Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society
2020 Annual Convention
October 21 – October 24, 2020
Sparks, Nevada was founded in 1904 when Southern Pacific established a division point at that location. For years, Southern Pacific was the major private employer in Nevada and during the steam train era as many as 2,000 people were employed in Sparks by Southern Pacific. Although the round house was soon torn down after steam train operations were terminated in July 1956, the adjacent brick shop building still stands. Sparks identifies itself as a railroad town and remains proud of its Southern Pacific heritage. Places to visit include the National Automobile Museum, the Nevada Historical Society, the Nevada Museum of Art, The W. M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum located on the beautiful University of Nevada-Reno campus, and beautiful Lake Tahoe is less than an hour’s drive away. If you like the outdoors, among the choices of activities, depending on the weather, are hiking, golfing, skiing, and biking.
Our convention site is the beautiful and newly-remodeled Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. The hotel is located at 1100 Nugget Avenue, Sparks, Nevada. For more information about the Nugget, please click on the following link: http://www.nuggetcasinoresort.com/. For those who are nostalgic for railroad operations, the Union Pacific terminal in Sparks is immediately adjacent to the Nugget.
We have negotiated special convention rates of $89 per night for the Nugget’s East Tower and $102 per night for its Resort Tower plus taxes. To make a reservation, you may call the hotel reservation toll-free reservation line at 800-648-1177 and ask for the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society.
Vendor registration will begin at 4 pm on Wednesday, October 21. This will allow vendors to set up their wares on Wednesday from 4 pm to 9 pm (room open to vendors only). Vendor set up on Thursday will begin at 8 am.
Registration for attendees will begin at 5 pm on Wednesday, October 21. It will be open until 9 pm except for a dinner break from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. It will reopen on Thursday morning at 8 am and be open until 6 pm except for a lunch break from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm. On Friday, it will follow the schedule established on Thursday. On Saturday, registration will open at 8 am and end at noon.
The activities begin with an opening ceremony at 8:30 am on Thursday, October 22.
The vendor room will be open from 8:30 am to 5 pm on Thursday and Friday. It will be closed for a lunch break from 12 pm to 12:45 pm on both days.
This year, most presentations will be given twice. On Thursday and Friday, presentation times are 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm. The presentations are eclectic and will include contributions of the Chinese during the construction of the Central Pacific, the San Francisco Overland passenger train, the Carson and Colorado Railway, and the 1939 City of San Francisco sabotage train wreck. The convention timetable will be posted on the SPH&TS convention webpage in early October 2020 so you can plan your days.
The SPH&TS Board of Directors will meet on Thursday evening. Friday night’s activities include a Southern Pacific reunion where retirees will have the opportunity to meet and reminisce in a private setting, followed by the old-timers panel to which all attendees are welcome. This is the opportunity for former railroad employees to tell tall tales and short stories about their Southern Pacific careers.
On Saturday, presentations will be given at 11 am and 1 pm. The vendor room will be open from 8:30 am to 12 pm. It will close at that time so the room can be set up for the evening banquet.
Please keep in mind that the Society’s Company Store will be open with many books and other items to choose from.
One of the more popular events is the model and photo contest room. Prototypical models of freight, passenger, and maintenance of way equipment will be on display, and also photographs of models and actual equipment. The contest room will be open from 9 am to 5 pm on Thursday and Friday. On both days, it will be closed for lunch from 12 pm to 12:45 pm. On Saturday, voting for the contest entries begins at 9 am and ends at 12 pm. We look forward to seeing what you have been working on as there is always something new. You do not have to enter the contest – display items are fine, too.
Updated information will be posted here often, so you are encouraged to check in from time to time to review the updates.
|Connie Young Yu||Chinese and the Central Pacific|
|Jeff Cauthen and Don Munger||The San Francisco Overland Passenger Train|
|Brian Norden||Carson and Colorado Railway|
|Vic Ryerson||The 1939 City of San Francisco Sabotage Train Wreck|
|Mike McGinley||How Well Do You Know the History of Southern Pacific?|
|Bill Fowler and Gary Laakso||Southern Pacific’s Contract Department and Operating Agreements|
|John Ruehle||Modeling the Overland Route – 1946 – 1954|
|Dick Dorn||Snow Fighting in the Sierra|
|Jason Hill||Modeling Beet Racks and Certain Cars That Carried Them|
|Christopher MacMahon||Materials from throughout the world used in the construction of the Central Pacific|
|Jean-Guy Dubé||Nevada’s Surviving Railroad Depots|
|Richard Orsi||Southern Pacific/US Department of Interior Fallon area reclamation project c. 1900 (possible presentation)|
Extra Fare Events
Wednesday October 21, 2020
Museum Tour of Carson City
Motor coaches will depart the Nugget Casino Resort at 9 am for the one hour trip to Carson City. We will tour the Nevada State Railroad Museum before riding the Museum’s beautifully restored McKeen Car. We will then travel to the Nevada State Museum also located in Carson City. Before touring the Nevada State Museum, everyone will have lunch on their own at their choice of many restaurants near the Museum. After touring the Museum, we plan to finish the day at the former Carson City Mint.
Sunday October 25, 2020
Riding the Virginia & Truckee Steam Train between Virginia City and Carson City
As an incentive for members who do not want to fly or drive to the convention, Amtrak has two thruway buses daily in both directions connecting with San Joaquin and Capitol trains at Sacramento. These buses make intermediate stops between Sacramento and Reno and terminate AT THE FRONT DOOR OF THE NUGGET in Sparks! Nothing could be more convenient for people coming from California and Oregon. Of course, the Zephyr operates to Reno as well, but the hotel does not provide transportation to/from the Amtrak station in Reno. One option upon arrival is to walk to a nearby hotel and take their shuttle to the Reno Airport, then take the Nugget shuttle from the airport to the convention hotel.
Information on these Amtrak thruway buses can be found on the Amtrak site on page 6 of the San Joaquin schedules.