Answers to your questions

This FAQ contains common questions and answers for the NMRA 2022 Birmingham, UK convention. If these questions and answers can’t answer your question then please get in touch with the convention committee.

When is the convention taking place?

The convention is planned for the end of July 2022 but Birmingham is currently bidding for the Commonwealth Games across that time period. If Birmingham is successful in its bid then the convention will be later in August.

Where is the convention taking place?

The convention will be in city centre Birmingham but it is too early to say exactly where yet.

How do I get to Birmingham in the United Kingdom?

Birmingham has an international airport that is a short train journey into the city centre.  It has many direct flights but a good alternative is to hop via a continental European hub and take the short flight back to Birmingham.

You can fly to either London Heathrow or Manchester and take the train to Birmingham city centre.  There are regular (multiple per hour) trains.

How do I get to Birmingham from the UK?

Birmingham has railway connections to most major cities and is also at the centre of the motorway network.

How much of the convention will be handicapped accessible?

We aim to ensure that the hotel is fully handicapped accessible. We will detail accessibility issues on layout and other tour destinations. Please note that tour locations may not be fully accessible.

Will there be a mobile device app for the convention?

YES. Go to the Apple Store or Google Play and look for an app called NMRA2022UK

What is the difference between "Rail" and "General Interest" activities?

“Rail” activities are generally those that a model railroader or railfan would be interested in. These activities include: clinics on railroad history and model railroading techniques, Special Interest Group activities, layout tours, tours of railroad sites and industrial tours.  General Interest Tours will go to locations that may interest everyone. For example, a tour to York could include a visit to the National Railway Museum or York Minster.  Some tours may be solely general in nature eg a tour of the Cotswolds.

Will I have to drive?

No, all convention activities will either be on site or accessible by public transport.  Where tours require travel, this will be included in the price.

Registration

Can I register for one day, two days, three days during the convention?

Attendees coming for a full week will be able to register for the week.  Day attendees will be able to buy a clinic and on site activities ticket.

Do you need to be a member of the NMRA to register for the convention?

No, you do not need to be a member of the NMRA to register for and attend the convention. Only NMRA members may enter the model and photo contests but all are welcome for the non-judged celebration of models.

I find I can’t attend the convention. How do I cancel my convention registration?

There will be a refund policy issued once registrations open.

What is the difference between Primary Registrant and Companion registrations?

The primary registrant is the party interested in the rail element of the convention. There must be a primary registrant for every family. A companion registrant and/or a family registrant is a family member, living at the same address, who is registering with the primary registrant and is therefore eligible for a reduced registration rate. All registrants are equally eligible to participate in any clinics, tours or other activities, except that entries into the model and photo contests must come from NMRA members.

Tours

What tours are going to be offered?

It’s early days but tours will offer a mix of trips to layouts, prototype, rail and industrial sites of interest, museums and general interest (tourist) trips.

Are the tours handicapped accessible?

We aim to ensure that the hotel is fully handicapped accessible. We will detail accessibility issues on layout and other tour destinations. Please note that tour locations may not be fully accessible.

Is lunch or dinner provided on longer tours?

In many cases, yes, boxed/packed lunches will be provided on longer tours however in some cases access to a restaurant will be provided instead.  This will be clearly marked.

Is photography permitted on tours?

Permissions to photograph subjects on tours vary significantly.

Here are answers for both layout and other tours.

Layout tours

If you wish to take photos or videos of the layout, please ask the host for permission. It is rarely refused, but if the host is reluctant, put the camera away. Do not allow your filming to monopolize the best viewing areas or interfere with others’ views and movement. Tripods, large format cameras and bags of any kind are not permitted at layouts on tour.

Prototype and General Interest tours

The tour specific photography policy will be advised in the timetable. Many facilities have commercially sensitive processes. Several require that their worksites not be photographed. Some may require all cameras and cell phones be left on the bus. As a rule of thumb, historical enterprises (e.g. museums) welcome photography, commercial industries usually do not.

Many of you are visiting from outside the local area. Photography from the tour coach, during your travels, is always possible.

What do I do if I find a tour I want is sold out?

We will maintain a “wait list” for tours. We encourage the use of this feature because it offers two potential paths:

  1. You will be in line if and when someone cancels their reservation and
  2. It tells us the level of demand for a given tour and if demand justifies it, we will see what we can do to increase the capacity of the tour or add another section of it.

For tours with sufficient people on the waitlist we may be able to schedule an additional coach.

What is the minimum time between tours that should be allowed?

As a practical matter and based on the experience of many conventions, booking tours with much less than 30 or 45 minute gap carries a risk and a 15 minute gap is not advised. We cannot hold up an afternoon tour because a morning tour is delayed and our policy does not allow for refunds for tours missed because of a missed connection.

We realize that some tours are booked close together due to a variety of scheduling constraints. Since different coaches may be involved with the two adjacent tours, you should not assume that your coach being late will delay the afternoon coach; though that is possible if the two tours do happen to share the same bus. We do not have that information (it will be controlled by the coach company) so we couldn’t advise you on that detail in any case.

Hotel

Which hotel is the convention going to be in?

We cannot say yet but there are 7,000 hotel rooms within 10 minutes’ walk so there will be plenty of options for anyone wishing to find a hotel room.

Are there other nearby eating places other than the hotel?

There are dozens of restaurants in the city centre. We will have more details available at the convention.

Is Wifi free at the hotel?

Wifi is normally free but we will update when the hotel is confirmed.

Where do I book a room for the convention?

Hotel bookings will open in 2022.

Clinics

What are clinics?

Clinics are talks by well renowned modellers and experts on anything from real railways to models.  There will be a huge range of subjects available.

Do I have to register for the clinics?

No, all regular Clinics are held on a first come, first served basis and are included in the cost of your registration. The only exception is the make and take program, which we do not refer to as “clinics” for this reason. These sessions will require registration to control numbers and a materials fee.

How do I offer to present a clinic at the convention?

If you would like to offer a clinic, contact our Clinics Chair, Mick Moignard, at Clinics@NMRA2022UK.org.

What do I do if I find a tour I want is sold out?

We will maintain a “wait list” for tours. We encourage the use of this feature because it offers two potential paths:

  1. You will be in line if and when someone cancels their reservation and
  2. It tells us the level of demand for a given tour and if demand justifies it, we will see what we can do to increase the capacity of the tour or add another section of it.

For tours with sufficient people on the waitlist we may be able to schedule an additional coach.

What other convention activities are there?

This will largely depend on the number or attendees so is hard to predict this far out but we aim to offer:

  • NMRA contest
  • Celebration of models
  • Introduction to operations
  • Food and drink events
  • Tourist information and help

Train Show/Model Railway Exhibition

Will there be a Train Show in the United Kingdom?

Yes, it will take place at the end of the convention in Birmingham.

Will there be a National Train Show in the United States?

Yes, details to come nearer the time but it will not conflict with the convention train show.

I am planning on coming to the Train Show. How do I participate in the NMRA Convention?

You will need to buy a registration or ticket for the convention.

Is the National Train Show® a part of the convention?

The National Train Show® is an NMRA event held annually, normally in conjunction with the NMRA National Convention. In 2022, it will be a separate event held in the United States at a non-conflicting time.

Where will the Train Show be located?

In the Birmingham area

Birmingham, United kingdom

Can I ride public transport from the airport or railway station to the convention hotel?

Yes, there are excellent public transport options available.

Do I need a car while in Birmingham?

No, if you plan to stick with the convention activities. We will provide transportation to most convention activities and venues (See individual event descriptions for details).

Of course, if you plan to go off doing your own activities during the convention, then a car might be necessary.

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