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51st Anniversary Scranton Convention Blog - #LCCA50+1

With our Omaha convention cancelled (hopefully to be rescheduled in Omaha in the near future) our focus is now on Scranton in 2021 (July 18-24, 2021).  Much has already been done on events, tours and commemorative products.  This blog will document updates to and will follow Scranton Convention developments.  (#LCCA50+1).

2/9/2021 - It was announced today that the 2021 Scranton Convention has been cancelled, another casualty of Covid - (Click Here for details).  For all of us enduring Covid, as we start to fight back with the new vaccines, this is another blow.  So many of our friends affected, unfortunate cancellations, kids with limited in person schooling, working at home, no hugs or handshakes, masks and social distance requirements - the trademarks of 2020.  For those of us longing for normal, for meeting with friends, going to train shows and train meets and even simple things like hugging our kids, this is a reminder of the seriousness of Covid.  Fortunately progress is being made and the end is in sight.  

The LCCA leadership teams have reviewed a number of options before making a cancellation final.  As hopeful as all were, current State and Federal lockdown requirements limit meeting sizes, the Hotels raised concerns about social distance during events and dinners and concerns in close quarters.  A convention is the coming together of not only members and their families, but also obviously the hotel and staff, the tour venues, transportation activities and so much more.  Add to that governmental regulations and uncertainty on the virus, the new strains, long term vaccination timelines and an overriding concern for the safety resulted in the decision to cancel.

But for those of us who looked forward to the Electric City Convention, we will be there in 2025!  Same hotels and hopefully the same tours and events.  That is then, this is now and and we look forward to 2022 Convention in Music City - Nashville! Remember there is MORE than music in Nashville!  And to find all news about Nashville, search #LCCANashville

1/11/2021 - We start the new year with a sneak peek at the Monday Train Ride scheduled for the LCCA Scranton convention - The tour, Tour 1 - Steam Town all day private train excursion with a catered BBQ lunch - will leave at 8:000 AM and return 5:00 PM.  This is an all day event with the actual train boarding at 8:30.  Dienzel has released the following details:

"We will start our convention today by boarding the train at one of our host hotels, the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton.  This hotel served as Scranton’s main hub of transportation from 1908 until it closed in the 1970’s.  This French Renaissance-style architecture building opened as a hotel in the 1980’s.  It remains much the same today as it was in its glorious heyday.  The members staying at our Host hotel, the Hilton, will walk over next door to embark.  Once the train reaches our station, we will wait until the all clear announcement is given before we start the boarding process.  The train will wind its way through the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania until we reach our destination of East Stroudsburg with its own unique station (tours will be available at the station & the signal tower).  There we will enjoy a catered BBQ luncheon, visit the quaint town, and also video/photograph our train as it does a special run-by for us.  This stop will be approximately 1 ½ hours before we start our return trip.  A National Park guide will be on each one of our coaches pointing out the remarkable land marks as we journey.  The LCCA will provide water for us but no snacks or drinks will be sold aboard our train.  There are basic rest rooms in the coaches.  You may open your coach windows since Air Conditioning is not available.  NOTE:  No special dress code (except closed toed shoes) is required on this over 100 mile excursion.  If the Lehigh Valley business car #353 is out of restoration in time, it will also be added to our consist."

There will be other Monday surprises to this wallet friendly tour - $88.00 per person.  Be sure to sign up early with only 200 rider capacity on Monday.  (#LCCA50+1)

Here it is New Year’s Eve 2020 and What a Year.  A Happy New Year and the Best in 2021 to all LCCA members and their family.  Quite a year for us all – zoom schools, work at home, governmental lockdowns, social distances, air hugs, masks, and gloves as we try to live as normally as possible with COVID. 

So why think now about Scranton in July?  It is times like this that the promise, the expectation, and the hope that we can quickly return to more reasonable normal and familiar times.  The opportunity to again gather with friends and met new attendees.  That normal would include a Train Show or Train Swap where we can further enjoy our hobby.  That is why to think of Scranton in July – and the opportunity to what was not possible in 2020 – attend the LCCA Annual Convention.  Yes, there is a risk of further virus, of more limitations and health fears and unfortunately, those may come to pass.  But confidence in the vaccine, hope in the future and the acceptance of personal responsibility by each of us ensures the hope the virus and concerns about it will be totally gone by July.  Looking foreword to meeting with all in Scranton. (#LCCA50+1)

12/22/2020 - Bob Carter, Convention Manager writes - Here we are, as this is being written, it’s approaching Christmas, 2020. And we all know what kind of year this has been, right? One of uncertainty, disbelief, confusion, sadness, happiness, joy, well, you name it. I think I’ve just about covered them all. But hanging out there is one certainty, and that is we are planning one BIG Convention Splash in the Electric City, Scranton, PA for July 2021. At this time, we still do not know for sure if this convention will be a go or a no-go, but we are anticipating we will be having one as usual, and it will be a hum-dinger, making up for the LOST CONVENTION of 2020 in Omaha. 

The city has been put on notice that the Lionel Collectors Club of America will be coming to town and they are making plans to welcome us with open arms! We will be enjoying two of the finest hotels in the area, the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center, our Headquarter Hotel and the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, Scranton, our overflow hotel. Both will be used during our week, with the Hilton being used for the President’s Welcome Reception on Sunday night, the Get Acquainted Party on Thursday night and the Banquet on Saturday night. The Radisson, with its ease of entry, will be used for the Trading Hall on Friday and Saturday. Why two hotels you ask? Simply, neither the Hilton nor the Radisson has the space to accommodate us for all the events, so we are breaking them up, the events that is.  (#LCCA50+1)  (Read entire note Click Here)

12/6/2020 - LCCA invites members of All Train Clubs to the LCCA 2021 Convention in Scranton with a special limited membership that allows them to register.  With the COVID effect this year making all things trains just that more difficult, the cancelling of Train Meets and Train Shows, the reluctance to gather and meet, the opportunity to have a Convention with a Train Meet in Scranton in July of 2021 is something to share.  To that end, the Officers and BOD of the LCCA has extended this invitation to other train groups, both local and national, to apply for a 6 month membership which includes issues of TLR, the IT and access to the web site, web store and 10% discount at  IF not already a member of the LCCA, this is a great way to learn more about what makes it special -"The Best Toy Train Club on the Planet".  If you are a member, be sure to share this opportunity with your friends.  Find more detail - Click Here   (#LCCA50+1)

11/20/2020 - One of our Pennsylvania members, Tony Dombroski (RM3963), has contacted the LCCA and as a visitor to our anticipated mine tour wanted to share some practical observations about preparations and clothing for this venue.  For anyone going on the mine tour DO NOT WEAR OPEN TOED SHOES.  It may be wet near the entrance and that you will most likely be getting out on a rocky surface.  While it may be July and outside sunny and warm, the tour will take about an hour and will bring you 1,000 feet below into a real operating mine.  With the lower part of the tour at 55 degrees, long pants and a jacket are recommended.  Thanks Tony for this first hand feedback.   (#LCCA50+1)

11/8/2020 - our Convention Tour Chairman, Dienzel Dennis (RM6713) as provided an update on tours planned for Scranton -
I am sure all of you are as disappointed as I was with the cancellation of the 2020 Golden Anniversary Convention that we were all set up to celebrate in Omaha.  The ole Covid-19 had different plans for us.   After much careful consideration, the LCCA Board of Directors made the decision to cancel.  It was absolutely the right thing to do.  Therefore, what we can report from Omaha 2020 is that there were so many great tours lined up; and many of you had already registered.  For those members who did register for the Boone and Scenic Valley railroad excursion in Omaha, you might want to consider taking the LCCA train trip next year in Scranton as you will have a very pleasant surprise (or two).  

For our Scranton trip, we will ride on vintage coaches and a legendary engine out of the shops of Steam Town (Read More).  This is the nation’s only National Park devoted solely to the train industry.  It is fairly tough working through the federal government to set up this adventure, but we are making it happen.  We will ride over a hundred miles through the Pocono Mountains with national park guides in every coach.  Other tours that you can count on is a deep underground mine as we ride the flanged wheel car down into mother earth.  At the bottom we will have a guided tour explaining the workings of this magnificent wonder.  Plan on being overwhelmed.  The Anthracite coal mine museum is on the agenda along with the Steam Town Museum and shops.  We will have a guided tour of the repair shop with its huge machines weighing tons.  Be ready to witness the “Ring of Fire”. How about a trolley ride that goes through a mile-long tunnel?  Magic will be on display this week along the Houdini Museum. Another great train ride will take place on Thursday where we are scheduled to ride on the line known as the Birthplace of the American Commercial Railroads in Honesdale, PA where the Stoursbridge Lion first ran in 1829.  (Read More)  Stay tuned for more details.

How about a great Dinner Theater with a show designed exclusively for our members and attendees?  In the months to come, this and the entire roster of events and venues and the exciting things being planned for our members, not only to celebrate Scranton, but also the cancelled Omaha convention will be announced.  We will be going back to Omaha in 2024 to experience many of the wonderful and exciting tours and events we missed in 2020.  But, before that comes around, let us all plan on enjoying our next Convention in Scranton Pennsylvania.  There will be some unannounced things that will set your heart aglow!  So, once again, all you members of the “Greatest Toy Train Club on the Planet” start making plans for July 2021 which is less than a year away.  I hope to see you there for Scranton (#LCCA50+1). 

9/21/2020 - We have been asked what exactly happens at an LCCA convention.  It is easy to read into this query the unasked questions like “will I enjoy the convention?”, “it is worth my time?”, and even “will I be welcome and fit in?”.  The answer to these questions is definitely!  This can be verified by the large number of attendees who attend these conventions year after year to enjoy the selected venues and tours, the comradery of fellow members, the ability to talk and learn about our hobby, to share time with the Lionel leadership team, to take part in the Trading Hall and to participate in the many dinners and events of the week.  Being family friendly, many members bring their spouses who then develop friendships of their own.  And of course, some members bring their kids or grandkids to share in age appropriate activities.  All are encouraged to attend and welcomed in the weeklong celebration.  For those who prefer a more limited participation, many members come later in the week to enjoy the Lionel seminar, dinner events and the Trading Hall.  No matter your preference, the LCCA Convention is a family friendly event and you are not only invited but welcome!  To better understand what happens, CLICK HERE for a description of our typical Convention – The Anatomy of an LCCA Convention.    (#LCCA50+1)

9/8/2020 - Our 51th convention attendance will be too large for one hotel.  So, the LCCA has contracted 2 Hotels in Scranton for this convention.  Registration, the Convention Desk, and the Store will be in the The Hilton Scranton in downtown Scranton.  Some events including the Trading Hall will be in the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton.  Yes, that is correct, two competing hotel chains are working together to provide one seamless convention.  The two hotels are adjacent to each other and each hotel provides an excellent, but unique experience.  The Hilton provides more of a cosmopolitan expertise while the Radisson Lackawanna Station offers a modern twist on travel throwback to the era when "Rail Travel was King".  A few of our tours are scheduled to depart on the train from the tracks directly outside the hotel.  How Cool Is That!  Whether you select a premium downtown hotel, or decide to enjoy an updated "Blast from the Past" and ambiance from days past, both hotels offer the same service levels and benefits of their individual brands.  The convention room rate of $139 will be available at both hotels.  And as in prior years, members can stay 3 days before and 3 after (rooms permitting) at the same rate.  REMEMBER - The LCCA room block will not open till Mid-February 2021  Detailed information will be provided then on how to book a room.  Do not call the hotel for an LCCA rate before then.   (#LCCA50+1)

8/30/2020 - LCCA introduces the 2021 Convention Pin design and the Scranton Convention Logo.  From the great profile of the 730, the symbolic Tipple tower, the nod to Pennsylvania with its iconic keystones, down to the 2021 convention hash tag, #LCCA50+1, the design incorporates the positive nature of our club and its convention.  This design will be Incorporated into all literature, publications and website notices discussing the 2021 51st convection in Scranton.  (#LCCA50+1)

8/24/2020 - LCCA issues its Scranton, PA 2021 Convention press release for use by news organizations in preparing the Marketing Program for this event.  This press release announces not only the convention in Scranton for the general public, it also announces a one time membership for members of other clubs who wish to attend our convention.  (#LCCA50+1).

8/21/2020 - The first draft of the 2021 logo for Scranton was submitted.  Comments for changes were suggested and a final image should be available shortly.  Two definite design elements of the final logo are its round shape and a spectacular image of the 730.  This logo will appear in all LCCA publications, on the convention pin, the club website and all convention badges.  One thing for certain is that the LCCA Scranton Hash Tag #LCCA50+1 will be flying proudly from the engine.   (#LCCA50+1).

8/15/2020 - When our LCCA Convention Team made their presentation at the 2020 LCCA virtual Business Meeting, they shared more convention information and provided a lot more detail ahead of the convention.  Bob Carter spoke of the dual hotels in Scranton, no single hotel is large enough to hold our member attendees and their families.  The hotels are very close to one another, and both offer quality rooms and service.  They will have the same nightly rate and functions will rotate between the hotels.  Dienzel Dennis went into considerable detail on the major venues and spoke of the 100 mile SteamTown ride, the trolley ride through a mile long tunnel, and of course the coal mine tour and train.  A surprise was the possibility of yet another train ride later in the week.  One novel twist is that for our SteamTown tour, the train from SteamTown will stop at the hotel and pick us up for the ride to SteamTown!  NO BUSES for this trip.  The Steamtown train ride will also start at the hotel, with our attendees boarding the train right at the hotel station!.  Both Bob and Dienzel offered so much more.  To hear from them directly, watch our business meeting stream and about mid way, Bob starts speaking after 25 minutes followed by Dienzel.  click here for video.  Things are really shaping up for Scranton.  Start making plans now and save the dates - July 18 through 24, 2021.  So much more information still to come - #LCCA50+1

8/12/2020 - Dienzel Dennis, LCCA Tour Guide and Convention Co-manager shared some preliminary information about tours and venues.  Here is his message!

Mark those calendars for July in Scranton in 2021.  We missed Omaha this year but we are going to make up for it; and ADD even more for Scranton. This will be one you will not want to miss!

We already have a great all day train ride from Steam Town National Park that promises to be a real treat. The excursion will be more than a hundred miles through the Pocono Mountains with some great surprises along the way. If you signed up for the Omaha Train Ride and got your money refunded, then be sure and sign up for this one for a special surprise for you only. I am planning on more surprises, so don't miss out.

Plan on going down into a deep coal mine by a car on rails. Ride a trolley which makes its way through a mile long tunnel. Wow. An evening Dinner Theater is in the making. We will also have a week full of real magic, and not just the magic of Lionel Trains. I will be posting more information in the weeks and months to come so start making plans now and don't miss...Scranton  (

8/4/2020 - The LCCA Board of Directors meeting discussed our upcoming 50+1 Scranton Convention.  Due to the Covid, the BOD has requested that the usual pre-convention visits to the Host hotel and to the various venues be moved back.  This has required all communications with the Hotel and the venues to be virtual and digital.  Room allocations at both Hotels have been confirmed.  Yes, Scranton will have two hotels, both host hotels as events will alternate between them.  Our anticipated attendance in Scranton exceeds the capacity of any one hotel.  Our Monday Wow trip is planned for a train ride (we will be near Steamtown) with a number of equally exciting trips offered the rest of the week.  #LCCA50+1

5/22/2020With the cancellation of our 50th convention in Omaha, it is time to start thinking about our 50+1 convention in Scranton. Many of the surprises from our 50th will be carried over to Scranton.  Preliminary work has started on tours and tour selection.  What would a visit to Scranton be if we do not visit Steamtown?  Or take a trolley ride? Or visit a coal mine?  This and more await us next July.  It is much too early to register for Scranton, but not to soon to start planning on attending.  Reminder, the 2021 Scranton convention is earlier than normal for 2021 the 3rd full week in July (July 18-24, 2021).  #LCCA50+1 

5/1/2020 - LCCA announces that the Hash Tag for the 2021 Scranton Convention is #LCCA50+1 and will be the hash tag assigned to find any and all Scranton convention details.  Like any other hash tag, just type #LCCA50+1 in your web browser and see what comes up.  While we continue to celebrate our 50th this year, a number of the events and activities scheduled for Omaha will be moved to 2021 and incorporated into the Scranton convention.  To recognize symbolically our goal of celebrating our 50th in Scranton together with all that is planned for 2021, we will be using the hash tag #LCCA50+1 in convention communications. When searching with such a unique hash tag, most everything that you see will be LCCA related.  However the web is a vast place and a few references will not be for us.  #LCCA50+1 

4/20/2020 - LCCA announces that after the cancellation of the anticipated 50th Anniversary Convention in Omaha Nebraska, our next convention will be held in Scranton, PA.  The celebration of the 51th anniversary will be a major event in the history of the club as for the first time it will be 2 years since we last met .  All members are encouraged to "save the dates" (July 18-24, 2021) and meet in Scranton in 2021!  Reminder, the 2021 Scranton convention is earlier than normal, for 2021 the 3rd full week in July.  To read more about the Omaha cancellation - Click Here