All about the community of model railroading and rail enthusiasm


Model railroad industry recognizes inventor of Kadee’s ‘whisker’ centering systems, Amherst show director

September 8, 2023

Model Railroading, News

The Model Railroad Industry Division of the Hobby Manufacturers Association inducted its newest Hall of Fame member and recognized the 2023 Bobbye Hall Award winner in August at the NMRA National Train Show.

Michael N. Dunham of Kadee Quality Products Co. is the 52nd member inducted into the Hall of Fame. Amherst Railway Society’s John Sacerdote took home the Bobbye Hall Award. The awards were presented at the MRID’s breakfast before the final day of the show, which concluded the NMRA National Convention in Grapevine, TX.

MRID president Steve Olson introduced the winners.

Kadee’s Michael Dunham, right, holds or is named in more than a dozen model railroad patents, including Kadee’s “whisker” centering system. – Tim Blackwell/Cowcatcher Magazine

Dunham, who was nominated for the Hall of Fame in 2022, holds or is named in more than 12 model railroad patents, including for Kadee’s “whisker” centering system, remote uncoupling operation and two-piece trucks.

“He is a great inventor and developer of many new machines utilized in the manufacturing process of products from Kadee and is highly respected amongst those he works with,” Kadee president and general manager Alan Vezzani said. “With his innovative designs and choice of materials, he has really set Kadee apart from many of the other manufacturers of all American-made products. His integrity, dedication and relentless desire to keep improving products is second to none.”

Dunham has worked over 30 years in the model railroad industry and is Kadee’s plant engineer.

Sacerdote, the face of the nonprofit Amherst Railway Society’s Railroad Hobby Show, is the 16th recipient of the Bobbye Hall Award, which recognizes an individual or organization for service in the model railroad industry. Established in 2008, it is given annually in memory of the late owner of Hall’s Hobby House in Dallas. She served the industry in many capacities during a long career.

The Railroad Hobby Show is one of the industry’s largest and attracted well over 20,000 each year before the pandemic. The show has given over $850,000 in grants and donations to local charities and railway societies on behalf of the Amherst Railway Society.

In addition, Sacerdote is leading Amherst’s latest mentoring effort, Kids on Track, a program that encourages children to take the throttle and run trains at an annual model train show in Springfield, MA.

Sacerdote, the 16th recipient of the award, could not be present to accept it but said in a statement, “I accept this award with a great deal of humility and thanks, loving this hobby and hoping that I can live up to Bobbye Hall’s legacy and what she has done for model railroading and this fantastic hobby.”

MRID vice president Tim Blackwell accepted the award on Sacerdote’s behalf.

MRID, a division of the Hobby Manufacturers Association, promotes public awareness of model railroading by those actively engaged in the model railroad industry. It also works to promote and advance hobby programs through the industry and others.

The first class of the Hall of Fame was induced in 1985 and included 13 members. Among them are Irvin R. Athearn, Joshua Lionel Cowan, Alfred C. Gilbert, Gordon Varney and William K. Walthers.

Last year’s inductee was Larry Price of Youth in Model Railroading.

Current Issue: September/October 2023


Bright, shiny freight cars are showing in greater numbers on the North American rail network. New orders and deliveries increased in 2022 following a decline beginning in 2019 that the pandemic worsened in 2020 and 2021. According to a report from the Railway Supply Institute's American Railway Car Institute Committee, new freight car orders last year were significantly greater than the combined total of 2020 and 2021. Deliveries increased nearly as much.

But car builders are not out of the woods yet, as the first half of 2023 saw some ups and downs.


Too much of a good thing can be hazardous to model railroad operations. Adding more cars to a layout can place more pressure on yards and industries when running the railroad like the real thing. Three veteran operators share their thoughts about how to avoid logjams in yards, sidings and at industries. 


Computer-based applications that complement DCC are driving the new frontier of model rail road operations.


The Sunset Limited ranks as Amtrak's worst train in on-time performance, prompting a Surface Transportation Board investigation. The Southern Pacific's Coast Daylight, with its brilliant colors, was among the most beautiful trains during the golden age of passenger rail. A BNSF test locomotive that set the stage for future developments in alternative energy motive power technology arrives at an Oklahoma railroad museum.