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Milwaukee is the birthplace for the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) and clearly the proper place to hold the 75th anniversary. The convention registration topped out at 1,600 -- a significant improvement over the 1,000 in Hartford last year. In my opinion, both local committees organized and managed great conventions. The reduction in attendees is the result of the high costs since 2005 -- $175 registration fees, overpriced bus tours, expensive downtown hotels and costly convention centers.
  • The best news out of the NMRA convention is a change in management for the annual convention. The manager for the last decade retired and his replacement has started to evaluate every part of the NMRA convention. I predict big changes in the future. Every thing is under consideration to make the convention lower cost and more relevant.
  • This year, the social networking and instant web reports reached critical mass. All week, attendees were posting to Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo Groups, etc. The Model Railroad Hobbyist team was video taping clinics to post to the web. Cameras from Kalmbach, Scale Rails, MRH, Model Railroad News, Carstens, etc were everywhere. Video and stills were posted to many web sites. The many that did not attend, could almost feel like they were there.
  • Next year’s convention is in Sacramento and some of the committee members work in Silicon Valley. We may see some apps for your smart phone and updates sent out via text message. I certainly would appreciate that and so would many of the younger modelers.
  • Here is my quick overview of the National Train Show on YouTube:
  • In less than five minutes, see the convention from start to finish.