2012 NRHS Convention - Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Welcome to NRHS Convention 2012. Mark your calendars now for the first NRHS Convention in Iowa. Based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the program will feature five days of train trips on regional carriers including the Iowa Interstate, Iowa Northern, and former interurban Cedar Rapids & Iowa City. Additional events will be held at the Old Threshers facility in Mount Pleasant as well as local history tours, visits to industrial facilities, seminars and the traditional convention meetings.

LOCATION: The NRHS Convention 2012 will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the week of June 18-24, 2012.

HOTELS: The Convention Hotels are taking reservation. Details can be found here.

REGISTRATION AND INFORMATION: If you are a NRHS member, you are already pre-registered. Registration informaiton is now avaliable for download and tickets are onsale through our online system.

  • UPDATED!! Registration package - Includes event information, hotel information and other registration information.
  • Buy Tickets Now - A link to our ticketing system where you can purchase tickets online.
  • UPDATED!! Mail-in form - We encourage online ticket purchases, however, a mail-in purchase option is provided.
  • NEW (February 4, 2012) - Detailed schedule of events.

RAILROAD EVENTS: Today’s Iowa Interstate and Iowa Northern railroads operate former main lines of the Rock Island. The Crandic (Cedar Rapids and Iowa City) operate former Milwaukee Road tracks as well as its original former electric line to Iowa City. As the Iowa rail system has evolved, these lines have become thriving regional carriers servicing Iowa’s growing industrial base. Five different train trips are scheduled, all of them rare-mileage explorations of what is normally freight-only track.Two Iowa Interstate trips will feature one of their Chinese QJ steam locomotives as well as modern diesel power. Iowa Northern and Crandic trips will use their regular freight locomotives, plus maybe a surprise or two. Each trip will use a full-size train offering a choice of coach, club-lounge, dome-lounge and premium service cars. Photo stops and runbys are scheduled on all five train trips.

OLD THRESHERS: The biggest Labor Day event in Iowa is the annual Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, when up to 30,000 people descend on Mt. Pleasant to celebrate the heritage of farming. NRHS will have a full day of private operations at the Old Threshers grounds with narrow-gauge steam trains, electric interurbans and trolley cars operating for our exclusive use. This will be a rare opportunity to ride and photograph this vintage equipment without having to contend with massive crowds and a few thousand parked RV’s. And if you get tired of the railroads, Old Threshers will have a number of other historical operations to view, including a few steam tractors.

HERITAGE TOURS: Iowa has been described as one big heritage site, with much of the original frontier still visible. In addition to the railroad events and industrial tours, we have organized a number of Heritage Tours to explore Iowa’s historical sites.

  • Visit the Amana Colonies, Iowa’s number one attraction. These historic utopian communities feature farms, wineries, craft shops, a woolen mill and excellent food. And you have probably already heard of the kitchen appliances.
  • Tour the unique town of Kalona, inhabited by all three Amish sects and both Mennonite sects, stopping for lunch at an active farm.
  • And don’t overlook Cedar Rapids itself, home of the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, Ushers Ferry Historic Village and Brucemore, Iowa’s National Trust Historic Site.

SMOKESTACK TOURS: Cedar Rapids is part of the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area, so we have added a new convention feature. Participants will be able to tour some notable industrial sites, some of them never before available for public tours. Here’s a chance to learn about why all those freight cars are moving around, and see how major rail shippers conduct their business.

GETTING THERE: We’re working on plans for inbound and outbound special trains from the Chicago area. Save the dates of June 17 and June 25 for these unusual operations. For individual travelers, the Cedar Rapids airport (CID) is served by several major airlines with over 30 flights a day, and the hotels offer free airport van service. The larger regional airport at Des Moines is only two hours away. Cedar Rapids is easily accessed by Interstate highway from all directions.

COME FOR THE CONVENTION AND STAY FOR A VACATION! The region around Cedar Rapids has many more attractions than we can work into the convention program itself. With a little extra time, you can take in the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park & Museum, the Bridges of Madison County, the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum, the American Gothic House Center, the Little Brown Church in the Vale and the Field of Dreams Baseball Field. Below are links to a number of area attractions and information on the Cedar Rapids area:

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