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2003 Las Vegas Recap

2003 Annual LCCA Convention – Las Vegas, NV

The Convention at the Confluence

2003 convention logo

Although Las Vegas has many names – “Lost Wages,” “Sin City,” and “the City that Never Sleeps” – in late July 2003 it became TRAIN CITY as host to the LCCA 2003 Annual Convention.

More than 800 conventioneers and enjoyed themselves at the Rio, the Convention hotel, and on all the tours from the Hoover Dam to backstage at the Bally’s. The Hoover Dam visit and Ethel-M’s tour were dramatic contrasts of scope and size. One was a massive public works construction project that stood 726 feet tall and measured 660 feet thick at the base. Ethel M’s is an elite hand-made candy company started by a member of the famous Mars family – maker of M&Ms, Snickers, and Milky Way candies.

We toured the Nevada State Railroad Museum at Boulder City. The branch of the museum in Carson City was not yet open to the public at that time, but the LCCA arranged a private visit and a 14-mile, round trip train excursion ride.

A backstage tour of the “Jubilee” stage extravaganza revealed the technical support of this spectacular show – which included a scene of the sinking of the Titanic. LCCA member Louis Bradfield (RM 18628), Chief Electrician at Bally’s, provided a bonus tour of the fascinating electrical operations of the show never seen by the audience.

We visited the outdoor garden layouts by Charlie Van Netta and Bob Obert, and enjoyed the modular layout set up by the Pittsburgh Hi-railers Club inside the hotel. In addition, a Lionel exhibit showed the company’s new products.

The Get Acquainted Party was held at Bonnie Springs Ranch outside Vegas. We roamed the streets of this western town, enjoyed a picnic-like meal, and participated in a mock jury trial of a shiftless, no good, murdering bank robber.

Sure, the temps were warm, but so were the renewed friendships and new ones made there.

Images from the 2003 LCCA Convention

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam at Boulder City

This engineering marvel of the 20th century is a main electrical power generating facility for the southwest, including Los Angeles -- and Las Vegas. A massive public works project built during the depression era, its power output is the foundation for economic development of the region, and it keeps the neon lights on in Vegas.

Hoover Dam was the first man-made structure to exceed the masonry mass of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The dam contains enough concrete to pave a strip 16 feet wide and 8 inches thick from San Francisco to New York City. More than 5 million barrels of Portland cement and 4.5 million cubic yards of aggregate went into the dam. If all of the materials used in the dam were loaded onto a single train, as the engine entered the switch yards in Boulder City, the caboose would just be leaving Kansas City, MO.

Vegas Strip

Vegas Strip

The glitz of dazzling neon transforms the night into a light show that is a uniquely American art form. Some art critics consider Vegas Neon a celebration of exuberance; others, an expression of lavish excess bordering on the grotesque. LCCA conventioneers enjoyed the ambiance without taking sides in this aesthetic debate.

Chow Line, GAP

The traditional Get Acquainted Party is the place to re-meet hobby friends and make new friends. The buffet meal left no one unfilled.

Outdoor Garden Railroad

This home layout generated many "Oohs" and "Ahhs" from members who appreciated the attention to details in this fine example of G-scale model railroading with a western theme.

Trading Hall

Many members bring a shopping list with them to the Convention and refer to it as a guide while perusing the items on display and for sale in the Trading Hall.

A special thanks goes to Bob Carter and Ed Richter for sharing their convention pictures.