National Model Railroad Association
Now Planning for ONLINE gathering the first week of July 2021
Announcement of Cancellation
Santa Clara, California—The host committee of the 2021 national convention of National Model Railroad Association, Inc., NMRA 2021 Rails By The Bay, announced today that it has canceled its convention that had been scheduled for the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel & Conference Center on July 4-11, 2021. A multi-day video virtual event—which will retain the name NMRA 2021 Rails By The Bay—is under development.
“Planning and running a convention of this magnitude requires signing transportation and outside tour contracts plus having commitments from layout owners for tours and operations at least six months in advance,” said Ray deBlieck, chairman of the host committee. “Based on current government orders in Santa Clara County and the public health situation, we were unable to obtain commitments from bus companies and tour sites. Many key layout owners also wanted to wait and see how the situation developed before committing to tours or ops. We also could not determine what the allowable room capacity for in-person events would be. We had a timetable with milestones in January for certain commitments and we could not secure those commitments with the required lead time. But bright spots are that our committee has tremendous talent and we had numerous excellent clinic commitments.”
Planning for a substitute video virtual event has begun. Tentatively scheduled to start July 6, the four- to five-day event will mix live and recorded video and will have virtual participation by clinicians and layout owners local to the Santa Clara area. Video clinics, layout tours, museum, and railfanning tours are expected, with Q&A sessions and layout owners’ panels to provide interactivity. Slack channels or breakout rooms are expected to allow live post-presentation discussions. The committee expects to cooperate with the successful NMRA-X virtual meeting team. More detailed information is expected to be released by April 2021. The convention Registrar will contact all convention registrants in the near future and offer an opportunity to register for the July 2021 video virtual event at a $49 fee (covers all days), donate their registration fees to NMRA, or receive a full refund.
The planning committee draws members from 21st Century Limited, a California nonprofit corporation that successfully ran NMRA’s highly regarded 2011 and 2001 national conventions, as well as local modelers and operators. Pacific Coast Region of the National Model Railroad Association, Inc. is a co-sponsor. NMRA’s 2022 national convention is under continued development.
The National Train Show, which is separately planned and operated, also is canceled.