The 27th Annual AAPRCO Convention Trains

The Northern Parks Limited
Updated 10/3/04

September 15-16, 2004. Private Party Car Pony Express operated from Los Angeles to Portland, OR. On arrival at Oakland Jack London Square The Pony was joined by Dome Obs Silver Solarium and ex CN tourist sleeper obs Burrard. At Portland we were coupled up to 4-4-2 sleeper Yosemite Falls (ex SP Golden Mission) and PV Virginia City the car once owned by Lucius Beebe and Charles Clegg. On Friday the 17th we left for Spokane, WA on Train #28, the Portland-Spokane section of the Empire Builder where we joined Private Car Jane Marie (converted from an ex Rock Island coach) and sleeper obs Vista Canyon (ex Santa Fe blunt end sleeper obs.) The seven cars, all belonging to members of AAPRCO (American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners) then operated as the AAPRCO Western Convention Train with Amtrak locomotive #92 providing the power. We travelled from Spokane to Whitefish, MT on Saturday, September 18. Upon arrival several passengers availed themselves of the opportunity to take a bus tour of Glacier National Park.

Cascade crossing

Inside jokes abound aboard the Pony

Sunset - Whitefish, Montana

Western Convention Train parked at Whitefish, Montana

On Sunday, the 19th, we travelled from Whitefish to Shelby along the BNSF's Hi Line Subdivision (ex-Great Northern) skirting the southern edge of Glacier National Park. Wildlife was abundant and included Grizzly Bears and Bald Eagles. From Shelby the train took the freight only Laurel Subdivision to Great Falls where we spent the night.

East of Whitefish along the Flathead River

Grizzly Bear Cubs

Rainy Great Falls

 On Monday, the 20th we travelled from Great Falls to Mossmain Junction on the Laurel Subdivision where we joined the tracks of Montana Rail Link (ex Northern Pacific). We then travelled over MRL to Livingston. Again we saw lots of wildlife including Elk, Antelope, Fox and Eagles. It was a very restful journey through remote range lands. We spent the rest of the 20th all of the 21st in Livingston. Passengers who desired were able to tour Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks on the 21st.

On Tuesday, 22nd. The 18 cars of the Eastern Convention train and the 7 cars of the Western Train were combined into one 25 car passenger train with Amtrak locomotives 121, 204 and 92. We travelled from Livingston to Missoula via Bozeman Pass, Helena and Mullen Pass.

Climbing Bozeman Pass

Along the Missouri River

Milwaukee Road crossing of the Missouri River

Approaching Mullen Pass

Climbing Mullen Pass

After our arrival and switching in Missoula on Wednesday, September 22 we held a car party for convention attendees and invited guests. The Pony became a popular gathering place.

Car Party on the Pony Express

Friday, September 24, 2004 convention attendees rode a special MRL and Montana Rockies Rail Tours train from Missoula to Hamilton and return. While in Hamilton we were treated to a delicious BBQ lunch and a special tour of the Daly Mansion. Private cars Pony Express and Silver Solarium were included as part of the special train. The return trip featured FP-9A PPCX 6304 (ex VIA 6304, ne WP-806A) in its two tone gray livery as the lead locomotive.

Saturday morning, September 25th., the Pony and ex VIA F9-A 6304 were made part of the regular Montana Rockies Daylight train for movement to Sandpoint, Idaho in preparation for the Montana Daylight Steam Excursion with locomotive #4449 Oct 10-12 and 15-17.


Sunday, September 26 the combined convention trains ran to Sandpoint, Idaho. There they were split back into two trains. The Eastern Train headed for Whitefish, MT and Western Train continued on to Spokane. Once in Spokane the special ended and the 6 remaining Western cars were held for pickup by the westbound Portland Section of the Empire Builder, Train #27.

Along the Clark Fork River west of Missoula

Aboard Private Car Virginia City - a member of the Eastern Train says farewell to members of the Western Train as we approach Sandpoint, Idaho

Lake Pend Oreille

Approaching Sandpoint on the platform of Private Car Virginia City

Leaving the Pony as we depart Sandpoint

Monday, September 27 our Private Cars were picked up by the Portland Section of the Westbound Empire Builder, Train #27. We departed Spokane on time at 2:45am and arrived in Portland on time at 10:10am. Three cars, the Jane Marie, Vista Canyon and Burrard were staged to be picked up by the Coast Starlight later in the day. The other three cars, Yosemite Falls, Virginia City and Silver Solarium were place on track one and hooked up to shore power.

6 PV's on the rear of a 4 car Empire Builder along the Columbia River

Say goodbye to the first three cars as they leave Portland on the rear of the Southbound
Coast Starlight, Train #11

Tuesday, September 28 we see a 1950's portrait of Portland Union Station. Yosemite Falls, Virginia City and Silver Solarium are on Track 1 while the Puget Sound and Sierra Hotel are on Track 3. These two domes arrived on Monday's Northbound Starlight and are positioned to depart for Chicago on this day's Empire Builder. The three cars from the Western Train are set to depart later on the Southbound Coast Starlight. An unfortunate mishap caused a brake problem on the Virginia City so it didn't leave this day. Yosemite Falls and Silver Solarium ran as far as San Jose where they were taken off.

1950's revisited