We are very aware of the global threat facing us from the coronavirus and COVID-19. October is still far away, but please be assured that our organizers are reviewing the situation on a week-by-week basis. If we need to cancel the 2020 SPH&TS Convention, we will give as much notice as possible and, of course, refund any fees, including those for registration. So we hope that you will go ahead and make your room reservations and register for the convention as soon as this option is made available by our organizers, so that we can continue the planning of the convention, with the assurance that your fees will be returned should that prove necessary. Likewise, airlines and hotels appear to have much more generous refund policies than has been normal. Stay safe, and wash your hands often!
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 and for years, Southern Pacific was a major employer in northwestern Nevada. 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.
Convention Headquarters and Reservations
Our convention site is the beautiful and newly-remodeled Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks. For additional information about the Nugget, please click on the following link: http://www.nuggetcasinoresort.
Vendor registration will start at 1 pm on Wednesday, October 21. This will allow vendors to set up their wares on that day from 1 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, except for those who are signed-up for the double-header extra fare event, which is described below (they will be registered before they board buses at 8 am on October 21). General registration will be open until 9 pm except for a dinner break from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. Registration will continue 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. The same schedule will be followed on Friday. On Saturday, registration will begin at 8 am and end at noon.
Most presentations will be given twice this year. Presentation times on Thursday and Friday are 9 am, 10 am, 11 am, 1:30 pm, 2:30 pm, and 3:30 pm. . Presentations will be given at 11 am and 1:30 pm on Saturday. The talks will cover a range of topics including the 1939 City of San Francisco sabotage train wreck, the contributions of the Chinese during the construction of the Central Pacific, the San Francisco Overland passenger train, and modeling beet racks. In addition, Dave Berstein, who has written about the Southern Pacific east of El Paso, will discuss his research, explorations, and pictures.
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 1:30 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 Happy Hour starts at 5 pm and the main event begins at 6:00 pm. As a reminder, the duration of the banquet has been shortened, but traditions such as the Dunscomb award and the keynote speech remain as vital parts of the event.
Please keep in mind that the Society’s Company Store will be open with many books and other items to choose from, and its hours of operation will be posted prior to the start of the convention.
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 on the convention page of the Society’s website throughout 2020, 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|
|Greg Thompson||Rails to Rubber:
The Diminishing Role of Intercity Rail Passenger Service in California & Nevada, 1900-1967
|Dave Bernstein||My Books, Explorations, and Photos.|
Double Header Extra Fare Event
Wednesday October 21
Tour the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Carson City and ride the Virginia & Truckee steam train between Carson City and Virginia City.
Motor coaches will depart the Nugget Casino Resort at 8am 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 be met by Adam Michalski, curator of the Nevada State Railroad Museum, before riding the Museum’s beautifully restored McKeen Car and touring the Museum. We will then take a short ride to downtown Carson City where everyone will have lunch on their own at their choice of many restaurants. The buses will then take us on a brief ride to our Virginia & Truckee steam train.
For 1.5 hours the train will work its way uphill towards it destination in Virginia City. We plan to do a couple of roll-bys so that all can shoot great pictures and videos. After we arrive in Virginia City, we will re-board our buses for our one hour trip back to the Nugget. All will enjoy the scenic views as we ride downhill between Virginia City and Reno.
For those 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.
Information on these Amtrak thruway buses can be found on the Amtrak site on page 6 of the San Joaquin schedules.
-Bill Fowler and Jack Herris – Co-chairs