Welcome to Spokane, The Lilac City, Heart of the Inland Empire, for the 2016 GNRHS convention September 17 to 21. There will also be an optional circle tour after the convention starting September 22 and ending September 24th.

The 2016 convention will focus on the history of the Great Northern in the Spokane area. We will cover the entire Hillyard yard, the heart of the Spokane Division, including the Diesel Shops, the Car Shops, and the WFE yard and shop. Presentations will cover the downtown Spokane and SC&P yards. Presentations will cover all Spokane area branch lines, with emphasis on those located north of Spokane. Presenters will discuss the line from Hillyard to Kettle Falls and all stations between the two points, the entire line from Kettle Falls to Nelson B.C. and from Kettle Falls to Curlew and Republic including the Eureka Gulch. In addition there will be a presentation on the line from Curlew over Molson Hill into Oroville. There will be five modeling presentations. Some will be centered on this area and this early time frame.

Saturday’s tour will travel from Spokane to the former GN yard at Sandpoint and we will tour the former GN main line from Sandpoint to Newport, stopping to observe points of interest along the line. At Newport we will tour the museum in the old Milwaukee Depot that is right next to the former GN Depot, which is now owned by Stimson Lumber Company and looks the same as it did in the GN days. We will have lunch at Newport and head for Usk to view the POVA car shops. Please note:  The Train excursion from Ione to Metaline Falls that was described in the December GOAT will NOT be included in this tour.  The train excursion is no longer running.

There will be two non-rail tours during the convention, one to Historical Homes, lunch included and a Spokane Valley Winery Tour, again with lunch included.

On Monday we’ll have a tour tracing the Great Northern and its subsidiaries in the Spokane area. Even though not much is left of the Great Northern, this tour will show where the GN ran and where those well know GN Spokane photos were taken, while also visiting remaining GN sites and equipment in the area.

Following the convention, convention organizers are offering what will be a once in a lifetime optional three day circle tour of the Republic Branch, Molson Hill, Oroville, and the Wenatchee-Oroville branch with John Langlot and Mac McCulloch, authors of “The Rusty Dusty: Great Northern’s Wenatchee-Oroville Branch” which they plan to introduce at the convention.
The tour will start Thursday morning. From the hotel we will travel through Hillyard to Kettle Falls stopping at all stations. We will discuss Marcus and view Orient, Curlew, Republic and the Eureka Gulch. Day two will take us over Molson Hill into Oroville up to Nighthawk, a tour of the Oroville Museum, which is in the relocated depot, and down to Omak for the night. Day three will cover from Omak to Wenatchee stopping at all stations. Following lunch at Wenatchee we will view Appleyard and follow the railroad from Wenatchee to Spokane. We will not enter Canada, so passports are not required.

Our convention headquarters will be the Red Lion at the Park which is only a gentle walk from the former Great Northern depot, of which the clock tower is still standing. Convention room rates will apply on the Saturday night we return from the three day tour. The Red Lion Inn at the Park Hotel will supply free shuttle service to and from the Amtrak station and the Airport. More information will be posted when it becomes available. Registration will open in March 2016.

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