About the Pacific Northwest RPM Group

The Pacific Northwest RPM group is a loose-knit group of individuals who share a common interest in prototype-based railroad modeling activities, and focus their modeling efforts on prototypically-accurate rolling stock, dioramas, and Free-mo modules. The purpose of the group is to give modelers an avenue through which to communicate and share their modeling activities, and to learn from the work of others.

The primary function through which this occurs is the annual RPM event Rails By The Bay. The ultimate goal of this event is to motivate and encourage others to build and finish modeling projects. In the future, group events may increase in scope, number, and location.

It's important to note that this is not a club in the traditional sense. There is no membership. There are no dues. There are no elected officers or other organizational formalities. All that just gets in the way, in many cases. If you want to participate, all you need is an interest in prototype modeling, in some form or scale, and a desire to attend the group events and share with the community.

For the purpose of group functions, the "Pacific Northwest" is loosely defined as including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Northern California, and all of western Canada. However, everyone is welcomed, regardless of where you live, or what prototype, scale, or era you model.

Have a project you're working on? Send us a quick note and a photo or two. Interested in building a Free-mo module? Check out what your fellow Northwest modelers are building. Follow along on Facebook, or Join the Yahoo group to share ideas and ask questions. Remember, groups like this only work when people participate. And when you participate, you might find you get inspired to do more modeling. And that's a good thing!


The Beginning

In July, 2004, Seattle hosted the NMRA National Convention, and during this event, a group organized a Railroad Prototype Modelers (RPM) meet, mostly by Chris Palomarez and Rene Gourley. The Seattle RPM meet was a highlight of the convention week for many modelers. I had attended the large Southern California-based Western Prototype Modelers event a of couple times, and enjoyed myself so much that I wanted to bring that fun back to the Northwest. Prior to the summer of 2004, Richard Yaremko and I had talked briefly about holding a Pacific Northwest RPM meet, somewhere and sometime in the future. At the Seattle RPM meet, Rick Selby, Richard Yaremko and I were enthused enough that we decided that we had to make it happen. The desire to get the modeling community together again, and soon, motivated us to get the ball rolling. Looking at the calendar for 2005, we choose June 25, 2005 as the date for the first PNW RPM meet.

After asking around for suggestions on where to hold the meet, I decided I would take the lead on the first one, and after comparing several venues, picked the Best Western Lakeway Inn in Bellingham. I learned from helping produce the Winterail show in California for 13 years that having an event close to the home of one of the main producers made working out the many details of an event much easier. Richard Yaremko set up much of the legwork in getting top quality clinicians, and Rick Selby helped out with our webpage. Rick's friend Keith Thompson jumped in and helped design the event logo and organized getting shirts made for the staff and clinicians. All in all, the team worked together beautifully, and I certainly never could have done it all myself.

At the 2005 event we asked for feedback from attendees, and after reading the input from many of them, we decided to make some minor changes for the 2006 PNW RPM. First will be a move to a May date for the event. Some people had schedule conflicts with end of school year activities or family vacations for the June 2005 event, and by setting the event a little earlier in the year we hope to accommodate more people. Second, we are moving the event to a location where the RPM model display tables and the Free-mo modules will be in the same room. At the first event, the Free-mo display room was downstairs while the RPM room and the clinic room were upstairs. We felt that getting the RPM and Free-mo parts of the event into the same room would help the event be more social. This also would allow more room for the Free-mo modules, which we hope to have many more of in 2006. The Chilliwack club's four section Free-mo yard almost filled our Free-mo room the first year! The clinics will still be held in a separate room for 2006 to allow the room to be darkened for showing slides and digital presentations.

The PNW RPM event is about sharing your models and modules with others and seeing new techniques and learning from each other. It is also very much about seeing old friends again and making new friends. The event depends on the participation of the attendees. If people came, but no one brought models, there would be no event!

For 2006, Keith Thompson's name was added as a Producer, as his energy helped us out greatly before and during the 2005 show. On behalf of Rick Selby, Richard Yaremko, Keith Thompson, and myself, we hope to see you, and your models and modules, future editions of the Pacific Northwest RPM meet Rails By The Bay....

Thanks for your support,

Brian Rutherford

About Those Banner Photos

The rotating banner photos that appear at the top of the page were shot by Brian Rutherford, Rick Selby, or Keith Thompson. They feature a variety of scenes from around the Pacific Northwest. There's about 30 different images in total, featuring a bit of everything. You can cycle through them one by one by clicking on the image. Enjoy...

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