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Convention History

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The Southern Plains N Scale Convention History

 

Since 1995, N Scale modelers have been coming to Oklahoma City in December for a double treat – the Oklahoma City Train show, considered one of the top 5 shows in the country and the Southern Plains N Scale Convention.

In 1995, the Oklahoma N-Rail club put together a show within a show – it was a gathering of N scalers as a part of the Oklahoma City Train show.  This gathering was called the Southern Plains  Ntrak Regional Convention and brought together N-scalers from Texas and Colorado as well as Oklahoma. The Convention started on Friday with setup and a pizza party Friday evening, a banquet on Saturday, a white elephant table and clinics as well as several N scale layouts. The white elephant table afforded conventioneers the opportunity to put out items for sale or swap with other conventioneers as well as the public.

In 1996, the convention featured a special run car by InterMoutain, a Wilson reefer, and Frank Angstead of InterMountain was the featured speaker at the banquet.

In 1998 the convention was lengthened a day by starting on Thursday with an outside activity, a tour of the Trinity Industry plant in Oklahoma City which at that time built tank cars. The following year, the tour featured the Trinity Industry plant in Tulsa, lunch at Ollie’s and an afternoon tour in Oklahoma City of the Channel 5 facilities.

 In 2000, Thursday’s tour took conventioneers to BNSF’s Flynn Yard in OKC.  Friday setup featured modules from Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma City.  

In 2001, the convention went back up to Tulsa for a tour of BNSF’s Cherokee Yard including a visit to the hump.  There was still snow on the ground, but the tour went without a hitch.

2002 featured a tour of several outdoor/backyard equipment manufacturers in the area.  The featured banquet speaker was Jim Boyd who had quite a collection of slides from his years with Railfan and Railroad Magazine.  

The year 2003 saw the introduction of clinics on Thursday afternoon.  The morning tour featured a return to the Trinity Industry plant in OKC which had been shut down for a while, but was reopened to build mechanical reefers.   Lunch at Pepperoni Station was followed by three one-hour clinics.  That year also saw the Disneyland module in the Ntrak layout. The guest speaker at the banquet was Norm Stenzel of Digitrax.

In 2004, the convention went to the AOK auto-handling facility and the banquet guest speaker was George Johnsen, President of the N Scale Collector Society.  Because of a small logistics issue, the banquet speech had to be postponed until Sunday morning. This was the first year that we had a T-Trak layout.

A return BNSF’s Flynn Yard and the GM Yard just months before the closing of the OKC GM plant were the featured morning activities in 2005.  The tour was followed by lunch and clinics.  The move to a convention hotel allowed for our first swap meet on Thursday evening which was a very welcomed addition. This was the first year that all N-trak layouts were connected, using junction modules.  The banquet moved to the convention hotel where the featured speaker was Evan Stair of the Oklahoma Rail Passenger Association.

In 2006  the plan was to start Thursday with a tour of the Santa Fe station and museum in Shawnee,  followed by a tour of UP’s Harder Yard.  But snow postponed that trip, and it was not until 2010 that the convention finally made it out to Shawnee. Because of the snow, clinics started early, right after lunch. The swap meet at the hotel convention center in the evening has proven to be very popular and continues to this day.  Friday is setup day, with layouts arriving from noontime on.  Saturday and Sunday are run days for the public.  Saturday evening’s banquet featured Bobby Hall of Hallmark Models as guest speaker. Bobbye was at the Oklahoma City Train Show to promote her book “Tracks from Texas to Tokyo”. This was her last public appearance.


Information about the convention is available at www.oknrail.org/convention.html.



 


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