I traveled across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for the 2023 RPM-East prototype modeler event in Youngwood, PA, for the March 24 & 25th weekend. It was my first RPM of the year. I’ve been involved with publicizing and assisting with RPM-East since 2005.
The 2021 meet was cancelled because the host hotel was razed. The pandemic didn’t help, either, but we were told our event was cancelled because the hotel would be gone. Steve Ross has been the leader coordinating RPM-East and he found a nice venue on the Westmoreland County Community College campus.
With a new venue, we did have some growing pains. Attendance hit about 225 modelers, which was more than we expected. The classrooms were nice but several presentations became standing room only. We were able to use an auditorium for some Saturday presentations. We are already discussing holding four presentations per time slot for 2025. This should spread the audience to four rooms instead of three.
I was in the model display room for most of Friday. It was amazing to watch the tables fill with dozens of models. These were mostly HO scale, but several fine N scale efforts were displayed as well as some O scale. Steve Holzheimer of Ohio displayed several N scale beauties. The station above is one example.
I tried to count all the models, but lost track around 500. And that didn’t include all the vehicles.
And exactly what do you count? Gus Minardi brought a full train from his New Jersey home. The photo above shows one car. Do you count this as one model, or three?
Or do you count Gus’ full train as one model? That train includes three detailed locos, a cabin car, and nine trailer-on-flat cars. Is that one model, 13 models, or 22 models (counting the pair of trailers on each flat car)? I went with 22 for the model count on Gus’s train.
Any models representing pre-WW2 prototypes catch my eye. Adam Chilcote displayed this GE class gondola for an early Pennsy subsidiary. Adam displayed an interesting array of models and also attended as a vendor with his Plate C Model Prototypes company.
At this point, I know you want to see more photos. I snapped 150 images at the event. It took me a couple days to prep them. Here’s a link to browse through most of those 2023 RPM-East images.
The RPM calendar lists many prototype modeling events in the coming year. I met several modelers at RPM-East who had not attended a prototype modeling event before. Each of them was amazed with the quality of models displayed, the variety of presentations, and the chance to talk with other modelers. These events inspire modelers to move projects ahead. I’m looking forward to attending a few RPM events as the year rolls along. I hope I meet you at one of them.
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