The Convention was from May 4 through 7, 2023, sponsored by the Keystone Division of the NMRA, Mid-Central Region, at the Doubletree by Hilton at Cranberry, 910 Sheraton Drive, Mars, PA, 16046.
Our convention hotel, the Doubletree by Hilton at Cranberry, is conveniently located within easy access to the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Interstate-79 just north of Pittsburgh. You can visit the city, see Station Square, ride the Duquesne or Monongahela Inclines, railfan and enjoy the area. You are just 15 minutes from Norfolk Southern Mainline and 20 minutes from CSX Mainline.
Breakfast & Lunch Breakfast (7:00-9:00am) and lunch (11:30am-1:00pm) were available for Convention Attendees in an area of the main lobby Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Food items were in the $5-7 price range (cash only). (Breakfast & Lunch)
Meet & Greet Thursday, 4-5pm, in the Chestnut Room. A cash bar for convention attendees.
Division Two Modular Layouts There are several modular layout groups active within the Keystone Division. At this convention, three of the groups displayed their modules. In the Pre-Function Area, two of the groups were set up: the Pittsburgh S-Gaugers (a local chapter of the NASG) and the Keystone Division FreeMo (HO scale). Meanwhile, Division Two T-Trak was set up in the Cedar Room next to the Vendors. The T-Trak group also sets up at Greenberg and smaller venues too, and many of their modules are on display in the Cedar Room; after the “Make & Take” clinic produces additional T-Trak modules, these were added to their layout.
Banquet The Rails to Pittsburgh Convention central activities conclude with a dinner beginning at 7:00 p.m. Saturday evening. The menu includes salad; chicken piccata or miso glazed salmon; fingerling potatoes; roasted vegetables; and dessert for $55.00. The after dinner speaker was Bill Neale, MMR, an avid historian and modeler of the PRR, whose HO scale layout has been widely featured in the hobby press. Bill presented remarks on the first 50 miles of the PRR Panhandle Division, which he models. The evening wraps up with an awards ceremony from the contest activity and other regional announcements. (Banquet)
Sunday Self-Guided Layout Tours
Twenty-eight home and club layouts featuring modeling in O, S, HO, and N scales had their doors open for you to visit. The self-guided tour booklet was included in your registration packet. Layouts include several in the Pittsburgh vicinity and neighboring counties, eastern Ohio, and northwestern West Virginia. (Layout Tours)
Steel City Chapter of the R&LHS
Established in 2017, the Steel City Chapter, a 501c(3) non-profit historical society, is the youngest chapter of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society. The R&LHS is the oldest railway historical society in the United States (est. 1921), which is dedicated to the preservation and research of American railroad history.
Our general office in Irwin maintains a large collection of railroad artifacts including maps, timetables, newsletters, manuals, and photographic images (including railroad prints, slides, and negatives). We are thankful to have acquired the William “Bill” Nixon, Charles Lanhinkey, David Morton, and Richard “Dick” George collections.
The organization had display tables and photographs and railroad memorabilia for purchase. All proceeds benefit their mission of preserving western Pennsylvania railroad heritage. Find them online at (steelcityrlhs.org).
P&WV Technical and Historic Interest Group
The P&WV Technical and Historical Interest Group had a display in the Pre-function Area. This is an informal group of individuals dedicated to documenting the past, present and future of the 132 miles of railroad track that used to make up the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railway, which connected the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad in eastern Ohio with the Western Maryland, in Connellsville, Pennsylvania, while running through and serving the Pittsburgh area.
It was affectionately called "The High and Dry" because it was built across the hilltops into the Pittsburgh area since other railroads had already taken the more desirable routes along the streams and rivers, which also accounts for its 171 bridges and 21 tunnels, despite having a relatively short mainline.
The display at our convention features items from original P&WV archive material, most of which has never been seen or exhibited in any type of private setting or show. The information should be of interest to anyone who models the WM, NKP,W&LE, P&LE, B&O and other short lines that interchanged with the P&WV. The display also includes a large selection of prototype scale models. Much more information may be found on their website at (thepwvhiline.com).
Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society
The Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society (prrths.org) had a display in the Pre-Function Area as well. The PRR T&HS is the pre-eminent charitable organization, a 501c(3) non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation of the history of the Pennsylvania Railroad, as well as to its faithful representation in scale modeling efforts.
White Elephant Sale & Company Store
The White Elephant Sale is located in the DOGWOOD ROOM, as is the Division Two Company Store. Hours are 9am through 9pm Thursday and Friday, but 9am through 3pm on Saturday, to allow for settlement of sales (3-4:45pm, doors closing at 5pm before the Banquet set-up). Abandoned items are forfeited to Division Two for the purposes of future fundraising. See full rules & regulations for the White Elephant Sale on next page. (White Elephant)
Division Two FreeMo and Pittsburgh S-Gaugers
The Division Two FreeMo (HO scale) group (keystonedivision.org/modular.html) and the Pittsburgh S-Gaugers have set up modules for display in the PRE-FUNCTION AREA outside of the clinic rooms. Both of these groups set up modules at the local Greenberg Train Shows, and some of their members take their modules to more distant venues to contribute to building larger FreeMo layouts or spreading their enthusiasm for S scale. These modules will be set up from Thursday at 1pm through Saturday at 3pm.
T-Trak Modules & Vendors
The Division Two T-Trak (N scale) group (keystonedivision.org/ttrak.html) have set up their layout in the CEDAR ROOM, where you can also find the Vendors, who are supporting our convention. The modules and vendors were here Thursday and Friday, 9am to 9pm, and Saturday, 9am to 2pm (at which time this room closes promptly for Banquet preparation). The T-Trak group also sets up at Greenberg Train Shows as well as local and regional train shows and swap meets; after the “Make & Take” clinic produces additional T-Trak modules, these will be added to their layout in the Cedar Room.