See what you're thinking



The NNGC app is a handy tool for the attendees of the 35th National Narrow Gauge Convention in Houston, Texas. It combines the data found on the NNGC website with conveniences integrated with an iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

What is the NNGC? The National Narrow Gauge Convention is arguably the best gathering of model railroad talent in the world. That is an amazing accomplishment considering the NNGC is not sanctioned nor sponsored by any formal organization. The NNGC is put on by volunteers at a different city each year. The contest models and photos entered are of fine quality. Vendors stretch far and wide and this year it fills up two convention halls. Clinics share a wealth of building and railroad knowledge. Local modelers open up their home model raillroad layouts for attendees to visit. It is a very enjoyable event!

Note: To attend the 35th National Narrow Gauge Convention the attendee needs to register ($95). The NNGC website can be found at http://www.nngc-2015.com

NNGC App Features

  • NNGC Overview information and links
  • Layout Tours
    • Sort Layouts by Railroad, Owner, Scale
    • Highlight the Layouts you want to visit
    • Layout address links with direct access to Maps app for GPS navigation
    • Select any Layout for full details
  • Clinics
    • Sort Clinics by Time, Title, Presenter
    • Highlight the Clinics you want to attend
    • Select any Clinic for full details
    • Create calendar reminders directly within Clinic Details
  • Contests Categories
    • Entry Forms
    • Contest Rules
  • Vendors with their space assignments
  • The NNGC Schedule
  • And more!

The information below shows how an attendee can use the NNGC app.

Data Refresh

The information for the National Narrow Gauge Convention can change more often as we get closer to the NNGC dates. When you open the NNGC app for the first time, it will be empty. Very sad indeed, but fret not! On the upper right you will see a button with a gear icon. Click that button and the Data Refresh screen will open with great potential!

Main Menu 1 Image       Data Refresh 1 Image

Press the "Refresh All Data" button and a confirmation dialog appears. Confirm the dialog and the very latest convention data will download onto your iPhone.

Data Refresh 2 Image       Main Menu 2 Image

When the download is complete the Data Refresh screen will disappear and you'll be back at the main screen, which will be full of convention goodies!

If you try to do a Data Refresh without a network connection (Cellular and Wi-Fi), you will get a friendly network error. Don't worry, if the Data Refresh fails, preexisting NNGC data will still be there.

Layout Tours

We at the NNGC live for layout tours! From the main screen, tap on Layouts and the Layouts list appears. On the upper right, there's a sort button that initially sorts the list by Railroad name. Pressing the sort button will toggle the sort to Owners. Press it one more time and it sorts by Scale. The sort button is a three-way sort toggle: Railroad > Owner > Scale.

Layout 1 Image    Layout 2 Image    Layout 3 Image

Layouts Highlighting

Each of us are eager to dive into the Layout Tours guide book and dog-ear the layouts we want to visit. No need to wait for the convention to start, you can do that now! To highlight a layout row, right swipe the row. To un-highlight a highlighted row, left swipe the row. Highlighting layout rows will remain highlighted when you exit and return. Highlighted rows will even stay highlighted even if you do another Data Refresh! It's permanent unless you decide to un-highlight that row.

Layout 4 Image       Layout 5 Image

Layout Selection

Tap on a layout row to see its detailed layout information (example shown above). This will show the railroad name, its owner and scale and a detailed description of the layout. If the description fills the description box, you can scroll down further with your finger. Please note that all website links, email addresses and phone numbers found in the description box will be highlighted in blue and if pressed on, it will invoke the appropriate application (Safari for web links, email app for email links, and phone app for phone numbers).

Layout Addresses and GPS Navigation

The layout tour addresses that appear in the layout tour guide book also appear in the NNGC app. They can be found on the layout's detail screen, within the description box at the very bottom. Addresses will be highlighted. Pressing on the address will take you directly into the Maps application for easy GPS Navigation.

NOTE: For privacy (which we care about greatly), layout addresses will only appear during the days the convention is active. Please, for the privacy of the home layout owners, do not share or reproduce the home layout addresses.

Disclaimer time! Though I fully believe in all things Apple (all hail Apple), one should take the Apple Maps app (as with all GPS navigation systems) with a tiny grain of salt. In real life, roads detour, names are altered, things change. It's hard to hit a moving target. Have your wits about you when venturing into unknown areas and having a co-pilot certainly does help.


The NNGC Clinics contain a wealth of knowledge! Pressing on the Clinics row on the main screen will take you to a listing of all the clinics available at the NNGC. Clinics also has a sort button on the upper right. It can be sorted by Time, Title, and Presenter. And just like the Layouts section, Clinics can be highlighted. Right swipe to highlight a row. Left swipe to un-highlight a highlighted row.

Clinic 1 Image    Clinic 2 Image    Clinic 3 Image

To view a clinic's details, tap its row. The clinic's details screen shows the clinic's title, presenter, room, start and end times, and description. The Clinic Details screen also has a handy "Add Event" button which, when pressed and confirmed, will create a calendar event with a 1 hour lead time alert for the clinic chosen. No more, "I forgot" excuses! Once the clinic event has been created, a verification alert window will display.

Clinic 4 Image    Clinic 5 Image    Clinic 6 Image


Vendors, vendors everywhere! Who are they? What table space are they in? What's their website? All this info is at your fingertips by simply selecting the Vendors row from the main screen.

Vendor 1 Image

The Vendors listing shows the vendor's name, website and table space ID. If you wish to view the vendor's website, then right swipe the vendor's row and their website will launch in Safari.


The Contests row on the main screen will open the Contest information and categories. The very bottom shows the contest entry forms PDF documents and contest rules PDF document.

Contest 1 Image

NNGC and the NNGC Schedule

For general information and links on the National Narrow Gauge Convention, select the NNGC row on the main screen.

For a handy reference of the NNGC Schedule, select the Schedule row on the main screen.

NNGC 1 Image       Schedule 1 Image

Enjoy the Show!

There's so much to see and do at the National Narrow Gauge Convention that it can boggle the mind. I hope this NNGC app can help you unboggle. See you in Houston!


Please email us if you have any support questions: jim@jimvision.com

  • NNGC - Version History
  • Version 2.1 - Released on March 24, 2015
    • Corrects NNGC icon issue on the iPad.
  • Version 2.0 - Released on March 11, 2015
    • Updated for iOS 8.1
    • Updated for multiple contest entry forms.
    • Updated for the 35th NNGC in Houston, Texas.
  • Version 1.0 - Released on July 29, 2013
    • Initial release.