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AAPRCO Convention 2008, San Pedro, California

"Rails to Sails"

AAPRCO 2008 Convention

 San Pedro, California,  September 20 - 24, 2008.

Story and Photos by Carl Morrison,



Welcome Reception


September 20, 2008 was the official date of the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners' Convention in San Pedro, California.  However, some guests arrived from distant states on private cars that were brought to the convention behind Amtrak trains.  The Cincinnati Railway Company was one organization of private rail cars to bring three private cars from Cincinnati, OH, to San Pedro, CA, for the convention.

Therefore, for some, this convention began by boarding a private car the previous week for a ride in luxury to California.  I was fortunate enough to ride the Birch Grove and The Observatory from Chicago, IL, to San Pedro, CA, for this convention. 

I followed the Cincinnati Railway Company's Itinerary and boarded in Chicago on Tuesday, September 16, 2008:

Tuesday, Sept. 16     
    2:00 p.m. Depart Chicago , Ill.  on the California Zephyr Train # 5

Wed, Sept. 17

Thursday, Sept. 18  
    7:50 p.m. Arrive Oakland , Calif.

Friday, Sept. 19        
    8:35 a.m. Depart Oakland , Calif. on the Coast Starlight Train # 11

    10:10 p.m. Arrive Los Angeles , Calif.

Click Here to Read about my journey on the Birch Grove and The Observatory from Chicago to Los Angeles for the AAPRCO Convention.


Welcome Reception Schedule

From the Schedule of Convention Events, the reception was announced as such:

5:00 pm                  Bus departs Crowne Plaza, San Pedro for LAUPT                                 Crown Plaza Hotel

6:00 - 9:00 pm         Welcome reception at Union Station Traxx Restaurant Garden            LAUPT

9:00 pm                  Busses return attendees back to 8th Street Yard                                       LAUPT
                                  and to Crowne Plaza Hotel, San Pedro

From this announcement, you realize that some local AAPRCO Attendees stayed at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Pedro, and some attendees were staying on Private Rail Cars.  Of those staying on Private Rail Cars, some came to the convention in the car they stayed in at the convention, others took advantage of offers like the following to rent a room on a private car, which were posted on the convention website:

Join us at the convention by making the "Salisbury Beach" your comfortable hotel on wheels. This recently refurbished lightweight sleeping car features bedrooms, roomettes and comfortable classic section beds (uppers and lowers) at affordable prices for five nights (9/20-9/24).  Bedrooms: $995. for one, $1,295 for two  Roomettes $695. for one  Sections:  $620 lower, $575 upper  *** Includes steam trip. Does not include AAPRCO associate membership fee.  CALL: at 877-452-7245 and ask for Doug or Tom

The Convention Planners had covered all scenerios for off-train transportation.

Since I arrived at the convention in the Private Car, the Birch Grove and The Observatory, my room would be onboard for the duration of the convention and steam excursion, and bus transportation would be provided to the various events of the convention.  The first bus trip was to the Weclome Reception.  This was very convenient since I'd placed my automobile at the Crowne Plaza, and the rail cars were at LA's 8th Street Yard.  I took the bus to LAUPT for the reception, then after the reception I took a different bus to the 8th Street Yard where I slept in my room on the Birch Grove.  The following day, I took the bus to and from the dock for the Catalina Cruise, still staying overnight on the Birch Grove.

(Double click any photo to see a double-sized copy; Click BACK in your browser to return to this page.)

AAPRCO Convention Hotel:  Crowne Plaza
601 South Palos Verdes Street,
San Pedro, CA  90731

LAUPT main hallway after arriving by bus from the Crowne Plaza.  The Reception was on the patio, out the glass doors in the midpoint of the hall on the right.

Caritas staff and passengers.
From Silver Rails Resort in La Palata, MO,
Steve and Kelly Marshall, La Palata
Barbara Cepinko and Steve Grande, Anaheim Hills

Cal and Rena Gerhard, from the Birch Grove and The Observatory.
From the Chapel Hill
L to R:  Nancy  Angier, Richard Gronstedt, and Jerry Angier
Carol Walker, Bella Vista Travel,
Rode from L.A. to Chicago in the Birch Grove and The Observatory.


Steve Grande of pointed out two errors on the tee-shirts for sale, can you find them?

Friends of the Birch Grove and Cincinnati Railway Co.
G. K. Burkman, arrived on the Birch Grove and The Observatory.
Mike Harris and Richard Buckman who arrived on the Birch Grove and The Observatory.


Tom Marshall, Depot Inn & Suites, La Plata, MO, and AAPRCO member.


Julie King and David Schramm of the National Railroad Hall of Fame in Galesburg, IL
Tom McOwen, The Observatory, and Brian Collins, Birch Grove, of The Cincinnati Railway Co.

"Britannica Bruce" Holberg (Because he is a Passenger Rail Car Encyclopedia) and G. K. "Ken" Burkman, arrived on the Birch Grove and The Observatory.

Bruce, Derek Griffin, and Ken
Steve Grande, V.P. of, Carole Walker, Bella Vista Travel, and Doug Spin, Pacific Sands and LA Rail.

Upon returning by convention bus to the 8th St. Yard, I saw Northern Sky and Northern Dreams for the first time, in the Inspection building.

[ Next:  3751 Steam San Diegan Excursion ]

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