Model Railroad Academy sent me to Indianapolis this year to take in the 2016 NMRA National Convention and Train Show July 8th through the 10th. My primary interest in attending the show was to check out all the vendors and see what is new and exciting in the hobby this year. If you didn’t get a chance to make it to Indianapolis this year, here’s a taste of some of the great booths and vendors in attendance.
One of the things I liked most about the convention was seeing all the different scales represented. They had everything from from live steam Astor G scale all the way down to Z scale.
I was fascinated by all of the products available for G scale; I spoke to Bachmann, LGB, and Piko, and was told that the US market for G scale is huge and growing. O scale was represented by Atlas and Lionel – lots of cool stuff. S scale was being promoted by the NASG, or the National Association of S Gaugers. Of course Steve and I love S scale!
Aside from my HO favorites like Bowser, Broadway Limited, Funaro & Camerlengo, and Kato, there were the relative new-comers in the freight car market with fabulous details: Bluford Shops, Exact Rail, North American Rail Car, and Tangent Scale Models.
Scenery and detail parts are my favorites. Chooch, Model Tech Studios, Scenic Express, and Woodland Scenics had a lot to show.
Electronics are really big now and all of the DCC manufactures were there: ESU, Digitrax, Soundtrax, QSI, and TCS. Along with that group are the custom lighting vendors like Evan Designs, Microlumina, and Pricom Design. I’m hoping to see some great animation products soon too.
The scratch building and structure vendors are doing super work now with high tech equipment. I met with Bar Mills, City Classics, Hunterline, and JL Innovative Design and got to check out some of the new gear.
The overseas vendors are interesting to me. Hornby, Marklin, and Trix made the long trip.
Jeff Springer of Custom Model Railroads had a great booth. He has produced some tremendous work over the years.
Then there where the “standards” in our hobby which have become important to us all, such as Fast Tracks, Kadee Products, K&S Precision Metals, and NJI.
And of course there was the NMRA booth. As editorialized by Stan Getz, the NMRA president, the NMRA is looking to appeal to new and younger hobbyists as well as us in the “established” crowd. Preserving the long term health of the organization is important. After all it is “The World’s Greatest Hobby”!
I also got to take in Indianapolis Union Station – the first union station in the world, built in 1853!
The next National Conventions are Orlando 2017, Kansas City 2018, and Salt Lake City 2019. Mark your calendars!
Did you make it to Indianapolis this year? Let us know in the comments.