Member Services

The NMRA is many things to many people.

The NMRA is Fellowship...

Members at all levels of the NMRA are eager to share their knowledge and friendship.


There are over 150 NMRA Divisions - groups of NMRA members in local communities. Most hold regular meetings featuring interesting and informative presentations on subjects ranging from "how-to" clinics to prototype railroad slide presentations. Many also have a regular newsletter for members.


There are 17 NMRA Regions across the globe, and each Region comprises many Divisions. Regions usually hold annual or semi-annual conventions, including presentations and clinics, as well as tours to model layouts, prototype tours, and even banquets and swap meets. All Regions have a member newsletter.


Every summer the NMRA National Convention brings together its members for a week of clinics, contests, layout tours, prototype excursions, the "National Train Show®", and dozens of other exciting activities. Every year it's held in a different city, so it makes an ideal family vacation.

The NMRA is Member Services...

Being a member of the NMRA entitles you to a multitude of services, all geared toward expanding your enjoyment of the hobby. You'll find most of these services listed below in the "Why Join" section.

Every month our large, four-color magazine, NMRA Magazine, in either print (optional) or digital (included in membership) format, will update you on NMRA activities on a Divisional, Regional, and National level. It also includes informative modeling or prototype articles.

In addition, NMRA members have exclusive access to Data and Standards Sheets, The Pike Registry, and dozens of other resources.

The NMRA is Standards...

When the NMRA was founded in 1935, model railroading was in its infancy, without standards that ensured interchangeability. The NMRA was the organization that set those Standards and Recommended Practices which still guide manufacturers and consumers alike. In fact, the NMRA recently set the manufacturing standards that continue to guarantee the compatibility of different brands of DCC equipment.

The NMRA is also deeply involved with developing both Module standards and Large Scale train standards, again helping to ensure that hobbyists enjoy the many benefits of equipment compatibility.

The NMRA is The A. C. Kalmbach Memorial Library...

The Kalmbach Memorial Library just may be the largest railroad reference and research center in the world, containing over 100,000 prototype photos, 6,000 books, and more than 50,000 modeling, prototype and historical society magazines. Every year it answers dozens of members' questions about everything from model to prototype railroading. We have now partnered with the library at the California State Railroad Museum (CSRM) to make their services available to NMRA members. We have loaned a substantial number (over 4,200) of books to add to their collection, while we retain ownership. You can contact them directly ( for information on their services. They have books, periodicals, maps, timetables, and other materials that can be scanned and purchased. There are service and fee schedules on their website.

By contacting NMRA headquarters, members can get photocopies of magazine articles; self-purchase photo reproductions from the online archives; and purchase surplus books and magazines (as available) in the Company Store.

The NMRA is the Achievement Program...

The NMRA's Achievement Program, or "AP," is designed to help modelers improve their skills and get more enjoyment out of their hobby. In addition, it gives recognition to those members who have displayed a high degree of skill or service to the hobby.

The Achievement Program helps give you the skills that let you build a model railroad you can be proud of.

The NMRA is Conventions...

Anyone who thinks a local club can offer the same benefits as the NMRA has never been to an NMRA National Convention. Each summer some of the best modelers from around the world gather to teach, learn, compete in modeling contests, and view some of the best model railroad layouts around.

The convention is capped off by the "National Train Show®", one of the largest shows of its kind in the country. You'll typically find over 150,000 square feet of booths from model railroad manufacturers and dealers, most with special "train show deals" or special model introductions.

In addition, Region and Division conventions and meets give members a chance to gather together to gain knowledge and "talk trains" all year long.

Why join the NMRA?

The NMRA has many benefits of membership.

  • NMRA Member Benefits - summary of benefits of NMRA Membership
  • Kalmbach Memorial Library - perhaps one of the finest resources available to anyone interested in railroads or model railroads... members get special discounts and first crack at special releases of books and surplus books. We are now partnered with the California State Railroad Museum and they will provide services to our members at their published rates.
  • Fellowship of other modelers
  • NMRA Model Railroad Directory - Search the Directory for members with model railroads. List your own model railroad so others can get in touch and see your work.
  • ​The Achievement Program - there's no better way to improve your modeling
  • Regional and National Conventions
  • Access to Master Model Railroaders - they come from all over the world to the National convention. MMRs attend most Regional and Divisional functions, too! (MMR list by Number, by Region.)
  • Monthly NMRA Magazine
  • Insurance coverage for club layouts, meets and shows (USA and Canada only)
  • NMRA Standards & Recommended Practices
  • Participation in photo, slide and model contests with fellow members
  • Members' Aid Program Got a question? We've got the answers!
  • Pike Registry -- Register your model railroad name
  • 100% NMRA Club - The extra benefits of having all of your rail club members also members in the NMRA

When you're an NMRA member, you're automatically a member of your Region and Division without paying additional dues!

Special local activities at Division or Region meets can include:

  • Clinics given by modelers for modelers
  • Region & Division Collector Cars
  • Photo and slide contests
  • Model contests and Popular Vote model contests
  • Dealers tables
  • Layout tours and open houses

Want to join?

Join Online Now

See what Model Railroader's Lionel Strang had to say about the NMRA

The NMRA shall not deny membership or any rights of membership to any person based on the person's race, color, national and ethnic origin. The NMRA does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its policies, programs, or activities.