Experience the Rail Trip of a Lifetime - Right from Cedar Rapids!
April 12, 2012
Cedar Rapids will host the first ever National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) convention in Iowa this June, and now everyone has a chance to participate in its nine days of railroad excursion, tours and seminars. Tickets for all convention events go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, April 17, through the NRHS website at www.nrhs.com.
Convention events based in Iowa are scheduled for June 18-24. The convention activities begin in Chicago on Sunday, June 17 with a rare chartered Amtrak train, departing from historic Union Station, and arriving in Cedar Rapids to mark the start of the convention’s many events.
Passenger train trips are planned on three Iowa regional railroads: Iowa Interstate, Iowa Northern and Cedar Rapids & Iowa City ("CRANDIC"). These trips will operate from Cedar Rapids to destinations across the region, including Davenport, Newton, Iowa City, and Waterloo. An additional passenger train will operate from Cedar Falls to Manly, Iowa, as part of the convention. There will also be a full day of train operations at the Midwest Old Threshers facility in Mount Pleasant and a private passenger train on the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad at Boone, Iowa. The convention program will also include tours of Amana, Cedar Rapids and Kalona, visits to the former Chicago Great Western shops at Oelwein, a series of seminars on Iowa railroad history and nationally important issues, visits to industrial facilities, and a banquet with rail industry speakers. The convention ends with a return passenger train to Chicago on Monday, June 25.
“Cedar Rapids was chosen as the site for the convention several years ago,” explained NRHS convention chair, Bart Jennings. According to the NRHS, the Cedar Rapids area has a unique concentration of railroads that are willing to host the many events normally found at an NRHS convention. “The railroads of Cedar Rapids, including the Iowa Northern, CRANDIC, and Iowa Interstate, were all willing to be a part of the convention,” stated Jennings. “Additionally, with Union Pacific celebrating its 150th Anniversary and Amtrak celebrating its 40th Anniversary, the NRHS found that Iowa in 2012 was the perfect host location.”
The convention is being managed by the NRHS national staff and volunteers from across the country, with the support of local convention and visitors bureaus. The CRACVB has played a valuable role in bringing the convention to the city.
“The Cedar Rapids Area CVB is pleased to welcome the convention to our community. NRHS attendees will receive warm hospitality and first-class service during their visit to Cedar Rapids. We’re excited to welcome them aboard.”
Kim Burger of the Cedar Falls Tourism & Visitors Bureau added, “We’re excited to welcome conference attendees experiencing the passenger train ride from Cedar Falls to Manly to our community. We anticipate folks will find our historical downtown area a delight, especially since the event takes place during our annual Sturgis Falls Celebration.”
Linda Bacon, Executive Director of the Newton CVB, is also supporting the convention efforts and stated, “We are excited that the 2012 NRHS Convention will be making its lunch stop at the former Rock Island Station in Newton during its full-day rail trip on June 20.”
The 2012 NRHS convention is anticipated to bring 600 attendees and $336,000 in direct spending to the Cedar Rapids area.
“We are looking forward to a diverse and interesting NRHS convention program in Iowa,” said NRHS President Greg Molloy. “Cedar Rapids offers a variety of historical venues, and it’s centrally located on three regional railroads that will provide a variety of train trips. Couple those train trips to our industrial tours, historical seminars and a charter day at the famous Midwest Old Threshers grounds, and convention attendees will get a unique look at mid-American railroading.”
According to the NRHS, tickets for the convention and its events went on sale to its members last fall. Approximately 500 members from across the United States, as well as Japan, Canada, Great Britain, Sweden and several other countries, have already registered for the event.
“This is the major activity each year for NRHS members,” commented NRHS President Molloy. “Members come from around the world to ride and photograph trains, share information, and discuss the railroad preservation movement.”
For those interested in attending the convention, or in riding one or more of the special passenger trains that are part of the event, information and on-line ticket ordering is available through the NRHS website at www.nrhs.com. Details on each event, as well as pricing information and ticket availability, is also available there along with regular convention updates.
About the NRHS
The National Railway Historical Society (NRHS) is a non-profit organization established in 1935 to promote interest in, and appreciation for, America's railroads and their history. During the past ten years, NRHS has awarded more than $500,000 in rail history preservation grants. The NRHS also sponsors RailCamp, a summer orientation program offering high school youth hands-on experience in the railroad industry. Information about the NRHS, its activities and its more than 160 chapters worldwide can be found on its website: www.nrhs.com.
Convention List of Events
SUNDAY, JUNE 17, 2012
10:30am - 5:00pm Chicago to Cedar Rapids Amtrak Charter Passenger Train
8:00pm - 9:30pm Seminar - “The Railroad History of Cedar Rapids”
MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2012
8:00am - 5:00pm Midwest Old Threshers
8:00pm - 9:30pm Seminar - “Abo Canyon Gets Double Track”
TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 2012
8:00am - 6:30pm Cedar Rapids to Rock Island Excursion Train - steam and diesel
9:00am - 4:00pm Amana Heritage Tour
8:00pm - 9:30pm Meet the NRHS Officers and NRHS At-Large Member Meeting
8:30pm - Midnight Night Photo Session
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20, 2012
8:00am - 5:30pm Cedar Rapids to Newton Excursion Train - steam and diesel
9:00am - 2:00pm Cedar Rapids Heritage Tour
8:00pm - 9:30pm Seminar - “NRHS and Photographer’s Rights”
THURSDAY, JUNE 21, 2012
10:00am - 3:30pm Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & Museum
8:00am - 2:00pm Hub City Railroad Museum Smokestack Tour
8:30am - 5:00pm Kalona Heritage Tour
8:45am - Noon Archer Daniels Midland Smokestack Tour
8:00pm - 9:30pm Seminar - “Railroads Surviving the 2008 Floods”
FRIDAY, JUNE 22, 2012
8:00am - 1:00pm Cedar Rapids to Iowa City Excursion Train - diesel
3:00pm NRHS Annual Membership Meeting
6:00pm - 9:30pm Banquet
SATURDAY, JUNE 23, 2012
8:00am - 5:30pm Cedar Rapids to Waterloo Excursion Train - diesel
8:00pm - 9:30pm Seminar - “Who was Kate Shelley?”
SUNDAY, JUNE 24, 2012
9:00am - 7:00pm Cedar Falls to Manly Excursion Train - diesel
MONDAY, JUNE 25, 2012
7:30am - 2:30pm Cedar Rapids to Chicago Amtrak Charter Passenger Train