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Upoming National Train Show and NMRA convention

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Upoming National Train Show and NMRA convention
Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, April 02, 2017 7:40 PM

Finally, the NMRA convention and National Train Show will be close to home!

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I have a lot of questions for those in the know.

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The hotel given for the convention is the Rosen Inn on International Drive. Actually it is one of the several Rosen Inns on I-Drive, be careful making your reservations. The specified hotel is part of the Orange County Convention Center Complex. I will be staying at the Hilton Tower on the South side of the Complex. Is the convention actually in the Rosen Hotel, or is it in the convention center?

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My wife's 60th birthday is earlier in the week, so we will be on Daytona Beach for the first half of the week. We will drive to Orlando on Friday and spend Friday and Saturday night at the convention. Are the last three days of the convention the best? What will I miss?

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I know the National Train Show is on these days. Is the train show also in the convention center?

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Layout tours: I have seen many of the layouts listed on the convention tour list. A lot of these are a good distance from Orlando. How is that handled? Are there tour busses? Do you carpool? I think I will skip the layout tours.

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I go to a lot of Anime, Cosplay, and Wargaming conventions, but this will be my first Model Railroad convention. At the previously mentioned conventions we pretty much just hang out, drink, overeat, socialize, and dance or play games. I have a feeling this convention will be different than that. What should I expect?

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Thanks.

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-Kevin

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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, April 02, 2017 7:46 PM

Can't answer any of your questions but for those who are wondering when and where:

Orange County Convention Center
August 4 - 6, 2017

9800 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819

http://www.nmra.org/events/2017-national-train-show

Henry

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Posted by jrbernier on Sunday, April 02, 2017 7:51 PM

  Just go out to the NMRA web site for detailed information.  The NTS is at the convention center at 8100 International Drive, and is in the convention complex.  The hotel is a walk away.  You need to be a NMRA member to attend the convention, but the NTS is just an admission to get into.

Modeling BNSF  and Milwaukee Road in SW Wisconsin

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, April 03, 2017 4:07 PM

jrbernier
The NTS is at the convention center at 8100 International Drive, and is in the convention complex

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Thank you, that is what I needed to know. I am no longer an NMRA member, nor do I have any desire to be one again, but I will be hanging out on the grounds and attending the train show. Maybe I will meet some interesting people.

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Does anyone know if the NMRA convention is in the Rosen, or at the Orange County Convention Center. Hopefully it is at the OCCC. I tried the NMRA website, but they seem pretty tight-lipped about details on the public portion of the website.

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I have so many point with Hilton Honors that I need to burn them up somehow!

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-Kevin

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Monday, April 03, 2017 7:45 PM

The answer to where the convention will be held is there, but it is sorta buried

http://nmra2017orlando.org/HotelTravel/Hotel.aspx

If you have the time, attending a convention can definitely be worth it with all the clinics and other activities. If not, at least attend the train show on Friday. The show is normally open to just NMRA members on Friday morning, but you can get in at noon, which isn't much different.

Jim

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Posted by cuyama on Monday, April 03, 2017 8:33 PM

The location for the 2017 NMRA Orlando Convention (The Rosen Plaza Hotel) is listed twice on the NMRA's page for the convention:
http://www.nmra.org/conventions/nmra-2017-orlando

Personally, I think there is a lot more value in the clinics and tours at NMRA Conventions themselves -- the Train Show is just, well, a train show. But that's just my personal opinion.

Only the Train Show is at the Convention Center.

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Posted by Pukka on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 10:09 AM

Am an NMRA member, but the Amtrak trip is a distance from Wisconsin so I'll stay put. Perhaps next year, at Kansas City, assuming Trump doesn't shut down the Amtrak. The Greyhound would be a long and tortuous ride. Afraid of heights so an airline is not for me.Hmm

Dennis

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Posted by joe323 on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 11:48 AM

ctyclsscs

The answer to where the convention will be held is there, but it is sorta buried

http://nmra2017orlando.org/HotelTravel/Hotel.aspx

If you have the time, attending a convention can definitely be worth it with all the clinics and other activities. If not, at least attend the train show on Friday. The show is normally open to just NMRA members on Friday morning, but you can get in at noon, which isn't much different.

Jim

 

 

Not true I tried to visit the Cleveland show Friday morning and even with my membership card they would not let me in early.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 12:04 PM

joe323
Not true I tried to visit the Cleveland show Friday morning and even with my membership card they would not let me in early.

Members who paid to attend the convention.  You had to have a convention badge to get in before noon.  They will not let anyone in (except exhibitors) before the show actually opens (usually around 10am).  

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Posted by BMMECNYC on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 12:16 PM

SeeYou190
We will drive to Orlando on Friday and spend Friday and Saturday night at the convention. Are the last three days of the convention the best? What will I miss?

From past experience, you will miss 90 percent of the clinics, layout tours and prototype tours.  

There are two typically two types of layout tours.  One type is a bus takes you around to different layouts.  Lunch is typically included, and sometimes dinner if it is a long tour.  The second is self guided.  You pay $10 or so and they give you a book of layouts that are on the tour and the days and times they are open, scale of layout and a brief description.  

Prototype tours are bussed events.  Lunch is typically included.

If you are not a NMRA member, you will not get to participate in any of the activities except the train show anyway, so its kind of a mute point (unless they just changed that this year).  

Clinics start the Sunday evening before the NTS, there is also a dinner that evening.  The clinics and tours run throughout the week until Saturday evening.  Clinics are typically 60-90 min in length, and vary in scope and topic and type.  

They range from hands on building a model with an master model railroader to powerpoint presentation to slide show of old photographs.   Topics vary widely and you can get a sample of the types of clinics by looking up a past convention (I think Portland 2015 and Indianapolis 2016 are still online).  I got to go on the Tacoma Rail facility trip and the Indiana Railroad trip, both were interesting.  

Rule 108: In case of doubt or uncertainty, the safe course must be taken.
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Posted by ctyclsscs on Tuesday, April 04, 2017 2:14 PM

As BMMECNYC explained, I should have said NMRA members who are registered for the convention get into the show early. That's one of the benefits of attending the convention.

At the same time, it's just three hours earlier. It's not like 10,000 people storm the gates and buy everything before noon. Smile

Jim

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Posted by joe323 on Wednesday, April 05, 2017 6:23 AM

The NMRA did not tell me that when I called a few days before. Anyway it does not matter I enjoyed the NTS enough thst I will be in Orlando. We have a timeshare there thus my wife and her bff can do what they want while I attend the show.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, April 07, 2017 7:59 PM

Since I can only make the last three days of the convention, and apparently miss most of the good stuff, I guess I will concentrate on the National Train Show and take my wife out for a steak at Charley's up International Drive on Saturday night.

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-Kevin

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, June 23, 2017 8:16 PM

Alright, got my hotel room for the National Train Show. I had enough Hilton Honors points for 3 free nights in a pool view suite in the Hilton Tower at the convention center! I am only going to the train show, but hopefully I will meet up with a few like minded people in the lobby, convention walkways, or show floor. I attend MegaCon every year at the OCCC and the outside is always more fun than the inside. Hopefully train people are fun too.

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Who else will be there?

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-Kevin

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, July 30, 2017 10:28 AM

Alright... the week is here... finally. I will be in Orlando on Wednesday and hanging out as planned.

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I REALLY hope this will be a fun event for me.

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-Kevin

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Posted by BRAKIE on Sunday, July 30, 2017 11:25 AM

Kevin,For me the NTS is the best part of the convention since there will be manufacturers there with their new models and will answer questions and listen to any model suggestions.

Larry

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Posted by dknelson on Sunday, July 30, 2017 12:20 PM

For those thinking of attending an NMRA National in this or future years, a few suggestions from someone who worked hard as part of the planning and registration staff of the host Division for the 2010 National.  

First, anyone thinking they can register as walk-ins and take in the entire convention is likely going to be disappointed.  Layout and prototype and non-rail tours (if by bus) and operating sessions and most Special Interest Group events are booked and often filled well in advance -- I mean months, not weeks, in advance.  Some layout tours are filled by the prior spring if the layout is a famous one.  The downside to that is the layout tours are sometimes canceled if they are not close enough to being filled to warrant the expense of the bus, by late spring.  Some very fine Milwaukee layouts did not have layout tours because NMRA National was, in our opinion, so quick to cancel a tour, sometimes as early as the March before a July convention (as the host Division we had to beg for a few more weeks to try to make this or that tour a "go")!  That included nice layouts that had received pre-convention publicity in the magazines.  There are still some hurt feelings as a result.

There were also some special meals that were filled early by pre-registration and we had to face some seemingly angered people who felt deprived because they expected to have access to everything by registering as walk ins the day (or second day) of the convention.  I thought one person was going to become violent they were so angry --- they were a full hour late for a special picnic dinner, nearly all the food and all the beer was gone, and he was screamingly angry.  Pointing out the time on his ticket did not calm him down in fact it made him madder.  You run into all kinds ....

Anyway ... For those that wait too long to register, that pretty much leaves clinics, contests, displays, special events and meals, the banquet, and of course the Train Show, plus the incidental benefits of hanging around other modelers and making new friends.  I know we had a few folks register for a single day because there was just one or two clinics that day they wanted to attend.  Others wanted only to go to the banquet for reasons not clear to me.  I thought the banquet was the most forgettable part of the whole convention. 

As for the National Train Show perhaps we in Milwaukee are jaded because we have Trainfest.  I myself did not like the venue the NMRA chose for the convention or the Show but there is no denying the operating layouts, manufacturers and other vendors, make it a huge show.  Even the Lego layout is captivating.  If all you want is the Train Show that is usually physically separated from the convention itself, sometimes significantly so.  You won't get a full feel for an NMRA National just by going to the Show.

Even though I worked the registration desk for five straight days and went to no clinics or tours and had only one chance to sneak into the contest room (wow), and had to face the wrath of people who were unhappy with other aspects of the Convention, I certainly met some wonderful folks including many of the "celebrity" modelers.  Some of the NMRA leadership, including the President, at the time -- those folks I could do without.  Talk about rude.  The NMRA paid office staff who also worked at the convention, Jenny and some others - very nice. 

Dave Nelson  

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Monday, July 31, 2017 6:12 AM

Dave,

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I am no stranger to conventions, but this is my first Model Railroading event.

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The forums and clinics is a situation I am well aware of. If you want to get into the Game of Thrones room at Tampa Bay Comicon, you better be ready for an effort! I would assume the Pelle Selborg room would be the same at the NMRA.

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I have already seen/toured most of the layouts incouded in the convention, so no big deal about those.

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The National Train Show is near the NMRA convention hotel in the Orange County Convention Center. This is a BEAUTIFUL venue that I have been to many time before. The fact the actual NMRA convention is being held in the Rosen Hotel is a bit surprising, since the hotel is directly in the OCCC complex. I was expecting the NMRA to use the OCCC facilities.

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I am staying at the Hilton tower at the South end of the OCCC complex. I prefer this hotel, and I can walk to the Rosen. I plan just to hang out and see what is happening.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, August 02, 2017 8:15 PM

OK, so I walked to the "Rosen" hotel to check out the NMRA convention. Unfortunately I did not realize the NMRA was at the "Rosen Plaza", and I went to the "Rosen Center".

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Anyway... It was not a total loss. At the Rosen Center there is a convention of a Doll Crafter Assosciation. WOW! These people do some amazing work. Everyone was VERY friendly, and all were talkative and passionate about what they do. I love it when mistakes turn out good anyway.

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So, if you are at the NMRA convention this week, it might be fun to take a quick walk down to the "other" Rosen hotel and check out the craftsmanship on display.

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I will wander to the correct hotel and check out the NMRA event tomorrow.

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-Kevin

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Posted by nealknows on Thursday, August 03, 2017 7:04 PM

If you're coming to the National Train Show this weekend, the one thing that's missing from these posts is the ACTUAL location of the show. It's in West Concourse Hall E!! The OCCC is a huge complex and the signing in the area is NOT GREAT!!

I was at the show setting up and finding the hall was like finding a needle in a haystack, as the saying goes...

Neal

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Thursday, August 03, 2017 10:43 PM

I think the North Concourse is more difficult to find than the West one!

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Yes, the OCCC is HUGE, the second largest complex in the USA! I was really surprised the NTS was not in the South Concourse, that is the good one.

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I am not doing too good at being a model railroader community member right now. Never made it to the convention today. Spent the whole day in the Hilton swiming pool and lazy river! Lots of Brazillian and Italian tourists here. PWC is having their annual convention here, and I crashed their dinner social. Then I went back to the pool and drank a few margaritas.

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I did go to Colonial Photo and Hobby this morning.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, August 04, 2017 9:58 AM

Finally made it to the correct hotel this morning. Hung around in the breakfast area, ate a muffin, then made my way to the NTS venue.

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The train show opens to the public at 12:00 noon today according to the rude (censored) at the door. No need to be mean about it, I am just a member of the general public asking a question. Its not like you are at the door to Megacon and Stan Lee is on the other side. Its just trains guy.

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The train show room is at the very NORTH end of the WEST CONCOURSE on the lowest level. This is kind of the dungeon of the OCCC complex. It is as far away from the "heart" of the OCCC as you can be. It is very convenient for the NMRA members at the Rosen Plaza, but very inconvenient for everybody else.

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Amazingly, I have yet to run across a friendly person around the NMRA convention. This is a bit disappointing. One guy with a name tag that said "Engineer Jim" did smile at me. That was nice. I tried to strike up a conversation with a man who builds custom layouts, but was unsuccessful. Everyone is acting like they have somewhere VERY important to be. Weird. Its just trains!

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So, if you see me, (I am hard to miss, I am 6' 7" tall, weigh 300 pounds, and have a size 18 foot), please say hi and be friendly. I am here to meet people, buy trains, and have a good time. I don't have a name tag.

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-Kevin

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Friday, August 04, 2017 10:26 AM

I'm here in Orlando and my mom and I are planning to be at the show around 1:30-2:00. I cannot say how excited I am- this is my first train show! Any last minute things I should know? Like I said, I've never done this before, any tips or anything? 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, August 04, 2017 10:37 AM

I think for your first train show, you have probably picked a great one. I am on my way over as soon as I finish typing this.

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There are some very impressive operating layouts here, and lots af manufacturers. Since youa re here the first day, that is usually the best day. On Saturday and Sunday at these things you get the "curiosity crowd", and there is a different attitude in the air.

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Take your time and take it all in! I hope your day is wonderful.

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Since you are in Orlando, are you doing anything else? I hope so! You are right by everything from Walt Disney World to Ripley's Believe it or Not!

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-Kevin

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Posted by JamesNWR05 on Friday, August 04, 2017 9:40 PM

Needless to say, it was amazing. I was so impressed and inspired by everything I saw. Such an awesome opportunity. 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:11 AM

I had a great time.

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My wife was laughing at me all day. I met Tony Koester face to face, and she said I was like a teenage girl meeting a rock star! She is still laughing at me today. I said hey, that was the man that built the Allegheny Midland, one of the model railroads that had a high influence on me. She said I was blushing like a little girl. Oh well. It was cool. I also met Sam from Kadee, he was extremely friendly, exactly like you would expect him to be. The people from Woodland Scenics were all amazing with everything from their demonstrations to the quality of their booth. Walthers had a new switch machine and control system on display, and I I must say, it looked very promising. I have all the switches (turnouts) I need for my final layout, but I do not have a single switch machine. This new product was impressive.

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I did not meet with too many of the other manufacturer’s people. I am not the guy they want to talk to. I am not buying any more rolling stock, and I only need a few more structures. Things looked good. Westerfield, F&C, and Yarmouth were not there. Those are the only freight cars I will be buying now.

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For the only National Train Show I will ever attend, it was worth it.

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-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

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Posted by ctyclsscs on Saturday, August 05, 2017 11:53 AM

Glad you had a good time. How can you not when you're surrounded by model trains? Smile

But if you ever attend another one, please don't feel like most of us exhibitors only want to talk to potential customers. That would be very short-sighted on our part. We realize that not everyone is going to be buying something we offer.

Plus, we're reminded that we should also be serving as ambassadors for the hobby to everyone who attends a show like that. That means trying to be friendly to everybody. Of course, when things are hectic it can be difficult to speak to everyone at your booth, but it's something most of us should try to do. I've had many enjoyable conversations at shows that had nothing to do with our products or even trains.

I hope you get another opportunity to attend a similarly large show and meet more of us.

Jim

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Sunday, August 06, 2017 9:38 PM

ctyclsscs
Plus, we're reminded that we should also be serving as ambassadors for the hobby to everyone who attends a show like that. That means trying to be friendly to everybody. Of course, when things are hectic it can be difficult to speak to everyone at your booth, but it's something most of us should try to do.

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I always try to be very aware of how valuable other people's time is, and do my best to never waste time that belongs to someone else. The people from Micro-Trains were very pleasent and wanted to talk to me even after I told them I only model in HO scale.

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I love your point of view. If I ever do see City Classics, I will say hi. And... I do entend to buy many of the products you offer.

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-Kevin

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, August 07, 2017 6:05 AM

Kevin and Dave,

Thanks for you comments and experienced about the NTS.  I've wanted to go during the past 25+ years but since it has always been far away, it was something I havent been able to swing for one reason or another yet.

It does sound unfortunately like there have been some unpleasant encounters and considering the hobby includes a lot of grumpy or ill tempered older men, I guess that should not be a surprise.  Still, its a shame that happened so much.

The impression I'm getting is you need to really do your homework and plan ahead to get the most out of the NTS.  Ideally a first timer would be good to be led around by an NTS veteran if possible. 

Well some day!

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by BRAKIE on Monday, August 07, 2017 8:42 AM

riogrande5761
It does sound unfortunately like there have been some unpleasant encounters and considering the hobby includes a lot of grumpy or ill tempered older men, I guess that should not be a surprise

The same can be said about some of the "Holier then thou" younger modelers and that my friend includes my eldest Grandson whose hobby roots is Athearn BB and Roundhouse.

The last NTS I attended I walked around like I belonged and was admitted well before the doors open to the public.. Of course maybe it was the way I was strutting around.Surprise

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

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