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November 24, 2009

STEAM ON THE PRAIRIES

If you want to see steam, steam and more steam, then come to Winnipeg next May for Steam on the Prairies!


The 1000 Lakes Region's 2010 convention will be held in Winnipeg, Manitoba on the Memorial Day weekend, from May 28 to 30.


On Friday they'll begin with a chartered bus excursion to Portage la Prairie, rated by Trains magazine as one of North America's 10 best railfanning locations. The CN and CP mainlines come within a few hundred feet of each other at the Portage yards, so be sure to bring your camera and extra memory cards! They'll also visit the former CP railway station at the CP Heritage Park Museum. The tour will be guided by Morgan Turney, Editor and Publisher of Canadian Railway Modeler and Railfan Canada.


As a non-rail option on Friday, they have scheduled a guided tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park, a beautifully restored 1830s Hudson's Bay Company Trading Post on the banks of the Red River. It is the oldest stone fur trading post in North America.


On Friday night you'll feast at a barbecue held at Bill Taylor's Assiniboine Valley Railway. After a delicious meal, you can enjoy riding the AVR's 1:8 scale trains well past sunset. The AVR has no less than 3 live steam engines in its roster of locomotives, including a scale model of CP's famous Royal Hudson.


On Saturday morning they'll have clinics. The special guest will be Bill Schaumburg, Editor of Railroad Model Craftsman, presenting a clinic on commuter rail lines.


After the clinics, everyone will head to the Prairie Dog Central Railway. There you can tour the shops and take part in a swap meet. Be sure to bring your want lists and all of your model railroading goodies that you want to sell.


Then you can ride the rails in vintage woodsided cars behind their recently restored 1882 4-4-0 steam locomotive to the towns of Gross Isle and Warren. The Prairie Dog will then take everyone to the Hitch 'N Post Restaurant for the annual banquet.


On Sunday morning The 1000 Lakes Region will be holding their annual general meeting. The afternoon and evening will be free for layout hops.


The CN Lines SIG, the Winnipeg Model Railroad Club and the CP Station Committee of Portage La Prairie will also be attending the convention.


The convention will be headquartered at the suburban campus of Winnipeg's Canadian Mennonite University. Their dorm rooms are available for far less than half the price of an average hotel room. Double occupancy prices start at less than thirty dollars. A limited number of larger suites with kitchenettes are also available at extra cost.


If you wish to book a room on campus, the registration form has all of the contact information listed, including an e-mail address, a fax number and a toll-free number. If guests wish to purchase reasonably priced meals, the campus cafeteria will be open.


Any NMRA member whose registration, with payment, is postmarked by Dec 18 will only pay $80, a savings of $20. If you are not a NMRA member, no problem. You can buy a 6 month trial membership for $10.


The basic registration includes the Friday night barbecue held at the Assiniboine Valley Railway, all clinics, the excursion on the Prairie Dog Central, the banquet at the Hitch 'N Post, and the Sunday layout hops. It does not include the extra fare trip to Portage la Prairie or the non rail tour of Lower Fort Garry National Historic Park.


You can find the registration form by going to the National Model Railroad Association's web site: www.nmra.org, then following the links to TLR (1000 Lakes Region), then to Conventions.


Have a great day. How can you miss - you're in Winnipeg!

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