Union Pacific Big Boy 4-8-8-4 steam locomotive No. 4014, largest operating steam engine in the world, passes beneath a steam-era coaling dock at Nelson, Ill., as part of its Midwest tour en route from display in West Chicago, Ill., to Iowa via the former Chicago & North Western main line. The Southern California Chapter of R&LHS displayed and maintained the engine from 1962 to 2013, when the chapter returned it to UP in trade for other equipment. UP found that No. 4014 was in the best condition of any of the surviving eight (of 25 built) Big Boy engines built 1941-1944, and proposed the trade. UP then restored the Big Boy to operation to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the May 10, 1869, driving of the Golden Spike to complete the first transcontinental railroad. Photo taken July 30, 2019, by Dan Cupper
R&LHS marks its centennialThe organization was founded in New England in 1921. To read our announcement about the centennial, click here.
For media images and captions, click here.
R&LHS 2021 Annual MeetingCrossroads of Texas Rails
2021 R&LHS Annual Meeting
The R&LHS 2021 Annual Membership Meeting will be held from October 19-21 in College Station, Texas, which is located in east/central Texas 90 miles from Houston, 90 miles from Austin and 180 miles from Dallas/Ft. Worth. College Station is the home of Texas A&M University.
Proposed Program (Subject to change – Registered conferees will be notified of any changes via email).
Tuesday, October 19
The conference will begin at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum with an evening reception from 5 to 8 p.m. with beer, wine, and hors d'oeuvres. Award-winning photographer Ken Fitzgerald will share a photographic retrospective of Central Texas railroads in the 140-seat orientation theater. Round-trip transportation from the conference hotel will be provided. Dinner will be on your own.
Wednesday, October 20
Travel by motor coach to the Texas State Railroad http://www.texasstaterr.com/index.php at Palestine, Texas. The one-way rail excursion from Palestine (with steam or diesel power) lasts approximately two hours with lunch provided at Rusk. A guided shop tour will follow lunch. Texas & Pacific 2-10-4 steam locomotive No. 610, which pulled several legs of the American Freedom Train, is stored indoors at Palestine and may be available for inspection/photographs before departure. The return trip to Bryan may include a windshield tour of Union Pacific's mothballed Brazos Yard located just west of Hearne, Texas.
Upon return to College Station, we will drive to the Brayton Fire School https://teex.org/about-us/teex-brayton-fire-training-field/. While on site we will visit the staged railroad wrecks, tour "Disaster City" and visit the headquarters of Texas Task Force One, an elite search and rescuer unit based at the fire training school (long pants and closed-toe shoes are required).
After a short stop at the conference hotel, we will travel by motor coach to the Brazos Valley Cotton Exchange http://www.brazoscottonexchange.com/ overlooking Bush Junction on Union Pacific's Bryan and Navasota Subdivisions (transportation provided). A cocktail hour (two tickets per person) will precede a fajita dinner with trimmings. After the meal, members will participate in the annual membership meeting. The keynote speaker is TBD.
Thursday, October 21
We will travel by motor coach to Cedar Park, Texas, north of Austin http://www.austinsteamtrain.org/index.html to ride the Hill Country Flyer to historic Burnet, Texas, on the former Southern Pacific Llano Branch. The ride lasts approximately two hours each way, with a 2-1/2-hour layover for lunch on your own in Burnet. Depending on our arrival time back at Cedar Park, a shop tour may be available. The return trip to Bryan will stop for a BBQ dinner in Smithville, Texas (a former Missouri-Kansas-Texas division point).
We will stay at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center located on campus. https://www.texasamhotelcc.com/. Covered parking is available. The hotel also includes a full-service restaurant, gym, pool, and the usual amenities one would expect from a modern hotel. The spacious multi-level bar has a terrific view of the railroad.
The R&LHS contracted hotel rate is $115 for single and $125 for double + applicable taxes (the same rate as May 2020). You are invited to make hotel reservations using the special link below or calling the hotel at 888-654-4436. Texas A&M Hotel & Conference Center
1239 TAMU, College Station, Texas 77843
177 Joe Routt Boulevard, College Station, TX 77840
Local: 979-260-2235 Direct: 888-654-4436
Our contracted rate is good starting on Monday, October 18 through Thursday, October 21 with departure on the 22nd. If you prefer to use a custom secure booking link:
Transportation to/from Bryan via Amtrak
Those who wish to take Amtrak should ride No. 21, the Texas Eagle, to Temple, Texas (about 70 miles NW of Bryan). Transportation from Temple to Bryan and return will be available for a limited number of attendees arriving at Temple (TPL) on Amtrak No. 21 on Monday, October 18 (scheduled for 4:43 p.m.) and departing on Amtrak No. 22 on Friday, October 22 (scheduled for 11:25 a.m.) Please contact Robert Holzweiss at Robert.Holzweiss@gmail.com or 979-575-8164 if you are planning to travel by train.
Transportation to/from Bryan via Airline
American Eagle (three flights daily) and Continental Express (six flights daily) fly from major hubs (Dallas/Ft. Worth and Houston IAH respectively) to College Station (CLL). A round- trip flight to/from College Station adds about $90 to the cost of a flight from anywhere in the United States. Car rental (Advantage, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis) is available at College Station Easterwood Airport (https://www.flyeasterwood.com). Taxis, Lyft and Uber are available at the airport for about $15 one-way to the hotel. Drive time from the College Station airport to the hotel is approximately 10 minutes. Drive time from Austin Bergstrom (AUS) and Houston George Bush Intercontinental (IAH) are both about two hours. Drive time from Houston Hobby (HOU) is approximately three hours, and drive time from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) is approximately 3-1/2 hours.
The registration fee is $375 per person. As with prior R&LHS meetings, the fee includes all transportation, tickets to event venues and those meals that are provided as part of the conference. Conference information, including the registration form, will be available on the R&LHS web site under the "Meetings" tab no later than June 15. To register, please print, complete, and mail the registration form under that tab and send with your payment.
About Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University www.tamu.edu is the largest university in the United States measured by total student population (71,500) and one of the largest campuses (5,200 acres). School will be in session during our meeting (A&M announced all classes will be in-person this fall and expects a freshman class of about 13,000), so the campus will be busy with students moving about and employees (about 12,000) coming and going from work. An interactive map of the campus can be found here https://www.tamu.edu/map/index.html. The conference hotel is close to the football stadium and across the street from the Memorial Student Center (MSC). At the MSC you can purchase snacks, toiletries, and (if desired) A&M gear. There is also a presentation of the seven A&M graduates who were awarded the Medal of Honor. For those who are driving, parking is available in the building marked "SBG" adjacent to the hotel. Valet parking is available.
The George Bush Library Library (BPLM on the campus map) is reasonably close (1.5 miles). The walk along wide sidewalks is flat and entirely on campus. According to Google, it takes about 30 minutes https://goo.gl/maps/Jyg1XoHSEtm8kHNz9 or attendees can ride a free on-campus shuttle.
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