It's been eleven months to the day since we reported any news. There just hasn't been much to say since the COVID pandemic interrupted our lives. Like other public gatherings, train shows dried up faster than a puddle on pavement on a hot summer afternoon in Memphis. The good news is we are starting to see signs of life. Today we posted the announcement for the TCA National Convention to be held in Burbank, CA in August. We expect more shows to announce their returns very soon and will post them on our Events page as we hear about them. In the meantime, feel free to let us know if you hear of shows returning and don't see them listed on our site.
The Train Collectors Association just announced in an email to members they are canceling this year's annual convention. It had been scheduled for the week of June 20th in Jacksonville, FL. The convention website has yet to be updated as of the time of this post.
This latest announcement pretty much makes the season a bust for train shows for people in the Mid-South area, as this was the last hold-out. Hopefully, we'll get this virus under control so people can feel safe again and we can get back to more normal life - and train-related shows and events.
Here's a quick recap of notable cancellations so far this season:
As of this moment, the only event currently listed for this area is scheduled for October. We'll let you know if that changes.
These are extraordinary times. Most of us probably never imagined having to spend so much time confined to our homes. It must be especially challenging for parents with children. Even in ordinary times, keeping kids interested in anything for an extended time is no small feat. At some point, kids get bored with just about everything - yes, even video games. The same can be said for adults, as well.
Building a small model train layout is a project your family can enjoy together during those times when nothing else seems interesting, and it will leave everyone with great memories and something tangible to enjoy for years to come.
All events scheduled through April have been canceled. As of now, the National Garden Railway Convention in Nashville is still expected to go ahead at the end of May. However, no new events with dates prior to June 1st will be posted.
Concerns over the strain of the coronavirus causing the disease COVID-19 are at the forefront of nearly everyone's mind right now. Organizers have canceled or postponed several prominent events as communties take steps to manage the spread of the virus. It is unclear what impact this will have on upcoming events posted on this website as the situation is evolving rapidly. Therefore, we encourage you to check directly with the event host on the status of any events listed on this site before deciding whether to attend. We will include links to the host contact information whenever possible.
Train season is starting to wind down once again. There are still a few activities on the books in case you are not ready to put the trains away quite yet. The TCA has two more shows in Germantown, one on the first Saturday in April and the other on the first Saturday in June. The Memphis Model Railroaders will host their spring open house event on the last Saturday in April. Over in the Nashville area, the Donelson Train Show is still scheduled for May 16th, though we're checking to be sure it is still on given the recent terrible tornado outbreak. We'll add more events as we find out about them. Let us know if you hear something.
Be sure to check out our Events page for more information and stop by one of the shows for a visit.
The town of Collierville held their annual Train Heritage Day event on August 10th celebrating the town’s railroad history. Hundreds of people came out despite the hot weather to see a large collection of model railroads and various railroad artifacts on display at both the Morton Museum and the historic depot in the town square.
The Casey Jones Chapter, TCA layout and other trains running for Train Heritage Day.
Three groups from the Memphis Model Railroaders were in Collierville to support the event. The Bluff City Benders and the Mid-South Garden Railway Society were set up with their layouts in and just outside of the depot. The Casey Jones Hi-railers were inside the Morton Museum running the local TCA chapter’s new O-gauge layout. In addition, several private individuals brought small layouts to show off at the event. There certainly was no shortage of trains running on that day.
A member of one of our groups, Kenny, suffered a serious health setback a few years ago that left him without the ability to walk. This presents a problem for Kenny and others with physical challenges because the train layouts are all on the second floor of the facility where they are currently housed. The only way to get to the second floor is by using the stairs.
If you're a fan of current three-rail trains, then the latest catalog from Lionel is worth a look. As a fan of everything upper midwestern (and by association all things Great Northern and BN), I especially like the "merger-scheme" AA set being offered with the new run of F7s. It features a leading unit in BN colors lashed up to a trailing unit in Great Northern's "Big Sky Blue" scheme. It's a treat by itself to see something in GN's short-lived blue and white scheme, as there hasn't been a lot of it offered in three-rail. This unusual diesel set offering is a welcome departure from the usual mass "re-runs" of the standard road names and paint schemes and makes my "must-have" list.
If these units actually make it through production, they'll fit in nicely behind my Amtrak F7s and add a whole new dimension to my Amtrak rainbow trains.
There's a lot to look at and like in the new catalog. Here's a link to the online version of the catalog on Lionel's site.
The above link is provided merely as a convenience to site visitors. There is no relationship between this website and any company, product or service.
A few months back there was a change in leadership of the Bluff City Division of the NMRA. Talking with Dalton Flowers, the new division assistant superintendent, some exciting new plans are starting to take shape with the division. The new division superintendent, Stephen Flowers, outlines some of his thoughts below on the NMRA and his division plans for the future.
One of the few known communities in the Bluff City area for model railroaders and train enthusiasts, the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), has been providing standards, fellowship, and love for the hobby since 1935. But it’s not just for the Memphis area. The NMRA has 18 regions and over 150 divisions in North America, Europe, and Australia, so whether you’re in London, England or San Diego, California, there is a NMRA Region and Division in your neighborhood! If you happen to live in the West Tennessee or North Mississippi area, you are in the Bluff City Division. This is one of the largest divisions in the Southeastern Region. In the past year our new superintendent, Steven Flowers, has taken over the division from Mike Fleming, who is currently in charge of the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum. Our plans for the future include holding monthly meetings and bringing an [NMRA] train show back to the Memphis area. Train-N camps are also in the plans. These are where members can sign up for clinics and are taught modeling techniques from experienced modelers. Hopefully with the presence of new members and the willingness to teach, we can build up the Bluff City Division of the NMRA successfully.