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Annual Conventions and Toy Train Shows

Tacoma, Washington - 47th Annual Convention July 24-29, 2017

Before you know it, July will be here along with the hot weather but we have a place for you to escape the heat. Tacoma, Washington, is where you want to be for the LCCA’s 47th Annual Convention. This beautiful city by the Pacific Ocean is beckoning us all to come and refresh in the wonderful 70 degree, sunshiny weather it has to offer. We have been assured the rain that plagues the Northwest will not bother us, but you may want to bring a light windbreaker if you chill easily. 

We have planned some great tours for you to enjoy this summer. They range from autos to planes to, of course, train rides through the old logging areas of the Pacific Northwest. If you enjoy trains, history, the arts and beautiful scenery, we’ve got you covered. And this year, we have planned some tasting tours for the adults in the group that feature local craft breweries and distilleries and their products. You can see more about them below. 

For the younger set we have even scheduled a boat tour of the Tacoma harbor. The adults in your family are also allowed to participate, but this is really for you. The boat dock is just a few blocks’ walk from the hotel, or you can take the free trolley one stop to the Union Depot and walk across the Glass Bridge to the landing. This will get you out and in the fresh air of Tacoma and one more chance to glimpse Mount Rainier. 

We are also offering a City Museum Pass which gives you access to six of the museums within a short distance of the hotel. The one we recommend as a must-see has to be the Washington State Museum, with its outstanding HO gauge layout of Tacoma. There are many other exhibits to see as well, but the HO layout is a must. Another museum that surprisingly impressed us was the Museum of Glass, where everything is made of glass, even a red blown glass electric guitar. Now, I don’t know if it’s electrified, but it looks like it sure could be. 

To make your trip from the SeaTac Airport to the Hotel Murano easy and worry-free, we have made arrangements with Lifestyle Valet to provide transportation for you. Check out the details in the February Lion Roars and send in your reservations asap! We’ll see you at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, July 24-29.

In addition to the events and program, each attendee will receive several special items including the beautiful Northern Pacific motorized pickup registration gift and tables pilled high with Banquet Gifts. There are numerous surprises for attending specific events and of course don’t forget items in the LCCA store available for purchase including the convention on-site car. 

We will have scheduled social activities and events that enable attendees to meet and visit with friends and fellow members. For example, there is a hospitality suite where attendees are able to gather and visit or work on puzzles or spend some free time getting acquainted with others. We will start the week on Sunday evening with the President’s Welcoming Party for “cookies and milk” which is now nearly a full meal. On Wednesday, we will host a First Timers’ Reception. On Thursday, is the famous Get Acquainted Party with a few surprises. Friday evening will start the Trading Hall. On Saturday night, is the always popular Banquet. There will be a couple great workshops thrown in for good measure just in case you get bored! 

The tours promise to be really fun, interesting, and educational, but don’t let the word “educational” mislead you. With so many possibilities and so much to do, we will keep you busy and entertained. The sights will be truly beautiful and very picturesque. A lot of the tours are outdoors, and the northwest in July has perfect blue sky, white puffy clouds and pleasant temperatures. Did I mention the mountains. They are awesome!

Here are highlights of the tours to be offered in Tacoma:

Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad & Logging Museum, and Mount Rainier National Park

The Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad & Logging Museum, and Mount Rainier National Park - Do you love majestic snow-capped mountains as a backdrop to the jet black smoke of a puffing steam engine? If so, this is the trip for you! Climb aboard the longest continuously operating steam tourist railroad in the Pacific Northwest! You will be riding in a vintage train through the forest and foothills of Mount Rainier. We will board our buses early for a scenic ride to the little town of Elbe where we will view the Tiny Church, the Hobo Caboose Lodge, and the Railroad Dining Company in old restored dining cars, along with other sites. 

We will then board the train at the Elbe Depot for the gorgeous ride to Mineral, Washington, passing through thick forest, beside a mountain stream and across the glacial fed Upper Nisqually River. In Mineral, we will depart the train, break up into smaller groups and visit the train yard, train barn, and the logging museum. This is the world’s largest collection of steam logging locomotives. The logging camps were communities, where everyone – male and female, young and old – had a job to do. The exhibits give you a peek into the daily lives, tools, and technologies at work in these movable villages. They were a significant part of the Pacific Northwest history. You’ll also see a display of nine mini-train live steam engines, made to scale, exactly like the real models on site. 

A great barbecue lunch with all the fixings will be served in their picnic park, with a stunning view of the beautiful snowcapped Mount Rainier as our entertainment. After a train ride back to Elbe, our bus will deliver us to Mount Rainier National Park (established in 1899) located in the Cascade Range. We may have two stops in the park after entering at the Nisqually Entrance, which is in the park’s southwest corner. The first vista is the Longmire Museum and Visitors Center. On up the winding road is Paradise Park & Jackson Memorial Visitors Center where we have another close view of the 14,409 foot peak, volcanoes, glaciers (25 in the park), waterfalls and beautiful flowering meadows. Restrooms, snack areas, and souvenir shops are available for your pleasure before we reload the bus to journey back to the hotel. On the return trip, we intend to have a drive-by to view a unique private collection of metal-crafted art work on display at a private home just outside the park. Then you will only need to sit back now, relax, and watch the beautiful countryside on the way back to our host Hotel Murano in Tacoma.

Seattle City Tour

Seattle City Tour - Our first stop will be at the world famous Space Needle and the Chihuly Glass Museum and Gardens located at the base of the Space Needle. Mid morning we will board the bus for the famous Pike Place Market where you’ll need to watch out for the fish being tossed around! From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., you will be on your own to visit the market, shops and to have lunch on your own. We will re-board the buses and take a driving tour through downtown Seattle, passing by the Amtrak station, both professional sports stadiums, and along the waterfront and piers.

Everett Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Factory Tour

Everett Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Factory Tour - We will begin our tour North of Seattle to the town of Everett, Washington, approximately a two hour drive but worth every minute! This is the only public tour of a commercial jet assembly plant in North America. Upon arrival, we will divide into two groups with each spending about 1½ hours in the factory and the same in the 28,000 square feet of exhibits in the Future of Aviation Center Gallery. In the factory you will watch the 747s, 777s, or 787 Dreamliners being assembled right before your eyes. Wow! Remember, this is the largest building in the world. You must be able to walk two steep flights of stairs, travel through two large tunnels (the first is .3 mile long,) and take an elevator to a balcony overview. These tours sell out early…act quickly to reserve your spot. You will have time to grab a snack or lunch in the Paper Plane Café from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Boeing Museum will be our activity in the afternoon before we start our journey back to Tacoma.

Transportation Day at the Lemay Automobile Museum and the Seattle Boeing Museum of Flight

Transportation Day at the Lemay Automobile Museum and the Seattle Boeing Museum of Flight - We will visit what is referred to as “America’s Car Museum”, an outstanding collection of automobiles on display in a gorgeous building with four floors of cars and ramps between the floors completely full of vehicles. This facility covers 165,000 square feet, (or nine acres), displaying over 300 various means of highway transportation. 

Forget everything you know about car museums… ACM is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced! If you’re curious, you can read more about it here. The second stop of the tour is the “The Museum of Flight”, a facility over 50 years old with two floors of exhibits consisting of six different galleries. Some of the many attractions include the Apollo Command Module in which every Apollo astronaut trained, the Holtgrewe Model Airplane Collection, the first jet airplane to have served as Air Force One, the Lockheed Electra 10-E that flew around the world, a moon rock, the first fighter plane, and the world’s fastest plane. You can find more details here.

Rails and Water Falls

Rails and Water Falls - We will journey to Snoqualmie, Washington, where we will visit the Northwest Railway Museum, the yards and train repair shop, and a ride on the Northwest Railroad. Unlike our other two train rides this week, this one will be pulled by a diesel engine. 

This rail trip will take us up to Snoqualmie Falls, which is higher than Niagara Falls by over 100 feet (but less volume.) We will get a better look at the Falls when our bus takes us to the park where we will walk the path atop the cliffs, overlooking the falls from many different angles. Bring a handkerchief to wipe the mist from your glasses and camera. You’ll have time in the quaint little town to get a bite to eat in one of its Mom and Pop spots. Our favorite is the one that makes its own root beer. Mmm, mmm good! Prepare for another great day of “old time” railroading and sightseeing.

Chehalis - Central RR

Chehalis - Central RR - The tour will travel to Centralia where we spend 30 minutes checking out the train shed, the yards, the turntable and the depot with its souvenir shop. Some of thr tour will start immediately boarding the train for the round trip excursion on this old logging line. 

Upon arriving back at the depot, we will immediately board the bus for the return trip back to the hotel or explore the train shed, the yards, the turntable, and the depot and souvenir shop before boarding and returning to the hotel. Our excursion will wind through scenic hills, farmlands, and over several wooden trestles that cross the Chehalis River. On a clear day, be sure to look for both Mount Rainier and Mount St . Helens on this delightful ride on a rare standard gauge line. We will have a photo run-by going out with Steam Engine #15. We have also made arrangements for two members to ride in the steam cab on the way out and two different members on the way back. These members will be determined later on. Number 15 is a 2-8-2 steam locomotive built by Baldwin in 1916 & ran over former Milwaukee Road track (Weyerhaeuser Timber Company). To learn more about this railroad, visit their web page,

KIDS CLUB Harbor Tour

KIDS CLUB Harbor Tour - There will be no bus transportation for this tour. Everyone must arrange to arrive in time for boarding just below the Glass Museum’s parking lot. That is only 3-4 blocks from our host Hotel Murano. Maps and directions will be available at the LCCA Registration desk. The trip will last one hour, with 30 minutes between each trip. We will tour the harbor getting different views of Tacoma and Mount Rainier from all angles. This tour offers boat/water transportation to go along with our motto of Trains, Planes, and Automobile Tours.

Tacoma City Walking Tour

Tacoma City Walking Tour - You may visit any museum, any day of the week, & any time of day that the museums are open. This pass is good for a full month from the time you use it for the first museum visit. There are six museums within easy walking distance from our Murano Hotel and/or by the Light Rail Trolley Line. They are:

  • Glass Museum and the Glass Bridge entrance
  • Washington State History Museum, displaying Washington’s largest and most beautiful HO layout
  • Tacoma Children’s Museum
  • Foss Waterway Seaport
  • LeMay Automobile Museum
  • Tacoma Art Museum
Also in the same area, don’t miss the magnificent architecture of the UNION RAILROAD STATION with all the glass display inside. The large open terminal is breathtaking!

Alcohol, Winery & Distilleries

Alcohol, Winery & Distilleries - We will depart the hotel at 12:15 p.m. Please eat lunch before departing as there will be tasting on this tour but no food provided. We will visit the Heritage Distilling Company Flagship for an hour where we will take a tour of its factory and learn how the different spirits are made and the difference in the makeup of each one. A tasting will be conducted here with three or four 2 ounce shots. We also will stop at the Wet Coast Brewing Company where we will have taste flights of three or four 5 ounce samplings each of its craft brews. After 45 minutes at Wet Coast Brewing, we will also visit the 7 Seas Brewing Company for another 45 minutes and enjoy three or four 6 oz. tasting samples. We will return to the hotel around 4 p.m. in good spirits.

Naval Underwater Museum

Naval Underwater Museum - This is the only U. S. Naval Undersea Museum in the United States, located in Keyport, Wash. The museum is divided into four segments: Ocean Environment, Undersea Weapons Technology, Submarine Technology, and Diving & Salvage. There will be four or five real submarines on display outside the museum and an operating periscope inside to locate them. This museum is operated by volunteers of the U. S. Navy and has a great gift shop. For more information, click here.

Significant Convention events also to be held are:

  • Annual business meeting
  • Lionel seminar
  • Informational seminars and hobby clinics
  • Junior member activities for young club members
  • Famous "Get Acquainted Party"
  • President's Welcoming Reception
  • Reception for first-time attendees
  • Saturday evening reception and banquet

July 24-29, 2017, will be a great memorable time. However, we can look forward now to the model railroad train shows, camaraderie and more at the Chicago Convention in 2018.

These events to be held in Tacoma are just a taste of the type of things in store for you, your family, and friends when you come to an LCCA convention and help us celebrate the annual anniversary of the "Best toy train club on the planet" by making each convention one of the best in Lionel Collectors Club Convention history. Members may register online for the Tacoma Convention starting in mid-February 2017 or read the details of the events published in The Lion Roars, the club’s model train magazine. Non-members may join the club now and be prepared for a fabulous week of fun, great food, toy train shows and friendship with train operators and collectors who favor the Lionel brand and celebrate the world’s greatest hobby.