Story by Thom Anderson with photos by Mike Mucklin
The 11th annual WPRRHS convention was held April 13th and 14th at the Doubletree Club Hotel in Livermore, California. Over 130 people were in attendance, including two long-distance champions: one from Australia and one from Sweden. Everyone present appeared to have an enjoyable time, experiencing ten super presentations and sharing the camaraderie of talking with other WP fans there.
A wide variety of subjects were presented, from the history of the Spanish Peak Lumber Company (located in Feather River country) and modeling WP maintenance-of-way cars, to the rock trains that WP ran to Pleasanton. Other notable shows included Dale Sanders presentation on WP's locomotive mounted snowplows and Loren Dunlap's presentation of WP collectables. There were also several modeling clinics and virtual tours of some fabulous model railroad layouts. Wayne Monger, Kirk Baer, and Bob Larson showed slides of the WP from their collections.
Several vendors selling WP related items were in attendance and several donations from local retailers and manufacturers, including Walthers, Atlas, The Train Shop, Kadee, InterMountain, Super Art Media, Tom's Trackside Trains, Hobbies Unlimited, Pentrex, the WPRM Gift Shop, and others made for another successful raffle to generate funds for the WPRRHS Arthur Walter Keddie Railroad Library and archives.
Art Lloyd, who was employed for several years in the WP's Passenger and Public Relations departments, gave a heartfelt and completely unscripted talk after the banquet about his experiences on the WP and his belief that the California Zephyr was the greatest passenger train ever. There was no argument from anyone there, and the Society greatly appreciates his taking the time to join us. Those that were at the Chico convention a year earlier will recall that Art was scheduled to speak there, but was unable to do so account of an unanticipated medical problem so we were grateful that he made a full recovery and for taking the time to join us this year.
Trains Unlimited Tours donated a round trip for two from Oakland to Reno on a private passenger car to attend Portola Railroad Days. After Art's talk the trip was auctioned, and the proceeds were added to the library fund. Jim Dias and I extend our thanks to Art and aII of the presenters, and to those who generously donated their time and products to make the convention a success. Jim and I could not have done it without their help. A special ''thank you'' goes to Annie Neves and Barbara Anderson for their help at the registration table, Vic Neves for again handling the A/V chores, and to Gail McClure for ''leading the charge" selling raffle tickets. Finally, thanks to Annette Wright and her crew at the Doubletree for an outstanding job in making our group feel at home in their facility.
Tom Campbell and his crew are in the process of organizing next year's convention at the Clarion Mansion Inn in Sacramento, California on April 11-12, 2008. We hope to see you there!