Benefits of Membership of the National Model Railroad Association 

The roundhouse at the La Mesa Model Railroad Club, San Diego, California, USA. There are many benefits to joining the National Model Railroad Association, as you can see below. But one of the main  benefits to joining the NMRA, is so you can learn the hobby, meet people interested in the hobby, share your modeling tips and to have fun.  

Membership Rates and Renewal Information

To join the National Model Railroad Association, new members are welcome to take advantage of a discounted nine month introductory membership rate called the Rail Pass. All membership rates and benefits of membership links are listed just below. 

The National Model Railroad Association Magazine

  • Membership includes a subscription to the National Model Railroad Association Magazine
  • If you'd like to contribute to the magazine, it is explained here online.

Beginner's Guide

National Model Railroad Standards

  • Take advantage of having access to the standards created by the National Model Railroad Association for model railroading, to help make your hobby fun

Member Aid

  • A program where members can ask questions and get answers about the model train hobby. While the national office of the NMRA has a Member Aid web page, please remember that when you join the San Diego Division, there are many experienced model railroaders who will be glad to discuss model railroading and provide excellent advice for any level of modeler. 

National Model Railroad Association Partnership Program

Classes of Membership

A Celebration of Models, Photos & Crafts (Contests)

  • The Celebration of Models, Photos & Crafts works to bring the many ways to show off the talent of hobbyists of all ages in these categories. The contest is much less about who wins, but more about sharing our accomplishments and techniques, teaching and learning and perhaps most important encouraging and inspiring each other. 

Golden Spike Award

  • The Golden Spike and Merit Awards are the easiest, and for many people, and are the first Achievement Program award that they earn. It is designed to demonstrate familiarity with different areas of the hobby, rather than expertise in a particular area.

Achievement Program

  • The Achievement Program also provides incentive to learn and master the many crafts and skills necessary in the hobby of model railroading. With the completion of each category, you will be issued a certificate acknowledging your achievement.

Master Model Railroader®

  • A National Model Railroad Association member qualifies as a Master Model Railroader® when he or she has obtained at least seven of the eleven Achievement Certificates provided that he or she has earned at least one Achievement Certificate in each of the four areas of the Regulations. Earning the title of Master Model Railroader® is the ultimate goal for many participants in the Achievement Program.

Regional Conventions

  • Each year, each region of the National Model Railroad Association holds their own local conventions. Here is the list of the Regional Conventions

National Model Railroad Association National Train Show (Cancelled for 2020)

  • Each year, the National Model Railroad Association holds a model train show. The 2020 train show has been cancelled. 

The Kalmbach Memorial Library

  • The Kalmbach Memorial Library is located in the California State Railroad Museum Library in Sacramento (California, USA) and is one of the largest railroad specific libraries in the USA. 

100% Clubs

  • When a local local model railroad club joins the National Model Railroad Association 100% Clubs, they can take advantage of this service which includes insurance and other benefits.

Model Railroad Directory

  • The Model Railroad Directory allows members to showcase their layout with pictures, videos and text for others to view. This The Model Railroad Directory is password protected and only members in good standing have access to this directory. 

Model Insurance

  • An important Benefit of Membership in the National Model Railroad Association, is that membership provides you with the opportunity and ability to be part of the NMRA property insurance program, for your model railroad equipment and all related parts that comprise a layout.

National Model Railroad Association Liability Insurance for 100% Clubs (available only in the USA and Canada)

  • For model railroad clubs can take advantage of insurance programs offered by the National Model Railroad Association.