Exploring the Rails ‘14
This year’s TLR convention will be here before we
know it. The convention will start on Friday, May 2 with a morning departure from
the hotel to tour an ethanol plant at Merrill, Iowa. The plant is located on the
BNSF mainline from the Twin Cities to Sioux City. After the tour we will continue on to Le Mars,
Iowa where we will have lunch at the Plymouth County Museum.
The museum is housed in the former Le Mars High School
building. The museum has a diverse collection of artifacts from Le Mars and
surrounding areas; everything from farm equipment to a plane that was
manufactured in Le Mars at one time. Also
located in the Museum is the Floyd Valley Model Railroad club. The layout will
be open for viewing after lunch. We are still working on another tour of a
plastics manufacturer which is served by rail in Le Mars.
Friday night will include a reception with light sandwiches
and dessert. Entertainment for the evening will feature our guest speaker, Dr. Rudy
Daniels. Dr. Daniels is an author, college professor, and railroad historian.
He will entertain us with historical facts and interesting stories of
railroading. The night will conclude with the TLR business meeting and clinics.
Saturday will start with clinics. Once they are
concluded, a tour of Transco Railway Repair will depart from the hotel. Transco
repairs freight cars and features a transfer table for moving cars between
buildings. The tour will be limited to 90 people. It is important that you get
your registration in right away to guarantee a place on the tour.
After lunch on your own, five layouts will be
opening for viewing; three HO, one N, and one O scale. Also, the Siouxland
Historical Society’s historic former Milwaukee Road roundhouse and shops will
be open for us.
The museum has been very busy since the last time
the TLR had its convention in Sioux City. The Great Northern steam locomotive 1355 has
been cosmetically restored and the grounds and building rejuvenated. The society
was given a 15’ X 75’ HO Scale layout from the Durham Western Heritage Museum
in Omaha, NE. They have done an excellent job with this new layout.
Saturday evening will be the grand banquet with
Dr. Rudy Daniels entertaining us again. The contest winners will be announced
during the banquet. We will also be holding the always popular Chinese auction.
Sunday morning will begin with the TLR general
membership meeting. After that, the Prairie Lakes Division will be putting on a
swap meet. This will be a four-hour feeding frenzy of model railroad buying.
For those heading north, the day isn’t over yet! The
Otter Valley Railroad Club in Sibley, Iowa has volunteered to have their layout
open for anyone traveling that direction. The Otter Valley Club started in 1986
and has evolved into a very large club layout featuring 1630’ of track, 93
switches and mountainous terrain consisting of more than 2000 lbs. of plaster!
The convention has many non-rail activities put
together by my wife, Heather. They include tours of Palmer’s Old Time Candy
Shoppe, the Sioux City Art Center, the Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center, the
Orpheum Theater, and of course, there are also many
The Stoney Creek Inn in downtown Sioux City will
be the site of our convention. It is a modern facility with northwoods decor.
The Stoney Creek is offering us a special rate of $99.00 a night. To get the
special rate, just mention the TLR convention when you call for a reservation
at 1-800-659-2220. The hotel offers a great free hot breakfast daily.
Within the hotel is a small pub. It has a great
local historical feel to it and has food and drinks to satisfy everyone’s needs.
The hotel also has a pool that is
connected by a waterfall to the outdoor pool. The banquet and clinic area are
just a short walk from the hotel rooms. I don’t think you will be disappointed
with this hotel!
A more detailed schedule will be emailed to
registrants at a date closer to the event. We have a great line up of
clinicians that we will include in the email once the schedule is finalized.
Hope to have you join us for Exploring the Rails in Sioux City!