My Quest for Master Model Railroader

Many years ago I joined the NMRA (Nation Model Railroad Association) when they had a national convention near my home. It was the first train convention I attended and it was awesome! I had never been around so many “train geeks” before nor been exposed to so much train related information all at once. If I wasn’t hooked before, I was sure hooked then!

Jim learning how to run the Timesaver

There are many reasons to join the NMRA but this series of posts will only be about one: My Quest for Master Model Railroader. There is a program called the Achievement Program or AP. Once certain requirements are achieved one can be called a “Master Model Railroader” or MMR. What I like about this is it reminded me of when I was in Boy Scouts. There are certain steps required to earn awards and by earning those awards leads to the Rank of Eagle Scout. There are very few who actually achieve this rank but it’s not necessarily the rank itself but the journey one takes to accomplish the task that is required that gives one certain life skills. It is this similarity that I like about the AP program – certain goals are required (some you wouldn’t normally take on) that expand your skill set to help one become a better model railroader. Something else I have found to be true recently, is that it also takes you beyond just what you think you can do and who you interact with. More on that later.

There are certain steps one needs to take, in no particular order, to achieve MMR status. Some things may build upon others but there is flexibility in how you go about it. The good thing is that it is broken down into different categories. You can get started by doing what you are most comfortable with first, if you like. I recommend focusing on at least one category to start instead of just jumping from one to the next, etc. so that you can get a sense of accomplishment in at least that one area to begin with. Because some of the rules may seem a little difficult or confusing there is the Golden Spike Award. Although not an actual category it is a beginning step to start out with.

It helps to have someone who has gone through, or going through, the process to ask questions and/or get encouragement from. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. I knew I had most of the requirements for the Golden Spike Award done for years but for some reason or another just didn’t follow through to finish it up.

Join me as I go through this journey. It will take a long time. What I have learned already, just a short time into it, is that it will be much easier having friends along. Mostly, friends that I have just made recently or not even made yet. I expect it to not be easy. That is not the purpose. Often growth and learning comes slowly and with patience. My goal is to become better and as I get older realize that often helping others can give more satisfaction than just helping yourself. Hopefully, as I share this, it will help you if you have similar goals. Please, also, if you have comments to help me and others, share them with us.

First Step: Golden Spike Award =>