The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) is a non-profit organization for those involved in the hobby or business of model railroading. It was founded in the United States in 1935, and is also active in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. It was previously headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was based in Chattanooga, Tennessee next to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) from 1982 to 2013 and has since relocated in Soddy Daisy.[1]


The best-known activity of the NMRA is the defining of standards, and advisory documents known as Recommended Practices (RP), for model railroad equipment. Many standards defined by the NMRA are widely followed by the industry and modellers, including their H0 scale track and wheel standards (S-3, S-4) and related RPs (RP2, 8, 10-15, and 25) and their Digital Command Control (DCC) standard set (S-9.1, S-9.2, and RP9.1.1 through RP9.3.2).[1]


The NMRA considers the education of model railroaders and encouraging learning and improving modelers’ skills to be part of its mission. The NMRA runs an achievement program to encourage these skills, and runs modeling contests. Most notably these include the Master Model Railroader certification program and the Golden Spike award. Both programs involve the demonstration and/or judging of proficiency in one or more model railroading skill areas. These areas include Railroad Equipment, Railroad Setting, Railroad Construction & Operation, Service to the Hobby & NMRA Member. A full explanation of each program along with applications can be found on the NMRA website.[1]


Promotion of the model railroading hobby is also part of the NMRA’s purpose. Of note, the organization provides indirect assistance to the Boy Scouts of America‘s Railroading Merit badge program by encouraging members (through a hierarchy of National and Regional volunteer Boy Scout Coordinators) to become Railroading Merit Badge Counselors.[1]


Official Website Link:

NMRA Standards Link: