Great Northern Railway Historical Society

Welcome to the Great Northern Railway Historical Society

The GNRHS is dedicated to the preservation, study, and history of one of America's greatest railroads, the Great Northern Railway.

To Society Members, we offer carefully-researched Reference Sheets, a quarterly GN Goat publication, an annual calendar, discounts on model kits, books, CD's and other items, and an annual convention to discover all that is the Great Northern Railway.

For researchers the GNRHS Archives have historic documents and photos available on a wide range of subjects covering the Great Northern.

For a quick overview of all the GNRHS has to offer, checkout the menu at the top of the page or choose a link for more detailed information.

Latest News

Nelson 2020 Convention UPDATE

COVID-19 is making our Nelson 2020 convention planning a challenge, and we know that many of you are wondering if this year’s convention will go ahead.   We are concerned for the health of everyone, and the viability of the businesses that we will be visiting or using during this convention.   In early April 2020, as we write this message, it is very unclear to us what decision we should be making.  We do know that if these current pandemic conditions continue, this will be considered a ‘Force Majeure’ rationale for postponing this convention.  GNRHS & CPHA are having discussions with each other and our major venues, but no decisions have been made yet.

For now your Nelson convention planning committee remain hopeful that this convention can go ahead because it is in September 2020.  We will remain vigilant in assessing all the factors that can play a part in the important decision of whether to go ahead with this convention this year, or to postpone it to a future year (perhaps 2022).  We are very reluctant to consider cancelling this convention altogether as we have put so much work into this very worthwhile convention location.

Our worry is that if we don’t have enough registrants we will have to postpone, even if all other factors look favorable to go ahead with this convention this year.  So that we have a true sense of how many people want to come we encourage you to register ASAP if you feel you can come this year.

CLICK HERE for full convention details.

CLICK HERE for a printable registration form.

CLICK HERE for a preliminary convention timecard (subject to change)

If we decide to postpone this convention we will do it no later than early August, but it may be considerably before this if it is apparent that there are too many barriers to us having a successful convention this year. If we postpone this convention, you will get your registration money back ASAP.  If we decide to go ahead, but you decide to cancel no later than August 16, 2020, you will get your money back.  If you cancel your hotel less than 30 days before convention you are expected to pay one day, but you will be reimbursed for the rest.   We will use the GNRHS website to communicate further decisions made about this convention, so please keep checking

In the meantime, please stay healthy; let’s fight this nasty virus!!  To protect yourself avoid touching your face, and wash your hands for 20 seconds every time you touch things that others may have touched; use alcohol gel if you don’t have access to soap and water.   If you cough or sneeze, do this into your arm / elbow, to prevent you from spreading the virus via your hands; this is to protect others.   Also stay at least 2 metres (6 1/2 feet) from other people who aren’t part of your household safety bubble.


Thomas and Francina Carr, Maple Ridge, British Columbia

GNRHS National Convention Officer & Registrar for Nelson 2020

  Posted on April 7, 2020, by

Join us in Beautiful British Columbia (UPDATED)


From September 19-23, 2020, we’re holding a Joint GNRHS / CPHA 2020 convention in Nelson BC, in the beautiful and historic West Kootenays.

CLICK HERE for full convention details.

CLICK HERE for a printable registration form.

CLICK HERE for a preliminary convention timecard (subject to change)

  • This is the first GNRHS convention in Canada, the first joint convention for GNRHS, and the first ever CPHA (Canadian Pacific Historical Association) convention.
  • This is also the 50th anniversary year of “MERGER DAY”, when Great Northern ceased to exist. Nelson was the northern-most community, west of the Rocky Mountains, served by the GN at that time.
  • There is considerable mining, rail, and sternwheeler history of interest to GNRHS.
  • Nelson is the biggest city in the area with a diverse population of over 10,000 people. The legacy of the past, evident in the more than 350 preserved heritage buildings, mixes with a dynamic arts and culture scene. There are many restaurants and arts / crafts / specialty / book stores in the downtown area; as well as a thriving craft beer industry.
  • The West Kootenays have many historic small towns, and we will be visiting many of them during our bus tours.

This convention has been several years in the making. We feel we have created an excellent and varied program for our attendees. Come and learn about the very interesting and often acrimonious rail history. Meet the interesting people of the West Kootenays; they are thrilled to have us visit their towns and venues.

The convention is occurring in the third week of September, so we could have “Fall Colours” – bring your cameras!!  Enjoy meeting the CPHA attendees, who share our interest in this area.

The Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre is the centre of all activities and tours.

Click here to learn more, and look for registration info in the March Goat or click the link above!

Tom and Francina Carr,
National Convention Officer and Convention Registrar


  Posted on February 2, 2020, by

Welcome New Western Washington Members!

The GNRHS was present at the recent Boeing Model Railroad Club swap meet and enjoyed seeing current members and signing up several new ones.

If you are one of these new members, please reach out to Cordell Newby ( as he’d like to welcome you aboard and provide some information.

  Posted on November 14, 2019, by


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