In cooperation with Amtrak, BNSF and Montana Rail Link, AAPRCO is pleased to announce that our thirty-ninth annual convention will be held in Spokane, Washington on Tuesday, September 20th through Thursday, September 22, 2016. This video will introduce you to Spokane.
Our convention special train, The City of Spokane, will offer travel over some of the most scenic routes in the west that are not accessible by any regularly scheduled Amtrak train. The following itinerary represents the current plan, which is subject to approval by the host railroads.
Cars will gather no later than Sunday September 11th, 2016 in Denver, CO. Passengers can enjoy the delights of this magnificent western city while our train is assembled. We have organized two tours at Denver.
“Narrow Gauge Railroads in Denver”: Dr. Tom Noel, (aka “Dr. Colorado”) a historian specializing in the history of the Colorado area, will deliver the inside story of the narrow gauge railroads that traveled from Denver into the gold, silver and coal fields. The lecture will be held from 2:00 to 3:00 PM in the Gates Room (5th floor) of the Denver Public Library located at 10 West Fourteenth Avenue Parkway. Local transportation from the convention special train to the library and return is on your own.
“Transportation Technology Center”: TTCI is a world-class transportation research and testing organization, providing emerging technology solutions for the railway industry throughout North America and the world. Headquartered in Pueblo, Colorado, 21 miles northeast of Pueblo Airport, TTCI manages extensive track facilities and state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. The bus for this all day tour leaves at 8:00 am.
The City of Spokane will depart on Tuesday, September 13th and travel north on the former Colorado & Southern along the front range of the Rockies. We will travel down the center of the street in Fort Collins, CO and into Cheyenne, WY. We will continue north through scenic Wyoming and park in Casper, WY for the night.
On Wednesday, September 14th we will depart Casper, WY and continue north on the former Colorado & Southern. We will pass through the spectacular Wind River Canyon which is one of the most scenic rail passes in the United States not accessible by normal rail travel. We will join the Montana Rail Link, ex Northern Pacific line, at Laurel, Montana and head west to Livingston, MT where we will tie up for the night.
On Thursday, September 15th and Friday, September 16th we will remain parked in Livingston allowing passengers the opportunity to tour the magnificent Yellowstone National Park. Our train will be switched in Livingston to facilitate the outbound moves following the convention.
We are offering two tours (one of the upper loop and one of the lower loop) on each of the two days that we are parked at Livingston.
The lower loop tour you will enter through the original original entrance and visit Old Faithful Geyser, Lake Yellowstone, and Canyon Village where the spectacular Upper and Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River are located, Mammoth Hot Springs back to Livingston through the scenic Paradise Valley. There are stops at each attraction and the tour can be shortened. A catered box lunch will be provided.
The upper loop tour takes you to the northern reaches of the park and is called the “Wildlife Tour.” You get to see the Majestic Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Dunraven Pass which is a great area to spot both Grizzly and Black Bears, Tower Falls and out into the Lamar Valley where Bison and Wolves are often spotted. At Mammoth Hot Springs, Deer, Pronghorn and Big Horn Sheep are spotted along the route.
On Saturday, the 17th, the City of Spokane will depart Livingston and operate on the Montana Rail Link ex Northern Pacific through the Montana Rockies to Missoula, MT where we will tie up for the night. We will remain parked in Missoula Sunday, the 18th to allow passengers time to explore this wonderful city.
In the morning, there is a trip to Travelers Rest State Park, the only archaeologically verified campsite of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in the nation. This site has long been known and used by Native peoples, notably the Salish. The Holt Visitors Center and Museum includes Seasons of the Salish, Lewis & Clark Expedition Replicas, Native American bead work and hand crafts. After lunch on your own there is a very special (not usually offered) tour of the old Milwaukee Road depot. It is currently the headquarters of Boone and Crockett wildlife conservation organization. From there it is on to The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula. There is a museum building with displays and 32 acres with some railroad memorabilia.
On Monday September 19th, the train will continue west on the MRL ex Northern Pacific line through rugged Montana over mountain passes and along the Clark Fork River to Sandpoint, ID where we will join the Amtrak Empire Builder line to Spokane. We will tie up in Spokane for our convention activities.
Our traditional convention activities will be conducted between Tuesday, September 20th and Thursday, September 22nd in Spokane. The Historic Davenport Hotel will be our convention hotel. We have negotiated a group rate of $159 plus applicable taxes per night. You may use this link to make your hotel reservations. Our activities will include car parties, technical seminars, the car owners meeting, the associate members meeting, the annual meeting, vendor activities, the board of directors meeting and the annual banquet.
Two excursions will be offered on Wednesday September 21st, while in Spokane.
One is an all day trip, including lunch, to the Grand Coulee Dam. Built from 1933 to 1975, it is 550 feet tall, from the 500 foot wide polished granite base, to the 30 foot wide crest which supports a paved two lane road. When you include the third power house, Grand Coulee Dam is almost 1 mile long.
The second tour is the Trail of the Hiawatha. You can bike or hike the trail which is 15 miles long with 10 train tunnels and 7 sky high trestles. The 1.66 mile long St. Paul Pass Tunnel, also know as the Taft Tunnel, is a highlight of the trail that follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass Ski Area. The best part is that it is all downhill with shuttle buses available to transport you and your bike back to the top. The trail follows the right of way of the former Milwaukee Road’s Pacific extension.
On Friday September 23rd or Saturday, September 24th, following the conclusion of the convention, cars will depart Spokane for their home terminals on regularly scheduled Amtrak trains.
Please make your plans to join us on this rare and spectacular scenic special train and attend the convention in Spokane, Washington.
Check the AAPRCO Travel Opportunities web page for listings from those car owners who are offering space onboard their car(s) for their trip to the convention.
We will update this site when more information becomes available.The convention is open only to members of AAPRCO, their family and their personal guests. Please note there will be no opportunities for the general public to tour the cars while they are parked at Spokane WA and other locations during the convention and during the operation of the City of Spokane convention special train.