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Rails to Raleigh



Special Awards

Arts & Crafts


Special Popular Vote

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Rails to Raleigh will feature both judged and popular vote contests that are part of all MER conventions. There will also be a special contest and award presented by the host Carolina Piedmont Division — Anything But A Station.

For those modelers who wish to have their work judged for the Achievement Program only, we will provide a separate table within the contest room. Your models will be judged when the model contest is judged

For security purposes large purses, shoulder/back packs, camera bags, etc. will not be permitted in the contest room.

Contests will be located in the Biltmore/Hope rooms at the hotel. The Contest room will be open for registration on Friday from 8:00am–9:00pm. Judging will be on Saturday from 9:00am–5:00pm.

All contest items must be removed from the Contest room by 9:00am on Sunday.



The categories for the judged Model Contest are:

Motive Power — Steam

Motive Power — Diesel


Freight Cars (Revenue)

Cabooses/Cabin Cars

Passenger Cars

Non-Revenue Cars

Structures — On Line

On-Line Display (Diorama)

Structures — Off Line

Off-Line Display (Diorama)


AP Only Judging of Models

For those modelers who wish to have their work judged for the Achievement Program only, we will provide a separate table within the contest room. Your models will be judged when the model contest is judged.

Modelers please note: Since January 2005 the MER allows anyone who wishes to help judge the model contest to do so and still enter a model in the judged model contest. Those who judge and enter must, however, excuse themselves from judging the category in which they have entered a model.

If you have questions you may speak with our Model Contest staff, including:

Ray Bilodeau

General Contest Chairman

Dick Landt

Model Contest Chairman

Roger Ossman

Photo and Arts & Crafts Chairman

Rita Lynam

Contest Administrator

They will be available in the contest room most of the time.


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Special Awards

The Special Awards, sponsored by various Divisions and other groups, are:

  • Best in Show — awarded to the model that earns the highest score in the NMRA judged model contest.

  • The President's Award — awarded to the best model of Maintenance of Way equipment.

  • The Anything But a Station Award — a popular vote award sponsored by CPD13.

  • The Pride of Dixie Award — sponsored by the James River Division, this is awarded to the best judged barn.

  • The Clyde Gerald Award — awarded to the best kitbashed model.

  • The Philadelphia Division New Model Award — awarded to recognize the highest score achieved by a first time entrant in the model contest.

  • The Marv Kershner Award — sponsored by the South Mountain Division, this award singles out creativity in modeling.

  • The Favorite Train Award — sponsored by the Tidewater Division.

  • The Blue Lantern Award — a privately sponsored award given to the judged model that contains not more than forty-five (45) percent commercial parts and which best represents branch line, short line or a private line operating equipment, and/or facilities.

  • The MER Narrow Gauge Award — a privately sponsored award given to the narrow gauge model that attains the highest score above eighty-seven and a half (87.5) percent in the judged model contest of AP judging only.

  • The MA and PA Modeling Award — for an entry in the judged model contest which depicts some aspect of the Ma & Pa Railroad.


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Arts & Crafts


There are two categories:

Rail Related

Non-Rail Related


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There are four categories:

  1. Prototype Photos – Steam Related — Images of prototype steam locomotives.

  2. Prototype Photos – Non-Steam — Images of any locomotives, rolling stock, structures, etc., except for steam related.

  3. Model Photos — Images of model railroads and related model items.

  4. Artistic Photos — Pictures that have been substantially changed in terms of composition or content through computer modifications or similar processes. Pictures or images that manipulate details or the overall image beyond the capabilities of usual modeling techniques or beyond truthful prototypical reference possibilities would go into this category. It also includes images that have had substantial changes such as cloning, layered images, collages, etc. performed. (This does not include minor modifications such as contrast, brightness, gamma, cropping and similar minor corrections. Digital or film pictures with these minor corrections may be entered in any of the first three categories, above.)


Judging will be by popular vote. Instead of just one vote, you will be voting for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each of the four categories. When the votes are counted, 1st place votes will count as 5 points, 2nd place as 3 points and 3rd place as 2 points. This system will aid in evening up possible differences created by varying convention localities and possible tilting of scores away from recognizing the quality images our members produce.

In addition to regular awards, a Best of Show award will also be chosen from all of the entries. A three-person panel, chosen by the General Contest Chairperson and the Photo Contest Chairperson at the convention from people who have experience in photography and/or publications, will select the winner of this award. If the Best of Show is one of the category winners, the rest of the images in that category will be upped one slot to fill all awarded slots.

Photography Contest Rules

  1. All current NMRA members are eligible to enter.

  2. Participants may enter up to five prints in each of the four categories. (Slides are not accepted.)

  3. The maximum size for each photograph is 96 square inches (i.e. the equivalent of an 8 x 12 photograph). The minimum size is 35 square inches (i.e. the equivalent of a 5 x 7 print). All prints must be mounted on a stiff mounting board. Maximum size for the mounting board is 154 square inches (equivalent to 11 x 14). Entries may also include an appropriate mask surrounding the image, not to exceed the mounting board dimensions. Entries may not be framed.

  4. Each participant must fill out the proper entry forms upon bringing the photos to the contest room. Participants should try to bring their photos in as early as possible within the convention's announced hours to facilitate the popular vote process. No entries can be accepted after the contest room closes for the standard model contest judging.

  5. Do not enter the same image(s) in more than one category. That includes changing a color image to a gray scale or vice-versa.

  6. Any image that won a first place or Best of Show award in a previous MER photography contest may not be entered again. If you change a previous first place-winning image from color to gray scale, or vice versa, it is still the same image and may not be entered again.

  7. The participants of the photography contests will be totally responsible for their images and will not hold the MER, the host Division or people connected with the contests liable for damage or losses.

  8. The Photography Contest Chairperson or an appointed representative shall make the final judgment on questions or questionable entries dealing with the Photography Contests.

  9. If your entry has won first place or best of show at the National Convention you may not enter it (but you can display it to show off your winning entry.

Make sure while at the Convention to stop in and vote. Even if you have not entered the contest, it can only help the camaraderie of model railroaders. The ballots will be available in the contest room after all entries have been accepted.

These rules are reviewed on a continuing basis by the Photography Contest Chairperson to see if the activity can be improved even more as time progresses. If you have questions or any suggestions, comments, etc., please contact Roger Ossman at or 3307 Englewood Road, Wilmington, DE 19810.


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Special Popular Vote
"Anything But a Station"

In this contest entrants will take the standard Atlas Station kit and turn it into something other than a station. This kit is available in N, HO and O scales, and any one of these can be entered in this contest. The Atlas catalog numbers for the kits are:


N scale kit


HO scale kit


O scale kit

These kits are readily available at your local hobby shop or from Internet dealers.

The photographs below show the May 2002 contest entries for the "Anything But a Station" contest held by the Carolina Piedmont Division. There were eight entries — seven in HO scale and one in N scale. The photos below include the name of the builder, plus who came in first, second and third in the vote. (Note to CPD13 members: These entrees may NOT be re-entered in the Rails to Raleigh contest.)

First Place — David Derway — N Scale

Second Place — Fred Platt — HO Scale

Third Place — Joe Getz — HO Scale

Mike Humble — HO Scale

Bill Cox — HO Scale

Jim Babcock — HO Scale

David Lynam — HO Scale

Tom Cook — HO Scale


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Last Updated:

October 23, 2005


John M. Wallis (Email to John)

This page and all contents are Copyright 2004–2005 by the Carolina Piedmont Division 13, NMRA MER.
(CPD13 is a Not-For-Profit Corporation incorporated in North Carolina.)
The various logos and heralds shown here are the property of their respective organizations.