Indianapolis Convention 2016

The 2016 NMRA and LDSIG Conventions will be held in Indianapolis, IN from July 3 through July 9. Information on the NMRA Convention is available here. Information on the LDSIG Convention is available below.

The major LDSIG activities at the Convention will be the clinics, the Wednesday tour and the dinner. To get involved, please contact the LD SIG Conventions Chair.

The schedule for the week includes:

Sunday night meet & greet - 7:00 -10:00

Monday AM Layout Design Bootcamp - 8:00 - Noon

Clinics, all week

Wednesday - Annual Business Meeting

Wednesday - Tour all day and evening

Friday Night Dinner - Tony Koester is the dinner speaker  


We do welcome interested model railroaders not already members of the Layout Design Special Interest Group to join. Membership information is located on the LDSIG site here.

SIG Room

Meet and Greet, Sunday, July 3, 7-10 PM

We will hold our traditional Meet and Greet in the SIG Room providing an opportunity for all Layout Design and Operations SIG members and friends to introduce themselves and their interests, and find folks who can share ideas and solutions to your layout design and operation concerns. We have invited owners of the Wednesday Layout Tour to provide a preview of the Tour. It is also a time to arrange car pools for the Wednesday Layout Tour. Do not worry about arriving late if your're enjoying tours and op sessions, we will be there until at least 10:00 PM.

Displays and Consulting

The SIG Room will be open Monday to Thursday from 8AM to 10PM. It is a great place to congregate, meet friends, make friends, enjoy the SIG Room Displays, get or give layout design consultation, or generally take a break between clinics or from other convention activities.

LDSIG Table Volunteers Needed

If you can spare an hour or two to help man the LDSIG table, please contact the convention SIG coordinator, Ron Burkhardt at   The duties are easy and the benefits can be rewarding.  You will have a chance to meet SIG members and potential members who you may only know through the internet or articles in the LDJ or the national model railroading press.

Layout Design Consulting Service (Monday through Friday - Open to all convention attendees)

Members of the LDSIG will be offering free half-hour layout design consultation sessions. Limited availability, sign up in person in the SIG Room during the Convention. Help Providers Needed! Help-provider volunteers are crucially needed. We need experienced LDSIG members volunteers to provide half-hour layout design help sessions during the Convention. This offers a service to the hobby and promotes the SIG. Each volunteer will be asked to set aside one, two or more hours during the Convention when they can commit to being available for help sessions. It is very important that we have volunteers and hours confirmed before the Convention begins. To volunteer, or for questions, contact LDJ Editor Byron Henderson, ldjeditor at com, who is coordinating the help sessions.


There will be many Layout Design clinics presented during the convention. Beyond the Layout Design Bootcamp described immediately following, there are clinics by other LDSIG members. All the LDSIG clinics, including the Layout Design Bootcamp are open to all Convention Attendees.

Layout Design Bootcamp, Monday, July 4, 2016, 8 to Noon

Layout Design Journal editor and custom layout designer Byron Henderson and Seth Neuman of the NMRA's Layout Design SIG are leading a Layout Design Bootcamp at the Highball to Indy 2016 NMRA Convention. We'll still begin at 8:00 AM Monday, July 4 with LDSIG President Seth Neumann and LDJ Editor Byron Henderson as your friendly presenters. The Bootcamp is an intensive session on track planning and layout design. Discover how to refine vision, concept, and purpose; select layout footprints and schematics; draw accurate and useful plans; create efficient and engaging yards and industrial areas; make best use of staging tracks; maintain space for people; and avoid common track planning errors. Step-by-step examples from a variety of layout designs will be discussed.

Whether your dream layout is strongly prototype-based, a creative freelanced theme, or somewhere in between, this practical session will give you the tools and best practices to design a great layout!

Among the topics to be covered:

  • Layout design phases: Conceptual, Structural, and Detail Developing vision, theme, and purpose
  • The impact of givens and 'druthers considering space, resources, and skills
  • Prototype research techniques and tools
  • The user and viewer experience
  • Layout footprint techniques
  • Drawing and rendering tools and best practices
  • Planning for people
  • Multi-deck considerations
  • Yard planning
  • Staging design
  • Signature elements vs. typicality
  • LDEs: Possibilities and pitfalls
  • Tricky traps of layout design (common errors to avoid)
  • Layout design for operation

Other Clinics

We will probably have a room where many of the layout design related clinics will be presented as a 'Layout Design Track', however there are many other clinics of interest. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016, 8-9 AM, LDSIG Annual Meeting

This important meeting will be held in the SIG room. Information for the LDSIG tour will be handed out at this meeting.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 9:30 AM until 10PM, LDSIG Annual Layout Tour

This year we have gathered another amazing group of layouts for your touring enjoyment.   Carpooling is strongly encouraged so you can discuss the unique features of these layouts as you travel.  Sign-ups for carpools will be posted in the SIG room.  On the LDSIG tour, one can stay as long as one wishes to study a particularly interesting layout or design element.  The hosts are aware of SIG members' interest and are happy to answer questions.  All this makes the tour an invaluable learning experience. No lunch is provided so you and your carpool buddies can eat what and when you want (there are plenty of good restaurants in all categories and price ranges along the route).  Neither the LDSIG Inc. nor the NMRA will provide insurance coverage for private or rental transportation. 

The following layouts will be on the Tour.

1. Paul Brown’s Illinois Division of the Santa Fe Railway

2. Bob Lehnen’s Chicago & Eastern Illinois

3. Jim Shellhaas 

4. Jon Silverberg’s DRGW/RGS

5. Kurt Kruty

6. John Dick’s Milwaukee Road

7. Richard McPherson

8. Chad Boaz

9. Chuck Tuttle

10. Larry Swanson

11. John Adams

12. Tim Kerkhoff

13. Garry Smith

14. Jerry Wilson

For a map and links to information about each layouts please visit our Wednesday Layout Tour Page.  

The tour includes a pocket polo shirt.  To get your ticket for the tour click on the link below but PLEASE FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS ON THE PAGE AND IN THE COMMENT SECTION PLEASE INCLUDE: Indication of your Shirt Size: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, XXXXL and your choice of Monogram Name: (limited to 12 characters or spaces)   

To purchase tickets for the Wednesday Layout Tour, please click on the 2016 Indianapolis LDSIG Layout Tour.

LDSIG/OPSIG Dinner Friday, July 8, 2016 

This year’s dinner venue for the LDSIG and OPSIG is The Rathskeller. Tony Koester is the dinner speaker. This will be a great opportunity to relax and rub shoulders with fellow SIG members, discuss everything you have seen during Highball to Indy 2016 and reflect on how to apply your new insights to your layout!

The cost of the dinner is $59.  Sign ups for this extra fare event will be through the NMRA Convention Company Store (Click Here and scroll down to the bottom and click on "add to cart" to purchase tickets.   If there are still tickets available when the convention arrives they will be available at the convention Tour Desk.