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Around the Bend

The Midwest Region 2024 Convention
May 2, 2024 - May 4, 2024
South Bend, Indiana

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Thank you for your interest in the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), Midwest Region (MWR) 2024 Convention hosted by the Michiana Division and sponsored by Visit South Bend Mishawaka. We sincerely welcome you to the convention. We have a great event planned for both veterans and beginners in the hobby of model railroading as well as those interested in non-railroad events.

“The purpose of the Midwest Region is to promote, stimulate, foster, and encourage by all manner and means the art and craft of model railroading and the preservation of the hobby's history, science, and technology.” The Region accomplishes this through its 10 Divisions, publishing the Waybill (a quarterly newsletter), holding Conventions and by promoting the NMRA Achievement Program. Around the Bend is our 2023 convention organized to acquaint you with all aspects of the hobby.

This year, the Steel Mill Special Interest Group will participate in the Midwest Region Convention featuring Steel Mill clinics and vendors. “The mission of the SMMSIG is to share information concerning modeling steel mills and railroads as well as to foster camaraderie among persons with interests in these topics.” If you have an interest in the fascinating steel industry and enjoy modeling -- come to this convention and learn more about modeling the steel industry as well as all facets of the hobby of Model Railroading.

Watch an 11 minute video on all we have to offer during the Convention:

Download a PDF copy of the Convention flier: - (9.5Mb)

Download a Jpeg picture of the Convention flier: - (200 kb)

Media Outlets: Download a copy of latest Press Release: - (200 kb)

Please visit: for more information about the South Bend area.

The event will be held at The Century Center, 120 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Blvd, South Bend, IN 46601. Please see the listing of area hotels. We have not reserved space in any hotel but will notify attendees if this changes. Parking in the Century Center lot is $5 per day. There is plenty of free parking on Saturday and Sunday, but not Thursday and Friday.

Century Center website:

Travel directions and Unloading/Loading instructions:

Click Here    to download a map of the Century Center Lower Level with all the event rooms marked for your use.


  • Set-up day is Thursday, May 2nd, 2024 from 1-6pm South Bend time. If you wil be coming in on Friday, you can set up at 7:30am or later.
  • The event is on Friday and Saturday, May 3rd & 4th from 8am to 5pm South Bend time (EDT).
  • Registration and early check-in is Thursday 2-5pm and is also open all-day Friday, and Saturday until noon.
  • Tear-down is from 5pm for as long as necessary on Saturday evening. No later than 8pm please.
  • Please see the Display Room staff for exact information on Display Room tear-down. Modelers may pick up their models after 3:00 PM Saturday.
  • There are two Layout Tours and an Op Session Thursday 7-10pm.
  • Friday’s program includes five clinic sessions with three rail clinics each plus 1 steel modelers clinic per session. Two rail clinics in the morning and three in the afternoon.
  • Friday dinner is on your own, no speaker, but Layout Tours and an Op Sessions are scheduled in the afternoon and evening. See the program schedule for details.
  • There will be one off site rail themed excursion on Friday and two rail themed off site tours on Saturday.
  • Saturday’s program includes five clinic sessions with three rail clinics each per session. Two rail clinics in the morning and three in the afternoon.
  • Nothing will be planned at the Century Center after 6 PM on Saturday.
  • There will be a MWR board of directors meeting held Sunday morning after the conference at the
    COURTYARD BY MARROTT DOWNTOWN SOUTH BEND, 121 Doctor MLK Blvd., South Bend, IN 46001
    Time: 10:30 AM to 1 PM Eastern Time.

Click Here    to download a PDF calendar style version of the complete schedule - which is subject to change.

Click Here    to download a complete PDF listing of clinicians and clinic descriptions.

Click Here    to download a map of the Century Center Lower Level with all the event rooms marked for your use.

There are 32 clinics to choose from - including 3 focused on Modeling Steel Industry Facilities.

Click Here    to download a complete PDF listing of clinicians and clinic descriptions.

The event will also feature steel mill modelers equipment and model railroad vendors:

  • State Tool & Die
  • Steel Mill Modelers Supply
  • Spring Creek Model Trains
  • Joe Skrabutenas

There will be several operating layouts on display at the Convention Center in the Layout Room. Come and see:

  • Michiana T-Trackers (N) - This N scale layout has a variety of modules and runs trains from all eras.
  • Holland Modular Railroad Club (HO) - The Holland club has been traveling with their railraod since 1993. The modular display features trains and structures from the steam era to modern day complete with ice house and reefers.
  • Battle Creek Model Railroad Club (HO) - Originally founded in 1949 and restarted in 1973, the Battle Creek club features an HO railroad running through the "cereal city."
  • Tom Stathis’ hands-on switching layout (HO) - Tom "The LED Man" Stathis has created a DCC-controlled switching puzzle layout which challenges you to operate an industrial switcher to complete your work as efficiently as possible. A picture of the layout is below.
  • Switching Layout

Below is a list and web page links to descriptions and photos of all the individual layouts open for tours and operating sessions:

Click Here   to download descriptions and photos of all the layouts. (Multi-Page PDF.)

Want to attend an Ops Session? You must sign-up to receive an invitation to an Operating Session.
Click Here   to sign up for an Operating Session.

There are three Prototype Tours to choose from - with limited seating on each tour. There is a transportation fee for each tour.
Note that because of the schedule timing it will not be possible to participate in both the West Michigan and South Shore tours.

  • SOLD OUT - The Norfolk Southern Elkhart Yard Tour - Friday morning, May 3, 9:30-1:00 PM
  • The West Michigan Railroad Tour - Saturday morning, May 4, 9:30-2:00 PM
    Hard shoes or boots are strongly recommended because the area is not paved, you will be walking on dirt, mud and gravel.
  • The Southshore Railroad Michigan City Shops Tour - Saturday afternoon/evening, May 4, 1:00-5:00 PM.
    The South Shore Michigan City Shops Tour will leave from the South Shore (NICTD) station at South Bend Airport (travel on your own) on Saturday via train 506 departing at 12:57pm (EDT), traveling to Michigan City (Carroll St) for a tour of the shops and returning on train 505 at 3:23pm (CDT), arriving in South Bend at 5:04pm. Train tickets are available from a ticket vending machine on the platform. The full round-trip fare is $12.50, but there are discounts for seniors, youth, and families. Airport parking in the short-term lot is $2 per hour (plan on five hours), or $1 per hour in the long-term lot. Walk to the train platform is approximately 3-4 minutes. Travel time from the Century Center to South Bend Airport is approximately 15 to 20 minutes. No open toed shoes; wear safety shoes if you have them. Safety glasses will be supplied.

Download a description of the three Prototype Tours by Clicking Here.

You must sign-up to obtain a ticket for a Prototype Tour. Click Here   to reserve a seat for a Prototype Tour.

This year the Display and Workshop Room will have a new look and feel. It's a space where:

  • Modelers can showcase their modeling accomplishments for all to enjoy.
    • Click Here    to complete a Display Entry Form if you are interested in displaying models and/or photographs - this will help us plan the room setup.
      Note: Each Display Form is limited to 3 models. If you have more that 3 models to display, please complete an additional form for each group of three models.
    • Use this same form if you are also interested in making an appointment to have you model evaluated for an AP award.
    • Achievement Program Merit award evaluations are limited and will be available by appointment only. We will contact you about an appointment after you have registered.
    • If you are submitting a model for an AP award, you must also complete NMRA Form 902 ver. E.    Click Here for that form.
    • Please bring printed copies of all forms to the display room with your model.

  • Family entertainment will be available: Streaming train videos, puzzles, games, etc.
  • Registrants can design and build a small scenic diorama or experiment with static grass.(Limited materials will be supplied on a first-come-first-served basis.)
  • Ron Christensen, MMR® created this diorama to demonstrate the use of static grass. Learn how to make these type of scenes from the experts.Diorama example
  • Another diorama created by Ron was featured in Guide to Prairie Railroading by Kalmbach. It will also be shown in the display room. Diorama example
  • Shown below is one of the city scenes on Robert Olson's home layout. Trolley cars that use working overhead wire takes you back to large cities in the 20's era. Bob has constructed this interesting layout using ordinary things that are available. The buildings, interurban cars and trolley cars are all scratch built in O scale. Bob will be conducting a workshop in the display room.Olson Layout

  • Display room viewing hours: Friday 8am - 5pm, Saturday 8am - 3pm. Model pick up Saturday 3pm-5pm.
  • No food or drinks allowed in the display room. Coats and bags must be checked at the door.

Interested in seeing models displayed at past conventions?     Just click Here

The Around the Bend committee is proud to have worked with Accurail to produce an HO scale Convention Car.

In 1923 the ACF built car number 2024 for the NJ I & I at their St. Louis Plant. It's a “door and a half” 50 foot automobile boxcar originally used to haul Studebakers built in South Bend. This car richly celebrates railroading in the South Bend area with a car number and convention date on a correct prototype. The car was later rebuilt and and additionally lettered for the Wabash Railroad in 1950.

We partnered with Accurail to offer a close to prototype model car. Accurail didn't offer a door and a half version so we purchased Standard Car Company wooden half door add-on kits, included with every car. The add-on comes with instructions for the small alterations needed for a good fit of the door. We consulted with the Wabash Railroad Historical Society and unfortunately was unable to find a photo of car 2024 but they were able to provide us some historical context of the car as well as photos of other cars from the series. We settled on the lettering style of car 2088. A photos of the close prototype and the model are shown below.

Included in each convention labeled box is the Accurail kit, the door add-on, and historical information for the car.

We are offering 54 of these custom lettered and numbered cars, available at the convention for $40. You can reserve your car by clicking the button below and completing the subsequent form. Once reserved, you may pick up and pay for your car at the convention registration desk.

As the saying goes, there's a little something for everyone “Around the Bend”

That's not simply a cliché — it's the truth. From can't-miss exhibits and heart-stopping outdoor adventures in South Bend to serene walks along the St. Joseph River in Mishawaka, there are endless options when it comes to planning your itinerary. The South Bend area offers the NMRA Midwest Region Convention and more! South Bend has Arts, Entertainment & Culture, Shopping, Outdoors & Recreation, Nightlife, Attractions, and the University of Notre Dame (Art Museum, Tours, lodging at the Morris Inn, the Basilica, the Grotto, and walking beside calm lakes). Come to the Convention early and have fun in the South Bend area!
Here are a number local attractions recommended by the convention committee that might be of interest to you.

We have a great event planned for you and registration is now open.
Admission prices for the convention are as follows:

Early Bird prices prior to April 1st.

  • Full Convention:
    • $60 NMRA members
    • $70 Public
    • NMRA Volunteer rebate $12 (Redeemable at the convention.)
  • One day registration:
    • $30 NMRA members
    • $40 Public
    • NMRA Volunteer rebate $6 (Redeemable at the convention.)

Prices effective April 1st and after:

  • Full Convention:
    • $65 NMRA members
    • $75 Public
    • NMRA Volunteer rebate $13 (Redeemable at the convention.)
  • One day registration:
    • $35 NMRA members
    • $45 Public
    • NMRA Volunteer rebate $7 (Redeemable at the convention.)

Convention registration will be a little different from past events. Advance registration tickets are available by Email Only. Those without email or not wishing to use our secure on-line registration process may purchase full fare tickets at the door.

Click on the red Register Now button below you will be transferred to our Secure Ticket Vendor's website. Have your NMRA number and credit card information handy and expect the following registration process:

  1. Select the type and number of tickets you wish to purchase.
  2. Then click on the Add Tickets button. You will be taken to your shopping cart.
  3. Verify that the type and number of tickets in your shopping cart is correct.
  4. Then click on the Continue button.
  5. You will be taken to a screen where you will enter the information we need to print your badge.
  6. If you are an NMRA member purchasing a ticket for a family member, use your NMRA number and division for your family member.
  7. Once you have completed the badge information, click on the Continue to Checkout button to complete the purchase of your tickets.
  8. Your ticket(s) will be emailed to you shortly after you complete your purchase.

Questions – contact Greg Bueltmann, (312) 730-4109 or

Hotels are listed in proximity to the Century Center.

Downtown Hotels

Double Tree by Hilton Hotel South Bend 123 N. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, South Bend, IN 46601-1624 0.1 miles from Century Center Convention Center.
The double Tree by Hilton has extended us a discounted rate of $129 per night plus taxes and optional over-nite parking for Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday nights. Booking at this rate must be completed by April 1 prior to the convention. Other terms apply so please review them carefully by: clicking here to download a PDF document of the terms. You must CLICK HERE to reserve one of the 25 rooms at the special NMRA rate.

Courtyard South Bend Downtown 121 S Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, South Bend, IN 46601-1901 is across the street from Century Center Convention Center.
The Courtyard South Bend Downtown has extended us a discounted rate of $119 per night plus taxes and free valet over-nite parking. Booking at this rate has been extended to April 22. Other terms apply so please review them carefully. You must CLICK HERE to reserve one of the 20 rooms at the special NMRA rate.

NMRA CONVENTION REGISTRATION DESK REQUEST (at Century Center Convention registration desk, not the hotel.) Please let us know how many room nights you have booked and at what hotel. This information supports the Marketing Grant reporting requirement we have for the Visit South Bend Mishawaka organization. They are paying for the event marketing and need these statistics. Example: DoubleTree 3 nights or XYZ Hotel 2 nights, etc.

Aloft South Bend 111 North Main Street, South Bend, IN 46601 0.2 miles from Century Center Convention Center

Residence Inn South Bend 716 N Niles Ave, South Bend, IN 46617-1924 0.7 miles from Century Center Convention Center

Notre Dame Area

Embassy Suites by Hilton South Bend at Notre Dame 1140 E. Angela Blvd, South Bend, IN 46617 1.3 miles from Century Center Convention Center

Ivy Court Inn & Suites 1404 Ivy Ct, South Bend, IN 46637-5684 1.8 miles from Century Center Convention Center

North of Notre Dame Area

Hilton Garden Inn South Bend 53995 Indiana State Route 933, South Bend, IN 46637-3345 2.3 miles from Century Center Convention Center

The Inn at Saint Mary's 53993 Indiana State Route 933, South Bend, IN 46637-3345 2.3 miles from Century Center Convention Center

Quality Inn South Bend 215 S Dixie Way, South Bend, IN 46637-3319 2.6 miles from Century Center Convention Center

Baymont by Wyndham South Bend 215 S Dixie Way, South Bend, IN 46637-3319 2.6 miles from Century Center Convention Center