2012 Gatlinburg Convention

This convention will be the first SER's convention in the heart of both Tennessee's and the National Park Service's premier visitor's area. Located in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the convention site is right at the north entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Within an hours drive is Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, Townsend, Knoxville, Cherokee and of course all of the Smoky Mountain National Park.

You will have ample time before, after and during the convention for you to enjoy Gatlinburg's shops, arts and crafts driving tour, outstanding restaurants or just relax. Plan to attend now and you will see why we say - "Arrive Early - Stay Late". Enjoy your journey through our site and we will see you at the convention.


Convention Information Contacts

  • Larry Burkholder - Gatlinburg Convention Chairman - Email
  • Joe Gelmini - SER President -Email
  • SER Ladies Program Chair - Kathy Gelmini - Email
  • Gatlinburg Ladies Program Chair - Marge Burkholder - Email
Event Date: 
Friday, June 1, 2012 (All day) - Sunday, June 3, 2012 (All day)


Lodging and convention venues will be at the Glenstone Lodge in downtown Gatlinburg. Information will be posted as it is finalized. Rates will be $75 + tax per night. These rates will be in effect until May 1, 2012. After that the rate will be available only on room availability.

The rate will be in effect for 3 days before and after the convention for those who wish to spend additional time in Gatlinburg.

Contest/Display Room

Model Contest

Download and fill out Entry form #901 and Judging form #902 prior to bringing them to the contest room.

Photo Contest

Besides the normal ribbons, there will be four (4) NMRA Photo Chairman’s Awards, one in each of the four categories in photography. No slides. The categories are:

  • Black and White Prototype Print
  • Color Prototype Print
  • Black and White Model Print
  • Color Model Print

Download Entry form #901 and have one filled out for each entry prior bringing entries to the contest Room. Please go to NMRA.org and click on Contests, then Photo Contest for the entry rules.

Convention Theme Contest:  Logging

Anything having to do with logging

New Contest:  Same Building?

See the offical entry rules. This entry requires the Entry form #901. NOTE:  If you wish to have either of these models judged for AP, please have a completed Judging form #902 attached.

Model Show Case/ Popular Vote

The Model Show Case includes any railroad or rail related models of any scale as well as Arts and Crafts. This is not a competition! Modelers are encouraged  to display their models IN ANY FORM, from concept to finish.  There will only be a popular vote for models in the Show Case Room. You will still need to down load and fill out entry form #901 for each model/craft.  Be sure to check the Show Case Box.


Form #901 Entry Form

Form #902 Judging Form


See the attached registration form.  The deadline for early registration is May 1, 2012

The convention hotel for the 2012 Convention is the Glenstone Lodge. Please make your reservations directly and ask for the model railroad convention rate of $75/night. Rate is good three days before and after convention dates.  Phone: 1-800-362-9522 Web Site: www.glenstonelodge.com

Prototype Tour Information

Dollywood Engine Facilities & Operations

Dollywood, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the United States, operates a tourist train that carries up to 600 passengers on a twenty minute dog-bone round trip excursion through the park and the surrounding wooded hills that includes a 6% grade.  The park maintains two 2-8-2 narrow-gauge locomotives that were obtained from the White Pass & Yukon Railroad.  A tour has been arranged for us to hear about the operation, visit the maintenance facilities, examine the idle locomotive, ride the train, and have photo opportunities.  Two tours will be conducted on Saturday, June 2nd - one at 9 am and another at 1 pm.  There is space for 45 attendees on each tour on a first come first served basis.  There is a $10 transportation fee to offset the bus cost.  This tour is expected to fill up fast, so get your registration in asap. 


Clinic Schedule



June 1


80 Seats


125 Seats


25 Seats

10:00 am – 11:00 am


Walt Liles

Bruce DeYoung

11:00 am – 12:00 noon


Phil Brooks

Dr. Fred Alsop

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Paul Boehlert ?

Allen McClelland

Rick Bell

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Bob Beaty

Charlie Crawford MMR

Dave Housman

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Dr. Joe Nichols, Jr.



Paul Locher





7:00 pm – 9:00 pm


Keller, Sassi & McClelland








9:00 am – 10:00 am

Rick Bell

Lou Sassi

Joe Norris

10:00 am – 11:00 am

Ben Bartlett MMR

Allen McClelland

Gordon Fewster





1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Allen Keller

Lou Sassi

Larry Smith

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Phil Brooks

Steve Prevette

Bill Ello

3:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Bruce DeYoung

Rick Turner

Troy Hight


Sidetracks Non-rail Activities

Sidetracks Non-rail Activities

Highlander 2 Room

Friday, June 1

10:30 am Clinic: Simple Karate Moves for Self Defense – Gail Scarborough

   2:00 pm Clinic: Jewelry Making for Beginners – Kelly Nichols

   7:00 pm Special Presentation 

“Quilt Authenication” by Merikay Waldvogel

Please join us in the Hospitality Room for an interesting and informative presentation by  this acclaimed quilt historian and author.  Ms. Waldvogel is recognized as an expert on  quilts of the 20th century quilt revival.  Her  book Soft Covers for Hard Times:  Quiltmaking and the Great Depression is the key work on mid-20th century quilts and  quiltmaking.  She has also co-authored and collaborated on many books and lectures  frequently to quilt guilds, historical societies and museums in the area.  Ms. Waldvogel was inducted in 2009 at the Quilters Hall of Fame Triple Anniversary Celebration.

If you have any family heirloom quilts or just “old” quilts that you would like to know more about, please bring them with you for Merikay to comment on.

Saturday, June 2

8:15 am

Titanic Museum Tour, Lunch, & Shopping
Adult $35  (See registration form, deadline 5/18)

Board the bus in front of our hotel and we are off to Pigeon Forge, Tn.  Just up  the road a piece, our first stop is the Titanic Museum.  This giant 30,000  square foot ship shaped attraction has one of the largest permanent collections  of Titanic artifacts and memorabilia.  On our 2 hour, audio, self-guided  experience you will receive a passenger/crew boarding pass, see 400 real  artifacts, touch an iceberg, and walk a full scale Grand Staircase that leads to a  first-class state room.  Come experience what it must have felt like to be an actual passenger aboard the Titanic.  Check it out at:          www.TitanicPigeonForge.com .


Lunch at The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grill  (Not included in price)

Located in the Old Mill Square, the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grill is one of the finest and picturesque dining experiences in the Smoky Mountains.  Afterwords, browse around the other shops at The Old Mill Square: Pigeon River Pottery, Candy Kitchen, Creamery, Toy Bin, Farmhouse Kitchen, and Sassafras.  Built in 1830 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Mill still grinds daily on a giant water-powered wheel.  The General Store sells fresh-ground grains plus flours, pancakes and biscuit mixes, homemade syrups and jellies, and unique Smoky Mountain gifts.  Go to www.oldmillsquare.com .

Return to hotel by 4:00 pm.

Clinic Descriptions


Pulp & Paper Industry: Railroads Supplying the Mills

by Walt Liles(Friday, 3 pm, Azalea)

Will take a look at the variety of railcars used to transport pulpwood, woodchips and other raw materials. Most of the presentation will consist of southeastern railroads and how they got raw material to the paper mills. We will also will be discussing some of the paper making processing so you get a better understanding the need of the raw materials.


Modeling Slate Roofs

by Bruce DeYoung(Friday 10 am, Highlander 1)

Because slate was used as a roofing material over a wide geographic region, there are many modelers who will want to have slate roofed structures on their layouts.  This clinic, an extension of the clinicians article in the May 2009 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman, will look at how slate roofs were/are constructed in the real world, and ways to simulate them on models.


Modeling Eastern Log Cars

by Larry Smith(Saturday, 1 pm, Azalea)

Self descriptive.  From an article in HOn3 Annual 2010.


Hand-laying Track Work

by Paul Locher(Friday, 4 pm, Highlander 1)

This clinic is in two parts. In Part I, the items you will need for hand-laying trackwork will be discussed. In some cases, items are available commercially and in other cases information is given for making the items yourself. In Part II, the use of these items for hand-laying trackwork will be covered. All the tools, jigs, templates and materials described in Part I are used to do the work described in Part II.


Modeling Tips & Tricks

by Bruce DeYoung  (Friday, 2 pm, Dogwood 1)

Ideas to make modeling easier and more enjoyable.


Trendsetting: The V&O Story

by Allen McClelland(Friday, 2 pm, Azalea)

The Virginian & Ohio RR's background,concept,track planning consideration, computer designed  benchwork,construction techigue, lighting, staging, and operation. A ward winning photo tour of the Afton Div.and Gauly Sub Div. has many excellent ideas for your railroad.


After Market Sound Installations in Locomotives

by Rick Bell(Friday, 2 pm, Highlander 1)

An SD40-2 will be used for an example.


Modeling Water, Water  Falls, and Special Wet Effects on a Model Railroad

by Bob Beaty(Friday, 3 pm, Dogwood 1)

There are several reasons to model water on your layout.  Water was here first as rivers and streams and the railroads followed their paths of least resistance to traverse the terrain.  Modeled water (rivers, streams swamps, marshes or puddles) add a scenic touch, getting a lot of “oohs” and “ahs” from your visitors.  A river or stream also justifies that bridge you built.  Modeling water can be intimidating to some but is fairly easy  and adds life to a scene.  There are several different techniques and materials available to model water in its various forms (running, leaping, falling, standing, sitting, deep or shallow)  This clinic will explore the various techniques and demonstrate several of the easier methods to add a stream to your theme.


Modeling the Circa 1900 Logging Scene

by Charlie Crawford (Friday, 10 am, Azalea)

What's available, what can be kit-bashed, and what can be scratch-built.


Operations of the CD&P

by Dave Houseman & Ned Burgess(Friday, 3 pm, Highlander 1)

A guide of the Chicago, Denver, & Pacific Operations from inception to the present. Covering where, how, & why to start a operating layout.


Stamp Mills & Associated Structures

by Dr. Joe Nichols, Jr. (Friday, 4 pm, Dogwood 1)



The V&O Today (K&M Sub Div.)

by Allen McClelland (Saturday, 10 am, Azalea)

The Virginian & Ohio RR is currently operating conjunction with Gerry Alber's Virginian Railway. We have created a segment of the V&O's main line between Gauly and Dickinson WV. At Alloy a small yard with interchange with VGN and C&O, industries to be switching and a mine
run to pick-up coal for a barge loading dock.


Creating the Whistle Stop Cafe

by Dr. Fred Alsop(Friday, 11 am, Highlander 1)

Detailing the steps in kitbashing an HO scale trackside diner ifrom a RTR Roundhouse woodside diner car will be presented .The completed model will be exhibited and all questions about it's construction will be answered by the modeler.


How to Choose a Speaker for Your Sound Installation

by Rick Bell(Saturday, 9 am, Dogwood 1)

Various examples and options will be discussed.


A Model Without Peers

by Lou Sassi(Saturday, 9 am, Azalea)

In this clinic, while discussing three different modeled scenes,  Lou will explain how, by better understanding the workings of  the subjects depicted, the modeler can apply more realistic modeling techniques to a structure or scene.


Transfer Table for Staging

 by Joe Norris(Saturday, 9 am, Highlander 1)

This clinic presents construction and powering for a transfer table adequate for staging in scales HOn3 and smaller. It includes a simple technique that can be used for precise positioning of any moving mechanism. Demonstration and detailed handout are included.


Modeling Delaware, Lacawana, and Western Wooden Milk Cars

by Ben Bartlet (Saturday, 10 am, Dogwood 1)

Self explanatory


A Primer on Signals: Prototype and Model

by Gordon Fewster(Saturday, 10 am, Highlander 1)

A brief summary of signal history, types and aspects common on the prototype and some thoughts on adding signals to a model railroad.  The model application discussed does not use a computer for signal logic and can be used with either regular DC or DCC.


Passenger Operations on the Bluff City Southern

by Allen Keller(Saturday, 1 pm, Dogwood 1)

How the passenger operations were developed and run are handled on Allen's Bluff City Southern 1950's era layout.


On to Kingfield

by Lou Sassi(Saturday, 1 pm, Azalea)

In this clinic Lou will explain the design and construction of an On30 scale spring scene in Maine on the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad.  Included in his discussion  will be the use of Styrofoam as a scenic base along with commercial and local vegetation to replicate leafless hardwood trees and brush.  He will explain how to create the wet, rutted look dirt roads and parking lots acquire during early spring in the Northeast along with the use of the craft store product “Modge Podge” for snow piles and Scenic Express’s new electrostatic “Grass Master” to create standing field grass.


The Beautiful Elkmont Country

by Rick Turner (Saturday, 3 pm, Highlander 1)

An in depth look at how railroads forever changed the Great Smoky Mountains, specifically the Elkmont area and the way people lived there.


Forecast Weathering: Typical Patterns for Plausible Freelance Weathering

by Phil Brooks  (Saturday, 2 pm, Dogwood 1)

Using prototype and model photos from some of the hobby’s best weathering gurus as examples, this clinic shows  methods to weather cars, locomotives, and structures when no exact references are available.



Establishing Operations on Your Model Railroad

by Steve Prevette(Saturday, 2 pm, Azalea)

Simple and proven techniques for starting operations on your railroad.


Boy Scout Merit Badge Program Workshop

by Bill Ello(Saturday, 2 pm, Highlander 1)

A review of the necessary requirements and materials for starting a BSA merit badge program and several program templates to follow.


Designing Modern Freight Yards for Operations – What Are All Those Tracks For?

by Phil Brooks(Friday, 11 am, Azalea)

An overview of prototype freight yard designs applicable to model railroading, with practical ideas to compress important features to fit limited spaces. Includes handout for all yards discussed in the clinic, and bibliography.


Modeling Maintenance of Way Equipment

by Troy Hight(Saturday, 3 pm, Highlander 1)

Home Layout Tours

Ten home and club layouts have been identified for tours.  Because Gatlinburg is in a remote place and travel to and from can take time, all layout tours have been scheduled for Sunday after the convention is over when you can stop by on your way home or just enjoy the day if you are staying over for a little vacation.  Descriptions and maps are in your registration package.  All layouts will be open from 10 am to 3 pm Sunday.

  • Allen Keller's “Bluff City Southern”
  • Dave Houseman
  • Phil Brook's “Clinch River”
  • Doug Shea
  • Don Niday 
  • Tom Hunt 
  • Mountain Empire Club
  • Knoxville Area Model Railroaders Club
  • Marysville Model Railroad Club

A New Model Contest You Might Want To Enter At This Year's Convention

Because no two modelers will build the same model exactly the same, this competition will allow you express your own creative abilities. There are no restrictions to style, type or materials used in building the model. It can be built to scale and prototype, or not, so it can be used on your layout after the contest. 


1. The structure can be built in any scale, but must adhere to the basic dimensions shown in the plan.

2. The base that the structure sits on is to be a maximum size of 40 scale feet by 20 scale feet. The footprint of the structure is 10 scale feet by 20 scale feet. For example in HO, the base would be a maximum of 5-3/8" X 2-3/4" and the base of the structure 1-3/8” X 2-3/4”

3. The structure may have as many doors and windows, etc., wherever you choose to place them. You may also add porches, chimneys, attached lean-to, fences, a fully detailed interior and any other details unique to your building. Figures, animals, vehicles and scenic details can be included.

4. If a walkway or a porch is added to the front, the maximum allowable width is 6 scale feet.


Schedule of Events

Check back often to see the updated schedule of events in Gatlinburg.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

4:00 pmRegistration Open (Lobby)
5:00 – 6:30 pmWelcome Reception (Azalea)

Friday, June 1, 2012

8:00 amRegistration Opens (Lobby)
9:00 amSER Board Mtg. (Dogwood 1)
 Sidetrack Hospitality Opens (Highlander 2)
10:00 am


 Liles - Pulp & Paper Industry, Railroads Supplying the Mills(Azalea)
 DeYoung -  Modeling Slate Roofs (Highlander 1)
10:30 amSidetracks Clinic      Gail Scarborough – Simple Karate Moves for Self  Defense (Highlander 2) 
11:00 am


 Brooks - Designing Modern Freight Yards for Operation (Azalea)
 Alsop -  Creating the Whistle Stop Cafe (Highlander 1)
12:00 pm – 2:00 pmLunch Break
1:00 pmSidetrack Meet & Greet (Highlander 2)
 Contest Room Opens (Dogwood 2)
 Company Store Opens
 2:00 pm


 McClelland - Trendsetting: The V&O Story (Azalea)
 Boehlert -           (Dogwood 1)
 Bell -  After Market Sound Installations in Locomotives (Highlander 2)

Sidetracks Clinic      Kelly Nichols – Jewelry Making for Beginners (Highlander 2)

3:00 pm


 Crawford - Modeling the Circa 1900 Logging Scene (Azalea)
 Beaty - Water, Water Effects, & Water Falls (Dogwood 1)
 Houseman -  Operations of the CD&P (Highlander 2)
4:00 pm 


 McClelland -        Trendsetting – The V&O Story(Azalea)
 Nichols, Jr. -       Stamp Mills & Associated Structures (Dogwood 1)
 Locher -  Hand-laying Track Work (Highlander 2)
5:00 pm Company Store Closes
 Sidetrack Hospitality Closes (Highlander 1)
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm  

Dinner Break

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm  


 Keller -  Conversation With Allen McClelland & Lou Sassi(Azalea)
 Open                   (Dogwood 1)
 Open                   (Highlander 2)
 Sidetracks' Program:  “Quilt Authentication” Merikay Waldvogel (Highlander 1)
 Registration Closes


Saturday – June 2, 2012

8:00 amRegistration Opens (Lobby)
 Contest Room Opens (Dogwood 2)
8:15 amDollywood Train Facilities Tour (Lobby)
 Sidetrack Titanic Tour (Lobby) 
9:00 amSidetrack Hospitality Opens (Highlander 2)
 Company Store Opens
 Contest Room Closed for Judging


 Sassi - A Model Without Peers (Azalea)
 Bell - How to Choose a Speaker for Your Sound Installation (Dogwood 1)
 Norris - Transfer Table for Staging  (Highlander 2)
 Company Store Opens
10:00 am


 McClelland - The V&O Today(Azalea)
 Bartlett -             (Dogwood 1)
 Fewster -  A Primer on Signals: Prototype & Model (Highlander 2) 
11:00 am – 1:00 pmLunch Break
1:00 pm   Dollywood Train Facilities Tour (Lobby)


 Sassi -   On to Kingfield (Azalea)
 Keller -  Passenger Operations on the Bluff City Southern (Dogwood 1)
 Smith -  Modeling Eastern Log Cars (Highlander 2)
2:00 pm 


 Prevette -   Establishing Operations on Your Model Railroad (Azalea)
 Brooks -   Forecast Weathering: Typical Patterns for Plausible Freelance Weathering    (Dogwood 1)
 Ello -    Boy Scout Merit Badge Program Workshop  (Highlander 2)
3:00 pm  


 Rick Turner - The Beautiful Elkmont Country (Azalea)
 DeYoung - Modeling Tips & Tricks (Dogwood 1)
 Hight - A Resource Guide To Modeling Maintenance-of-Way Equipment (Highlander 2)
4:00 pm Company Store Closes - Members Cash Out
6:00 pmPresident's Reception (Outside Pavilion)
7:00 pmBanquet (Azalea, Dogwood 1)
9:00 pm   Member Meeting (Azalea, Dogwood 1)
 Contest Room Open (Dogwood 2)
10:00 pmContest Room Closes
 Contestants Retrieve Models


Sunday – June 3, 2012


10:00 am – 3:00 pmHome Layout Tours (Self-guided Map)


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