No. 95: St. Louis RPM 2018, Part 1

The 2018 St. Louis RPM Meet was held last weekend, 20-21 July 2018, at the Gateway Convention Center in Collinsville, Illinois.  Once again it was a great time and this year’s event was another record-breaker, with 662 prototype modelers in attendance.


Photos above and below by Norm Buckhart.


This year’s event featured 23 clinics and hands-on presentations, 51 scale model vendors on 128 tables, 17 railroad historical societies on 30 tables, three modular layouts (HO, N and O/Proto-48), six hands-on learning stations and exhibitors, three home layout tours, three evening social events, and the largest attendee model display in the nation, which this year topped 3,700 models brought by attendees in all scales and gauges.  The model below was displayed by Dennis Eggert.


Some people call this a train show, but it is really designed as a Modeler’s Meet.  The very heart of our event is the models brought by attendees for display.  This year we had 81 eight-foot tables set aside for models and they were full.  Showing models is the best way to meet new friends, show your best work, and learn from others. Attendees brought rolling stock, locomotives, structures and everything else related to railroad modeling.  In addition the 1/87 Vehicle Club was present and they brought hundreds of vehicles to see–almost too many to count.


This year’s vendors included Tangent Scale Models, Speedwitch, Intermountain, ExactRail, Yarmouth, Kadee, Bluford Shops, Protocraft, Rails Unlimited, Mask Island Decals, Plano, Bethlehem Car Works, Central Valley, Oak Hill Model Railroad Supply, LokSound, SoundTraxx, and many more.  Iowa Scaled Engineering was here selling their complete line, including the much-talked-about Proto-Throttle.  We’ve had a big lineup of photo dealers as well, including Bob’s Photos, Mainline Photos, Jim Shaw Photos, Mike Wise Slides, and John Fuller from Historical Rail Photos.

Vendors, like Keith Hapes of Plano seen below on the left, are a vital part of our meet.  Not only do they sell important modeling items, they meet and talk to their customers and exchange ideas.


We have not one but two HO model-building clinics. Ted Culotta of Speedwitch provided an HO scale freight car model, resin parts, decals, and a special clinic, all designed to build a Litchfield and Madison USRA gondola–a local favorite.  And the wonderful John Greene of Bethlehem Car Works offered a kitbash clinic to build a 6-3 sleeper as well. 

Below.  One of Jack Burgess’s clinics.   


Clinics were provided by Bob Rivard, Ted Culotta, Mont Switzer, Brian Banna, Dan Holbrook, David Lehlbach, Trevor Marshall,  Tim VanMersbergen, Steve Hile, John Greene and Bill Welch.  Jim DuFour and Randy Laframboise visited from the northeast and gave clinics on their wonderful prototype layouts, and Jack Burgess visited from the San Francisco area and gave two clinics, one on 3D printing and a second on his famous Yosemite Valley layout.  Dan Holbrook gave our featured Friday night presentation, focusing on our 2018 theme, The Grain Industry.


Two great layouts were operating in house. The Cincinnati Sipping & Switching Society brought a magnificent 35 x 20-foot HO layout, and Jim Canter was back with his traveling Proto48 Nickel Plate layout.  Home layout tours were provided on Friday night by John Schindler, Bob Brady and Mike Wise. 

  • John Schindler has a contemporary railroad with modern power and rolling stock. Major railroads operated include BNSF, UP, Terminal RR Association, Alton & Southern, and Amtrak.  John operates with a crw of 13 using car cards and train orders.
  • Bob Brady models the Frisco with a MOPAC interchange. The era is steam to diesel transition.  Bob’s layout features very prototypical scenes and rolling stock. Bob operates six times or more each year with a crew of six using a modified time table and train order system.
  • Mike Wise has a 1964-themed layout with a wide variety of operating scenarios. He runs second generation diesels and can set up five different railroads for an operating session, including PRR, Wabash, UP, and his own Sugar Creek Valley Railroad.  Mike operates using hand written switch lists and train orders on a single-sheet format that he copied from the Wabash.

Below.  The Cincinnati Sipping & Switching Society’s excellent 35 x 20-foot HO layout.


Another view of the Cincinnati Sipping & Switching Society’s layout.


Railroad Historical Societies representing the Missouri Pacific, New York Central, C&EI, CNW, L&N, Nickel Plate, Wabash, CB&Q, Pennsylvania Railroad, and the Terminal Railroad Association were present, along with the National Railway and Locomotive Society. The MoPac Society hosted their annual Railroad Historical Society Meeting on Friday evening.

Want to try your hand at weathering, or drawing CAD, or building trackwork?  St. Louis RPM includes that and much more.  


Our thanks to our partners, the Gateway Division, NMRA, for helping us make this happen.

Quite simply, the photo below is what St. Louis RPM is all about.  Modelers getting together, talking, meeting, sharing thoughts and ideas, and growing the hobby.  Why don’t you come next year and give St. Louis RPM a try?


We were able to pull off another record-breaking event thanks to the year-round dedicated effort of our 14-person team.  Our year-round team includes Dave Roeder, Brian McQuitty, Mark Lewis, Jeff Kuebler, Lonnie Bathurst, Dan Kohlberg and me, John Golden.  Our part-timers this year included Mark Lewis, Rich Velton, Felicia Kohlbger, Nora Kohlberg, Mary Bathurst, Don Ayers, David Lowell and Brad Slone.

Part 2 of this post will show some of the models presented at St. Louis RPM.

Mark your calendars: The 2018 St. Louis RPM meet will happen on 26 and 27 July, 2019.  I hope to see you there!  – John G


3 thoughts on “No. 95: St. Louis RPM 2018, Part 1

    • My bad, Brian! Actually your clinic was VERY well received. Guys loved it. They were a little disappointed that you didn’t cover ALL MoPac box cars as advertised though…


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