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Annual Conventions and Toy Train Shows

Reno, Nevada - 49h Annual Convention July 14-20, 2019

      Reno will be the site of the LCCA's 49th annual convention and everyone is invited to spend the week at the beautiful Atlantis Casino Resort Spa. It will be the 49th annual convention, and a party it will be. The Atlantis is one of Reno’s premier hotels, and the service is First Class.

All guest rooms will have complimentary basic Internet, as well as two complimentary bottled waters daily, based on consumption. The weather in Reno may be warm, but since it’s in the high desert the temperatures do not get as hot as Las Vegas. As the sun goes down, so does the temperature, so a light wrap may be suggested if you go out in the evening. For those of you looking for a healthy, muscle-building workout to help in wrestling your newly purchased Lionel items, you’ll have access to the resort’s fitness center. So you can eat the excellent food, top it off with some freshly made gelato and not gain an ounce. How great is that? 

We will have the President’s Welcome Reception & Social on Sunday evening. The First Timers Reception will be held Tuesday evening for those of you who make this your very first convention. You may have been a member of the club for 30 years, but if this is your first convention, then this event is for you. The Get Acquainted Party will again be our Thursday night dinner and entertainment. This popular event has become a favorite time for friends to get together and have fun. There will be food and who knows what entertainment will be provided, but it’s always a great time. Friday night will be the first look-see and buy in the trading hall. We have up to 125 6 ft. x 30 in. tables for you to display your trains and accessories. Like last year, we will reduce the cost of the tables since the length is 6 feet instead of 8 feet; so buy two, bring your goodies and make someone happy when they grab something they have been looking for. 

To wrap up the week, the annual convention banquet will be Saturday night. The sit-down and plated meal of beef, chicken or seafood will culminate the week’s activities with each table’s decoration being the ever-popular blue and orange boxes. There will be something for everyone, and someone from each table will go home with the night’s banquet gift. It might even be you. But you have to attend to win. Make plans now to come to Reno this July 14 through 20 for the 49th annual LCCA convention. I can’t think of a better reason to visit Reno. Can you? The Biggest Little City in the World Welcomes LCCA.

     A heads-up to those of you planning on flying to Reno: make your arrangements early for the best rate (the hotel reservation form is elsewhere in this issue) and enjoy the FREE shuttle from the airport provided by the Atlantis. The shuttle operates every 30 minutes on the hour and the half hour, so the wait will not be long and an overhead cover will protect you from the weather. The free shuttle bus provided by the Atlantis will be a friendly “Hello”, or “Goodbye” to the beginning or end to a great week of LCCA fun, food and fellowship. 

     We have a wonderful hotel and expect everyone to have a great time as we begin to round the corner, heading for our 50th LCCA Annual Convention in 2020. You'll be seeing and hearing more about that later as we get closer. But for now make your plans to come to Reno, NV this July 14-20 and experience the Annual LCCA Convention. See you there.

     This year's gift for those members registering for the 2019 LCCA Annual Convention and staying for 3 nights at the Host Hotel is a Lionel Bump and Go trolley, of course this one proudly says Virginia City in Blue and Gray.  In high demand when they were offered in Indy, Boston and in Chicago, this gift promises to be every bit as collectible.  But its greatest value is as a keepsake for your attendance at the convention.  NOTE:  Only 400 are available and when they are gone, they are gone.  Sign up early and don't miss out! These trolleys will be available at the Host Hotel during convention week.  To qualify, you must be one of the first 400 members to register and stay at least 3 nights in the Host Hotel (or live within 50 miles of the host Hotel). 

Be part of the excitement on any or all of this year's tours on Trains, Railroads, and Reno!

Nevada State Railroad Museum

Carson City, NV, State Railroad Museum, Virginia & Truckee Train Ride, and Virginia City - As we drive in our motor coaches from Reno along US 395 to Carson City, we will learn about the rich history of Northern Nevada and the Washoe Valley. On the way, we will stop at the Bowers’ Mansion for photos. This house was built in a combined Georgian Revival and Italianate style in 1863 by Sandy Bowers, one of the new millionaires of the Comstock mining boom. More information will be forthcoming in our future issues. Our Convention Activities guide will narrate and point out interesting sights along the way. After travelling part of the Blue Line Trail (Kit Carson Trail), we will visit the Nevada State Railroad Museum, which is a cultural resource dedicated to educating visitors and the community about Nevada railroad history. This mission is accomplished through the collection, preservation and interpretation of significant locomotives, rolling stock, artifacts, and memorabilia directly related to railroads and railroading in Nevada. Our members will get to ride in the 1910 McKeen motorcar at the museum, the only working unit of this locomotive/car anywhere in the world. We will have a provided lunch on-site (no additional cost) during this museum visit. 

After lunch we will take a very short bus ride to the newly opened East Gate Depot on the east side of the city. We will board the Virginia Truckee steam train for an uphill grade excursion with plenty of sights, sounds, and coal dust smell. While the usual short ride is from Gold Hill, our trip will be a longer city-to-city excursion. A photo op will be available on this ride. Once we reach Virginia City, there will be time to explore both the V&T yards as well as the ole “Wild West town” of Virginia City. Next we will visit the Piper Opera house for a vaudeville melodrama while enjoying a “Miner’s lunch” for dinner. The vaudeville show will follow the meal, and it will surely entertain everyone. If time and daylight permit, we will stop at a beautiful Reno/Sparks scenic overlook on our way back to the hotel. WOW, what a way to start the convention. All Aboard!

Western Pacific Railroad Museum

Western Pacific Railroad Museum and More - We will be transported via motor coach to Portola, Calif., to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, where visitors are encouraged to climb aboard over 100 pieces of historic rolling stock. It is definitely a hands-on museum. Then we will travel 10 minutes to the private home of Chris Skow in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains surrounded by towering pines. He has a lifetime collection of items on exhibit, acquired during years working on the railroad before retiring. He also has a beautiful “G” gauge garden layout, along with a green house with unique landscapes, plants, and decorations. 

We will then split into smaller groups and visit the world famous Keddie Wye, the only place in the world where the train exits the tunnel immediately onto a split trestle with one fork going north and the other heading south. We will get an unprecedented birdseye view of this work of art from private property, a look few other people ever get to experience. Continuing in our small groups, we will visit area sites and enjoy a catered lunch on the local picnic grounds. 

After boarding our original motor coach, we will stop at the quaint mountain town of Graeagle, Calif., for restrooms, shopping, and possibly a snack on your own.

Minden Live Steamers

Live Steamers and More - We will visit the Minden “live steamers” to view and ride on these mini scale replicas of real steam trains. This tour will also take us to the famous town of South Lake Tahoe, one of America’s most unique resort areas. At an elevation of 6,200 feet, it is one of the world’s largest, highest, and most beautiful Alpine lakes. We will visit the Tallac Historical Site featuring homes and lifestyles of the 1920s rich and famous. Heralded as the “Grandest Resort in the World,” there are 19 historic structures including three rustic mansions dating from 1873 and a walk to the Boat House of Tallac. Taylor Creek Visitor Center is the hub of four fascinating self-guided interpretive trails and the Stream Profile Chamber. This unique underground viewing chamber located along the Rainbow Trail provides a view of the mountain stream environment. Visitors can study a diverted section of Taylor Creek through a panel of aquarium-like windows, offering a fish-eye view of Taylor Creek’s underwater wildlife. One may spot brightly colored fish, diving ducks, crayfish or other hidden surprises in the chamber’s mural that follows Taylor Creek through the four seasons. We’ll also visit the Valhalla Mansion built in 1923, with its famous Grand Hall with beautiful wood floors, an open wood beam ceiling, a balcony of lodge pole construction and a 20-foot high stone fireplace. 

Next stop is Genoa, Nev. Douglas County and Carson Valley history is very young but an important chapter in the romantic “Old West”. 1851 When John Reese and his party built a trading post in 1851, the area began to attract settlers and became a permanent settlement. Since most of the men in Reese’s party were Mormon, the location became know as Mormon Station. Our tour will include the former Overland Emigrant Trail (now Genoa’s Main Street), the oldest bar in Nevada, Franktown, Jack’s Valley and Hope Valley. Throughout this tour, we will enjoy a fascinating drive narrated with the history of the pioneer heritage trail with the backdrop of the picturesque grand Sierra Nevada mountains.

Lake Tahoe Dinner Boat Cruise

Lake Tahoe Dinner Boat Cruise - This memorable evening begins with our paddle wheeler boat cruising beneath a magnificent Lake Tahoe sunset. Dinner followed by cocktails and dancing; or enjoy cocktails and dancing first as the sun sets and then dine on the return trip. Either way we will revel in the Lake Tahoe night, dancing to a live band and taking a stroll on the starlit deck. Enjoy a delightful evening while enjoying panoramic views of the natural beauty of Lake Tahoe, dazzling vistas of the Sierras, the dramatic splendor of Emerald Bay, Fannette Island, and the unique Vikingsholm Castle. We will enjoy a delicious three- course plated dinner including salad, entrée and dessert, with a full service bar available on board for additional beverage purchases.

Truckee, Squaw Valley, Donner Summit, & Lake Tahoe

Truckee, Squaw Valley, Donner Summit, & Lake Tahoe - The town of Truckee is featured in America’s history of westward expansion. Many early pioneers followed the Emigrant Trail through Truckee. Later, as the California gold rush hit a fever pitch, fortune seekers poured into the area. By 1868, the Central Pacific Railroad had reached Truckee, which had grown into a bustling, bawdy town known for its major ice harvest and lumber industries. Today Truckee retains much of its Old West flavor and historic charm. Nostalgic Commercial Row, lined with quaint shops, offers the visitor a glimpse into its history. 

The Donner Memorial is a great way to learn more of the infamous Donner Party. On one of the early wagon trains attempting to reach California, the Donner Party ran into severe weather conditions and spent a desperate winter near the shores of Donner Lake. We will view the museum and enjoy sites and paraphernalia detailing this historic episode. You can hike a trail along the old roadbed at the summit and travel through tunnels, across trestles and over the famous Chinese Wall, where rock excavated from the tunnel filled the ravine. This granite fits perfectly with no mortar to hold it in place. We can shop the stores and have lunch on our own in Truckee before we head over to Squaw Valley for some wonderful photos of its stunning scenery. Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Look for the small building made famous by the skier wiping out in the “Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat” opening for ABC’s Wide World of Sports. We’ll have a quick stop at Tahoe City and the Fanny Bridge/Gatekeepers and then it’s on to King’s Beach at Lake Tahoe before finally returning to our hotel.

Harrah Military Museum and National Automobile Museum

Harah Military Museum & National Automobile Museum - The Harrah Military Museum, located in Sparks, Nev., gives a unique look at a comprehensive collection of 40+ military vehicles. Along with the vehicles are an assortment of cannons, weaponry, guns and ammunitions, historical helmets and fine trench art. The Harrah Military Museum is not usually open to the public, and we will receive a private tour. A narrated tour of interesting and cultural sites in the Sparks area will give us the history of the railroad and views of the beautiful Truckee River. 

The National Automobile Museum provides something few other facilities can – a stunning display of over 200 antique, vintage, classic and special interest automobiles, all in an exciting, contemporary location. These are not just lined up row after row, but in diorama settings, making for some very interesting viewing. This collection was previously owned by Mr. Harrah, and the Military Museum is the collection of Mr. Harrah’s son. This is a very interesting combination and we get to see them both on this tour.

Nevada State Museum

Nevada State Museum & More - We will go to two different museums and also learn a bit about the City of Reno. We will travel to Carson City and visit the Nevada State Museum, built originally as a U.S. Mint which operated from 1870 to 1895. This includes a simulated mine tour so realistic you will think you are really underground. Following the Nevada State Museum tour, we will head back to Reno and stop in Midtown where we will have time to dine and explore. We will be on our own for lunch. 

Next our knowledgeable guide will introduce us to the vibrant streets of one of Reno’s most energetic neighborhoods, a hub for art and culture with an eclectic mix of new and old buildings and the fascinating stories they tell. 

Our next museum stop is at the University of Nevada Reno. The W.M. Keck Museum is Nevada’s second oldest museum and is located in the Mackay School of Mines Building. John W. Mackay, after a moderate success as a miner, formed a partnership with James Fair, James Flood, and William O’Brien known as the Bonanza Firm. They developed the famous Comstock Lode and in 1873 struck the richest veins in history, producing more than $180 million in ore in just four years. An impressive collection of ore and mineral specimens are on display along with the fossilized foot and wrist of a 2.6 million year old mastodon discovered in northern Nevada. The museum collection also includes a 1,250-piece collection of Tiffany silver, made up of over a half of ton of silver. Magnificent to say the least! On our travels back to the hotel, we will visit Nevada’s only certified Rose Garden located in Idlewild Park with over 1,750 roses of 200 different varieties.

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 14-20, 2019, will be a great memorable time. However, we can look forward now to the model railroad train shows, camaraderie and more at the Omaha convention in 2020.

These events held in Reno 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 Reno Convention starting in mid-February 2019 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.