It is time to get excited about Winterfest 2017, the 23rd Annual Northeast NTRAK Convention, January 28-29, 2017. The convention will again be held in conjunction with the annual ARS Railroad Hobby Show of the Amherst Railway Society (ARS) at the Eastern States Exposition grounds ("The Big E") in West Springfield, MA. This is the largest annual model railroad show in New England. The show usually has an attendance of more than 20,000. As in previous years, Winterfest 2017 will feature model, module, and photo contests, clinics, full capacity layout operations, and a memorable Saturday evening banquet.
2017: We will have layouts in the Better Living Center and in the Mallory Building. Modules in both buildings can be entered into the Module Contest. T-Trak will be running in the Young building (likely).
Model & Photo Contest: You must be registered to enter any contest. Refer to the model entry form for other details. Some restrictions apply so please read the Contest Registration form carefully. The Parade of Trains, Photo, and Model contests will be held in the Better Living Center as done in the past. See notes in the Registration & Module Sections below.
Special Reminder – To qualify for the NTrak discount, you must register! See Registration details below. You can register at the hotel before you submit your NTrak registration. Once we have received your completed registration, your name will be provided to the hotel and your discounted rate applied.
Our convention hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn, centrally located just off Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield. The hotel, located at 800 West Columbus Avenue, is 600 feet south of the Basketball Hall of Fame, and only minutes from "The Big E" and the Springfield AMTRAK Station. A convention rate of $101.00 plus tax (currently 12.45%) per night has been negotiated, single or double occupancy. Reservations should be made before January 1, 2016 by calling 800-774-1500 or 413-886-8000. Please identify yourself as a member of "NTRAK 2017" to get the special rate. After January 2, hotel reservations will be accepted on a space available basis only. There is ample free parking at the hotel for registered guests. Other accommodations in the area with special train show rates can be found HERE. The hotel will be available after 4:00 PM Friday for check-in. The Convention Registration Desk will open at 7:00 PM Friday in the hotel conference room area just off the main lobby. A series of entertaining and informative clinics will begin at 7:30 PM near the registration desk.
Full registration for Winterfest 2017 is again just $32.00, $27.00 if your registration form and payment is received before January 7, 2016. There will be a $4.00 registration charge for spouses again this year. Children under the age of 16 are free. Older children and other adult family members must register separately. It is essential that you register online.
NOTE: The online registration form may be found at the Northeast NTRAK website (www.nenscale.org).
In summary, save the dates for Winterfest 2017; make your hotel reservations now; call the Winterfest Layout Coordinator now to reserve space in the layout for your modules; fill out the online registration form and mail in with your check now to finalize your registration; finish up those potential prize winning models for the model contest; spruce up your best module for the module contest; decide on your best train to run in the "Parade of Trains" contest; print and frame those great pictures you took recently; start packing a variety of trains to help keep the layout running at capacity; think about how you can personally contribute to make Winterfest a little bit more enjoyable for everyone this year; and then get totally psyched to help make Winterfest 2017 a really fun time for everyone!
The buildings will open at 7:30am on Friday, and 6:30am Saturday, for layout set-up activities. For Friday set up, please plan to arrive before 1pm, and to the extent possible, have all modules in place, clamped, and connected before 5:00pm. Those who do not bring modules but plan to run trains should also plan to arrive as early as possible to help set up and test the layout.
There is no charge for parking during set up on Friday. There is a $5.00 per day charge for parking on Saturday and Sunday. "The Big E" will be selling hangtags on Friday which provide unlimited entry/exit on show days at a cost of $10.00. Please read the article titled "Winterfest Layout Operation" which is applicable again this year.
Everyone must have a badge issued by the ARS to gain entry to the show buildings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Adult admission to the show for the public is $10 per day or $18 for a two-day ticket. Winterfest registrants receive an "exhibitor badge" because they each bring modules, trains and equipment; help set-up or take-down; and/or contribute to the operation of the layout in some way. Registered spouses and children should be especially aware of the privilege of having an "exhibitor badge" in addition to their Winterfest badge. The ARS prints "exhibitor badges" using the list of names we provide to them by January 8, 2017. After that date, badges will cost $12. To obtain your badge you must stop at the tables along the wall to the left of the Show Office on Friday after 11:00 AM as you arrive for layout set-up and say you are part of the NTRAK layout. The Show Office is located just inside Door #7 of the Better Living Center.
We encourage you to bring your best modules for our module contest. If you are planning to bring a module, please contact the Winterfest Layout Coordinators: Dan Pawling Jr. (BLC) or John Bingle at 917-662-5378 (Mallory) as soon as possible to reserve your space. In order to accommodate as many modules as possible, we will use the layout in Mallory for “overflow”. Per the Module Registration Request Form available on-line: Module Reservation Form.
All modules showing at Amherst Railway Society's Big E Show displaying in Northeast NTtrak's Winterfest layouts are required to submit the above-linked form. Registration deadline is on or before January 3rd, 2016. All Registration Forms for either building must be sent snail mail to Daniel F Pawling JR. at 9 Rogers Street Newton Ma 02458-2435 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org Cell phone for questions is 781-801-6480. No call in registrations will be accepted.
We plan to run DCC (Digitrax) on the Red & Blue lines, so bring your DCC equipped motive power and radio throttles.
We know it is difficult for some people to arrive on Friday for module set-up or to stay until the show ends on Sunday at 5:00 PM. We also know it takes extra effort to haul, set up, and take down another module in addition to bringing your best module. However, it is very important to maintain the tradition of promoting NTRAK by completely filling our allotted 30' x 80' layout space at the BLC and new space in Mallory, and by running our layouts at capacity with a full complement of trains.
If you are not bringing a module, please offer to help those who did when the show ends.
On Saturday morning convention activity will shift to "The Big E". Please arrive early to help with track cleaning and final testing so a full set of long trains will be rolling when the doors open to the public at 9:00am (10am Sunday). Be sure to help fill all the slots on the sign-up sheets..
Model Contest & Photo Contest: You must be registered to enter. Refer to the model entry form for other details.
Entries will be received Friday as soon as the table is operational, and Saturday from 8:00am until 10:00am. To beat the rush, please try to bring your contest entries on Friday! We have online model and photo contest entry forms that should be filled out online and printed for each of your contest entries. Please clearly indicate which category your model is entered in. Due to space constraints, we must limit the number of photo entries from each person to 2 for each category, and model entries to 1 per category, with a max of three model entries. Models must exhibit the work of the person enter the model: no “out of the box” entries will be accepted. The “Parade of Trains competition will be held from 1:00pm to 2:00pm, assuming we have enough judges.
Note: Voting in the model and photo contests must be completed before 2:00 PM.
Volunteers Needed !!! Last year we had to cancel the Parade of Trains for lack of judges. We didn’t get photos of all the modules for a lack of volunteers. Please give us just an hour of your shopping and running time to help make 2016 a successful event. Volunteers will also be needed for tabulating the votes Saturday afternoon.
Saturday evening activities at the convention hotel will begin at 6:30pm with an "Attitude Adjustment Period" featuring a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres. The banquet will feature a tossed garden salad with dressing, your choice of sliced Roast Sirloin or Chicken François, potato and vegetable, rolls and butter, and dessert. Water, coffee or tea will be served with the meal. The price for the banquet and appetizers, plus our usual entertainment, awards presentation, updates from manufacturers and exceptional camaraderie is again just $35.00 per person this year. A special meal is available for children under 12 for $17.95.
Everyone at the banquet will receive a coffee mug with the Winterfest 2016 logo. Extra coffee mugs will be available at $5.00 each as part of the registration process.
We still have some of the Micro Trains special run covered hopper car commemorating our 25 years of model railroading excellence. The car is being offered to Winterfest 2016 registrants as part of the online registration process at a special price of $27.00.
Again this year there will be an opportunity to purchase commemorative Winterfest 2016 T-shirts for $15.00. Shirts must be ordered and the size (S through XXL) must be chosen prior to January 7, 2016 as part of the online registration process. Shirts and special run cars will be distributed at the Winterfest Registration Desk on Friday evening.
On Sunday the focus returns again to "The Big E" for more excitement and team effort to keep the layout operating at full capacity. Of course, shopping and seeing the rest of the show is always an option. Please pick up model and photo entries at 2:00 PM. Layout take down and farewells will finish the convention activities after the show closes at 5:00 PM.
Consideration will be given to non-Winterfest registrants who wish to run trains. Track Time will be allowed based on the following priorities:
Volunteers: Please contact Geof Smith, John Bingle, or Bob Fallier and let us know when you will be available to help.
Chairman, Winterfest 2016
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