected in the late summer of 2012.

The Statement of Work (SOW)

Photographs of the Diroama will be posted in this location as the Diorama nears completion.

Junior Engineer Layout

One of our members, Joe Peacock, recognized a need when he heard children at train shows voicing the request "Please, please, I want to run a train", they would ask of Mom and/or Dad. This led Joe to conceptualize, construct and then operate a small portable layout — the Junior Engineer Layout (JEL) — that can easily be setup and used by non-club affiliated children at public train show events.

Click the link below for full information about the Club's Junior Engineer Layout, constructed by Joe to meet the need for a layout where children can operate a train (and their parents to photograph them operating) under the supervision of a Club member, and learn about railroading at the same time.

Other Activities

The NRMRC has set up layouts at various functions in the area, including nursing homes, retirement homes, civic organizations, etc. and the club is working to expand its presence at other types of facilities and events.

Displays at City/Town/Business Events:

Danville Old 97 Rail Days (Danville, VA)
NC Transportation Museum Rail Days (Spencer, NC)
Page-Walker Hotel (Cary, NC)
Selma Rail Day (Selma, NC)
Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke, VA)

Displays at Malls and Shopping Centers:

Cary Village Mall (now Cary Towne Center)
Crabtree Valley Mall (Raleigh, NC)
North Hills Mall (Raleigh, NC)
South Hills Shopping Center (Cary, NC)

Membership Time:

UNC Public Television — Festival

Monetary Donations:

Hurricane Floyd Relief Fund
Hurricane Katrina Fund
September 11 Firefighters Fund
Virginia Museum of Transportation (Roanoke, VA)

Model Railroad Conventions

National NTRAK Show & Danville Old 97 Rail Days (Danville, VA) 2010
NMRA MER Convention "Rails to Raleigh" (Cary, NC) 2006
NMRA MER Convention "Piedmont Crossing" (Cary, NC) 2011
NMRA National Train Show (Atlanta, GA) 2013
N Scale National Convention — Capitol Limited (Chantilly, VA) 2004
N Scale National Convention — Derby City Express (Louisville, KY) 2008
NTRAK East Convention (Alexandria, VA) 1996
NTRAK East Convention (Orlando, FL) 1994, 1998
uNcoNveNtioN — No Bull (Richmond, VA) 1999
uNcoNveNtioN — No Bull 2 (Richmond, VA) 2002

Other Displays and Train Shows:

Carolina Coastal Railroaders Show (New Bern, NC)
Carolina Piedmont Division 13, NMRA MER Mini-Meet (Cary, NC)
Seymour Senior Center (Chapel Hill, NC)
Clare Bridge of Cary Memory Care Facility (Cary, NC)
Duke University Children's Hospital (Durham, NC)
Eno Valley Model Railroad Club Show (Durham, NC)
Great American Train Show (Norfolk & Richmond, VA; Raleigh, Greensboro &
    Winston-Salem, NC)
Great Train Expo Show (Raleigh, NC)
Litchford Falls Healthcare/Rehabilitation Center (Raleigh, NC)
Lynchburg Rail Day (Lynchburg, VA)
National Train Day (Durham, NC)
Neuse River Valley Club Train Show (Raleigh, NC)
Science Museum of Virginia (Danville & Richmond, VA)
Southern Junction Model Train Show (Raleigh, NC)
Springmoor Life Care Retirement Community (Raleigh, NC)
Windsor Point Retirement Center (Fuquay-Varina, NC)
World's Greatest Hobby on Tour (Chantilly, VA)




Copyright © 1997–2018 North Raleigh Model Railroad Club. All rights reserved. The NRMRC is a Not-For-Profit Corporation incorporated in North Carolina. The various logos and heralds shown here are the property of their respective organizations.