Model Railroad Magic

The NMRA announced its "Build A Memory" initiative in early 2013 with the rollout to be in conjunction with the National Model Railroad Month on November 16. The plan called for NMRA members - using materials donated by various manufacturers - to present a seminar at a national home improvement store chain. The goal was to "... show our guests how to build the basics of a starter layout that the owner can either continue to expand or use yearly as a holiday memory with expansion in the future." The program was to be rolled out on a trial basis in three cities - one of which was Atlanta - but it never quite got off the ground, so The North Atlanta Rail Barons grabbed the ball and ran with it.

In early November 2013 during a casual conversation with a local Home Depot assistant manager, one of our members discovered that they were very interested in hosting such an event. At our next weekly get-together, our members discussed the possibility of actually doing this project, and we agreed to get started. In less than four weeks from concept to presentation, our members solicited and received donations of materials, model trains and track, scenery and buildings, from Home Depot, Athearn Trains, Bachmann Trains, Scenic Express, Woodland Scenics, and from local hobby stores Blue Ox Trains and Trainmaster Models. We used those materials - and a small cash donation from the Piedmont Division primarily for promotional materials- to build a completed layout and the basic start of a layout.

On December 7, 2013, the North Atlanta Rail Barons presented our new seminar - "Model Railroad Magic" - in conjunction with the very excited team at the Woodstock, GA Home Depot.  Based on the NMRA "Build A Memory" initiative adopted in early 2013 but delayed in implementation until sometime in 2014, the Rail Barons thought it was important to get the program into the public venue prior to Christmas 2013.

We constructed a complete 4-ft x 4-ft HO layout and an almost identical "under-construction" layout, and we used these two layouts at an in-store demonstration at Home Depot in Woodstock (in conjunction with its monthly "Kids Clinic") of how to build a model railroad layout.  Some 200-300 parents and children witnessed the demonstration, and WAGA-TV FOX-5 Atlanta did a feature story on their "Good Morning Atlanta" television program. FOX-5 thought it was so  important that they ran the story twice in the same program.

The completed layout has been donated to the Wellstar Foundation in memory of Michelle Lamb, the late wife of one of the Rail Baron's Founding Members.  This model railroad will bring years of joy and hope to hospitalized children at an appropriate location in one of Wellstar's local hospitals.

The North Atlanta Rail Barons are currently planning their second Model Railroad Magic project. Materials are on-hand, and we already have a recipient excited to receive the reulting layout.

Model Railroad Magic Layout Photos







Piedmont Division Logo           Southeastern Region logo           NMRA logo

Contact Information

If you live in the Cobb, Cherokee and Paulding County area and would like information on the North Atlanta Rail Barons, or if you would like to visit one of our operating group sessions, please contact Howard Goodwin, MMR below.

Electronic mail
General Information: Howard Goodwin, MMR

  Member Index

Charter Members

The following current members of the North Atlanta Rail Barons are Charter Members of the group:

Howard Goodwin, MMR

Charlie Brown, MMR

Al Churella

Rob Dodds

Perry Lamb

Walt Liles

Jim Travis



The following members have joined the North Atlanta Rail Barons during the last nine years.

Boyd Bender

Dave Butts

Brian Campbell

Steve Funsten

I. D. Jackson

Bill Mathewson

Conrad Mora

Bill Raymond

Brian Sandberg

Mark Thomann

Dean Webb

Bob Wood

Bill Zawacki, MMR


Former Members

Charlie Crawford, MMR was a Charter Member of NARB and former Superintendent of the Piedmont Division. He was the third member of our group to earn the award of Master Model Railroader. He is now participating in another local operating group.

Larry K. Smith, MMR was a charter member of NARB and now lives in Kentucky where he completed the requirements to become the fourth Master Model Railroader from NARB.

Louis Gomes was a long-term member of NARB, an excellent modeler, guru of the CV's and DCC decoders and wiring design. He was the group's first webmaster and is responsible for the design of our logo. Louis recently completed his education and was rewarded with a new job in Houston, TX.

Philo Hutcheson left us when he accepted a position with the University of Alabama Birmingham. He had built an excellent N-scale railroad prior to moving.

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