WPRRHS 2002 Convention Report and Gallery - Yuba City, California

Story and photos by Mike Mucklin


The 6th Annual Convention WPRRHS convention took place in Yuba City at the Best Western Bonanza Inn on April 12 and 13, 2002. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the demise of the WP after being merged into the Union Pacific in 1982. Still, here we are, 20 years later and we had the best turn-out ever in the 6 years we've been hosting an annual convention with over 130 people in attendance, setting a new convention attendance record.

A number of folks traveled quite a distance to join us this year including the "usual suspects" from Southern California, Tommy Holt from Texas, Garth Groff from Virginia, Rich Forst from Oregon, and Merrill Thurman from Missouri. Thanks go to Convention Chairman Tom Lawler, Convention Coordinator Steve Hayes and his wife Norma, and their staff for a great job!

Thanks also go to Bill Holmes Jr. for the surprise breakfast buffet on Saturday morning, and to Richard Holmes for voicing the idea to Bill.


The convention theme was Sacramento Northern, the subject of many of the clinics. Everyone came away with expanded knowledge of one of WP's better-known subsidiary companies. Noted WP authors Ted Benson and Joe Strapac were on-hand, with Joe offering signed copies of his recently released Sacramento Northern book.


Thanks also need to go to convention presenters, Keith Gillette, Frank Brehm, Norm Holmes, John Walker, Thom Anderson, Dick Dorn, Frank Beavers, Peter Jelito, Tom Lawler, Allen Hill, Tom Irion, and Jim Cooper. There were quite a few WP old-heads on-hand sharing their "tales from the rails" with all of us, not the least of which were Allen Hill's hilarious stories from his days on the WP which started in 1969.

Special thanks go to keynote speaker, Kirk Baer who shared many stories of his colorful railroad career on the WP.

Hopefully everyone can plan ahead for next year's convention in Oakland we can again set a new attendance record! Vic Neves and Barbara Holmes will be hosting it and so far it is tentatively planned for sometime at the end of April 2003.