For the past four years Katie and I, plus a dedicated group of volunteers, have rejuvenated the “Naperville” RPM and hosted the RPM Chicagoland event through its 26th year. This is the first and longest running RPM conference, where we all have a chance to get together with like minded modelers and share information, presentations, and great modeling.

Because registration usually opens by April 1, and because we know folks like to book travel in advance, we wanted to provide an update on why we haven’t been able to share dates for the 2020 event yet.

The event has been at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Lisle, IL for the last ~7 years. However, the hotel has booked our dates with another group and has not been able to provide a different set of dates that works within the national RPM and general Model Railroading calendar. We have been investigating options to move to another hotel, but the price of events in the Chicago market continues to go up. It has pushed other events out, like the O Scale March Meet, which is also having issues supporting increasing ballroom costs. To date, we have not located a suitable venue for the 2020 event.

With the possibility of a pandemic, and all sorts of large national events starting to get cancelled, maybe it is a godsend to not be under contract with a hotel for 2020.

A team of local modelers, under Frank Hodina’s Resin Car Works flag, continues to evaluate options for a 2020 event. Frank will be taking the lead on the event. If nothing works out for 2020, focus will shift toward a 2021 event.

On my end, I’m shifting focus to work with the NMRA on an RPM component to the National Convention. The NMRA has always provided event insurance for RPM meets, and RPM started out at the NMRA national conventions. I discussed the possibility of merging RPM Chicagoland into the NMRA with the core group, as it would solve the hotel issues and also provide a true national level RPM that moves around the country. However, there are some challenges to overcome with that model and a general feeling that RPM Chicagoland should remain separate from the NMRA. So RPM Chicagoland will remain separate moving forward.

Katie and I can’t thank the following people enough for helping with administration, mini-kits, presentations and more: Matt Gaudynski, Harz Sondericker, Eric Hansmann, Jeremy and Kristen Dummler, Frank Hodina, Tom Madden, Aaron Gjermundson, Ted Culotta, and the HO and N scale Modutrak groups.

We do look forward to the 27th show. Please watch www.rpmchicagoland.com for updates as they become available.

All the best,
Mike Skibbe