2019 R&LHS Convention: Day 4

Our final day, May 11th, turned out to be something quite different from what we expected. We traveled and hour and a half to the little city of Heber in a beautiful valley near Park City. The NRHS had charted a train with the Heber Valley Railroad. They provided 100 tickets for our chapter, so we were part of the 400 aboard the train.

The train left the station on time at 10:00 AM but about 1000 yards out at a street crossing, the train suddenly lurched and shook to a stop! Some of us on the left side could look out and see police cars arrive and traffic being redirected.

Finally, an NRHS member walked through the train with the announcement that the locomotive and first car, Business Car #100, had derailed and they are trying to get them back up. They would not let us off the train, so we sat there, most ate their box lunches, and a young lady came through playing her fiddle for entertainment.

After 2 hours it was announced that they could not move the train and the trip was cancelled. Fortunately, the buses were right across the street, so they pulled up alongside the train and we returned to Ogden much earlier than expected. The only positive thing a bunch of rail fans could glean from this is that they can check off their bucket list the experience of being on a train that derailed. We have a “war story” we can tell.

Back in Ogden there was time to simply rest up or return to the Union Station and 25th street for a last look at the Big Boy and tour the 223 shop, and museum, and Heritage Festival. The final activity was the combined banquet at the Eccles Conference Center.

For the first time the R&LHS, NRHS, UPHS and SPH&TS met together. Seven hundred of us enjoyed a social hour and banquet. Each president of the organization gave some welcome remarks and the keynote speaker, John Gray, Retired SP/UP Manager, gave an interesting presentation about how the SP rose and declined to eventually be incorporated into the UP corporation.

A special thanks to Lee Witten and Steve Jones our chairman for all they did. Both worked closely together and with the national convention chairman John Atherton and the national officers. It was stressful at times but now that it’s over, we’re all happy it went well. Our chapter, small as it is, provided a good experience for our national organization.