• NRHS Dues increase

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: Miketherailfan, rob216

  by mxdata
 
I was looking back at chuchubob's posting about the program Ed Sammler did at West Jersey Chapter and was trying to visualize how many years ago that was. Ed had a stroke four or five years ago and was seriously incapacitated thereafter, he passed away earlier this year.

Tri-State Chapter NRHS recently hosted a program on locomotive rebuilding and testing done by Preston Cook, who also worked for EMD. Tri-State and Jersey Central Chapters both hosted his INSIDE EMD program.

The only other current or former EMD employees I know of that have done presentations for museums or railfan groups in recent years are Joe Slezinger and Greg Palumbo, both in the Chicago area, I don't know if they have presented programs at any NRHS chapters.

Know of any others from locomotive builders that have been able to penetrate the NRHS? It is pretty hard to break into some of these groups, the local crowd of old geezers with the fungus infected Ektachromes tend to keep the doors locked against anything new or unusual.

  by mxdata
 
I heard recently that the NRHS library will be stored as a result of the loss of the Philadelphia office location.

MX

  by colorado
 
This is nothing new with NRHS, it just sounds like they have gotton so far out of touch that it is amazing they are still in existance. The problem of staying to their old mission and not trying new directions that had more relevance was clear in the Buffalo Chapter 30 years ago. There were a lot of great old guys in the chapter then that had clear memories of steam and the golden age of railroads but they had no interest in, thus the chapter had little tolerance for diesls, any form of preservation, preserving or publishing history etc. We definitely did have some grat programs at their meetings 30 years ago, many deisel related, but the focus was on steam fan trips and in 1980, total devotion to the convention in Toronto. One member had a disasemmbled BR&P depot he was silling to donate to the heritage museum in Williamsville but by the time the lawyers and the museum itself got done complicating the deal, it fell through, the older chapter members used it a something to point to as an aexample of why NOT to do anything ambitious. When several members wanted to get an old NYC diner out of an Iowa cornfield to bring home and restore, the naysayers came out of the wodwork to sqaush those efforts, thus the WNYHRS was born and grew. The WNYRHS dedicated itself to preservation largely and aquired other equipemtn and some staions, and at first teh NRHS leadership in the Buffalo chapter put editiorials in their chapter publications to warn of the dangers of getting equipment and try and placate the members they could who were not renewing and defecting to the WNYRHS. After a long period of time, unable to deny they were loosing the battle, the Buffalo NRHS decided they too had to get involved in preservation and made succesful projects up in North Tonawanda. I recall at the time I was in WNYRHS and was talking to some officers at Buffalo NRHS.....I told them that there was anoterh piece of railraoding that was being ignored, the history, gathering and cataloging info and memorobelia, publicatiosn etc. Nothing much then was being done, yet thei was Buffalo NY, the second largest rail point in the US, yet it was a black hole for coverage in publications.

This was not an example of a chapter that broke away from national, this was similar, a large group of members who let mebership lapse and succesfully formed a seperate group as has been done otehr places. Some NRHS chapters that break from national may wither and die, but with the right members, leaders and focus they may also thrive, other alrqdy have done so.

If they go on with little changed, increase dues and focus on holding overpriced conventions, I can't see them surviving much longer either.

  by BobH
 
mxdata wrote:I heard recently that the NRHS library will be stored as a result of the loss of the Philadelphia office location.

MX
The NRHS Library is now in Three Rivers, Mass and is being managed by a member of the society who also is a professional librarian. The storage conditions are much better than they were when the library was in the Robert Morris Building in Philadelphia.

NRHS had to move out of the Robert Morris building on relatively short notice because the building was sold and is being converted back into a hotel.

Bob H
  by mxdata
 
I recently saw the new NRHS membership brochure, nicely illustrated with lots of photos of steam locomotives.

MX
  by mxdata
 
Heard at a chapter meeting that O&W recently dropped their affiliation with NRHS. It was mentioned that difficulties involving the systems and procedures put into place in the new membership administration system contributed to this. There has been a lot of discussion at several local chapter meetings lately about whether they want to continue to be a part of NRHS or whether they should go independent like the Amherst Railway Society.

MX
  by Steamtown Observer
 
From what I'm hearing, there are at least 3 other active chapters that will break their NRHS affiliation before the next dues cycle. Let's face it, if you are an active group what does the national buy you? A magazine that is behind schedule and a real hodge-podge of unrelated topics and "first crack" at the National Convention which has become an increasingly expensive event to attend. Aside from the hassle that the O&W found with trying to comply I understand there were a lot of complaints about the cost (dues) of National membership.
  by mxdata
 
Yes those are the rumors here too. Additionally there has been a lot of comment about the near total preoccupation with steam locomotives in NRHS membership materials and national convention events and programs. It was pointed out recently that there has been a lack of diesel specific agenda at national conventions for over a decade while the railroad enthusiast population has become heavily diesel oriented. Then at a recent chapter meeting several elderly members who have been long time NRHS members and supporters unexpectedly opened up with a scathing criticism of the mid-summer scheduling of the national conventions, and pointed out how difficult and uncomfortable this choice of timing makes these events for elderly people.

MX
  by Steamtown Observer
 
Frankly, I believe the NRHS will cease to exist within the next 5 years. I would like to see some kind of organization to help all of the railroad specific groups (C&OHS, ELHS, UPHS, etc.) as well as the independent groups (Amherst) so that they could exchange information of interest to all and perhaps share resources (printing, membership services, meeting info, etc.). Nothing as big or unresponsive as the NRHS but a way to tie these groups together when there are common interests concerning railroad history and preservation.
  by mxdata
 
It is amazing that with their monthly meetings dependent on programs the NRHS has never developed a central database of programs and presenters to share between chapters. The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) does keep such a list, they seem to make good use of it.

The NRHS NEWS arrived recently with a pretty good article by their Director of Membership Development, giving suggestions for the chapters to attract and retain members. However he misses one central point that you hear being mentioned frequently by younger railroad enthusiasts. Modern railfans are not impressed at all by the NRHS' near total infatuation with steam locomotives in all their membership materials ("Steam on the Range", anyone?). You have several generations of diesel railfans out there now who view the preoccupation with steam in the NRHS membership flyers as proof that they are a bunch of dinosaurs, and the failure of NRHS officers to realize it tends to prove that they are.

So with this in mind, here is a theme suggestion for their final convention, whenever it is eventually held. How about:

"Steaming to Oblivion". :wink:

MX
  by Noel Weaver
 
I think the days of the national NRHS are probably numbered. Who know just how long at this point?
I think the better chapters that have responsible programs and a purpose will do just fine without the national organization.
The others can survive as more or less railroad social organizations.
Chapters that have their meetings on a sunny Saturday afternoon when its members could be out with their cameras etc
probably will not survive.
National positives:
The rail camp programs for young people
Programs to encourage young people to engage in our hobby.
National negatives:
Uncertain situation with the bulletin and missing for long periods of time.
Convention which is extremely expensive and caters to a relatively small number of participants.
Leadership which is often not responsive to current conditions in the hobby.
I have been a NRHS member for a long time, think it hits 40 years this year or next. Sadly, I am considering dropping it
although I like my home chapter which is the Western Connecticut organization. One more dues increase will probably end
it for me.
Noel Weaver
  by BobH
 
[quote="mxdata"]It is amazing that with their monthly meetings dependent on programs the NRHS has never developed a central database of programs and presenters to share between chapters. The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) does keep such a list, they seem to make good use of it.

MX[/quote]

Not quite true:

Anyone who has ever taken a careful look at the NRHS web page knows that NRHS has a film library and makes these films available to chapters at no charge.

Many of the leaders of the organization make chapter visits and put on programs as part of these visits.

Bob H
  by mxdata
 
That library is a very nice service for the chapters that are out in the middle of nowhere and would have difficulty getting enough presenters from their own local area. In my area, the video nights are the meetings we often skip, because we cannot always justify the expense of travel to a meeting and watch commercial videotapes we could just as easily view at home.

In contrast, NMRA keeps a database of live speakers and the programs and clinics they have available, how far they are willing to travel to put on a program, and how to contact them.

Got my NRHS renewal notice, I am going to "study" it for a while and consider whether it is worth renewing.

MX
  by Noel Weaver
 
I just renewed mine but only because I want to maintain my chapter affiliation.
Noel Weaver
  by Otto Vondrak
 
mxdata wrote:Heard at a chapter meeting that O&W recently dropped their affiliation with NRHS.
I respectfully submit... when did the O&W Chapter do anything to contribute "to the greater good?" They seem more involved in preserving the O&W in HO scale than in 1:1.

I respectfully submit to mxdata- what SHOULD the NRHS be doing?