Grand Canyon Special 2023
Pacific Southwest Region Convention
June 7-11, 2023 Flagstaff Arizona
Presented by the Arizona Division
Welcome to the exciting Grand Canyon Special 2023 Convention. Flagstaff Arizona, with over 100 trains passing through each day, is the centerpiece of the Convention with excursions to Williams, and the train to the Grand Canyon. Nestled in the pines of the Arizona High Country, the City of Flagstaff offers cool summer temperatures and a rich diversity of downtown attractions and activities along historic Route 66. The High-Country Convention Center is the venue, and the theme is Steam to the Grand Canyon . There are clinics and activities for everyone including a series of clinics dedicated to the Grand Canyon excursion. The format is new, unique and exciting, featuring two days of indoor convention activities with the third day devoted to the Steam Train and the Grand Canyon.
Bring your Family, Bring your Friends!!
Grand Canyon Railroad Mikado 4960 will depart promptly at 8:30 AM on Saturday, June 10. You can choose one of four classes of cars, and the day before the ride you can visit the engine house where 4960 will be fired. The highlight of the ride is the destination to the Grand Canyon. The return trip features a stop and photo run-by of the train before returning to Williams. NMRA members can bring guests on this exclusive rail trip to one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
This Convention has something for everyone
The convention kicks-off with an Ice Cream Social at the 1899 Restaurant Patio. The clinics on Thursday and Friday will have railroading topics from Large Scale railroads to the latest in Layout Command Control (LCC) and everything in between. A unique feature of this convention is that one clinic in every time slot will be dedicated to the Grand Canyon excursion. Topics will include the geography, geology and history of the Grand Canyon, Harvey Houses (in Williams and the Canyon) the Harvey Girls, the Grand Canyon Railroad, and local history and attractions in Williams and Flagstaff. Everybody wins on Thursday night at the Hobo Auction. Friday night features rail-fanning at the Amtrak Depot (did we mention there are over 100 trains per day through Flagstaff!) and tour downtown Flagstaff and historic Route 66. Saturday night concludes with an awards banquet featuring guest speaker Dale Angell.
Don’t miss Dale Angell Speaking at the Banquet
Toy Man Dale Angell searches the land looking for people who have perfected the "high art of screwing around". Builders of model trains, hot rods, tree houses, filmmakers and artists who blow things up. He will be riding the train and then sharing his unique view of the world.
A Few Things to Know about Flagstaff
There are some things you need to keep in mind while you plan your trip. Flagstaff is located at 7000 feet elevation in the country's largest Ponderosa Pine forest. The air is thinner and drier here and it will take you a few days to acclimate to your surroundings. Breathing will become easier with time, but hydration is important immediately. You will need to drink a lot of water from the moment you arrive. The thinner air also means that sunscreen and lip balm are recommended when going outdoors.
June is the warmest month with daytime temperatures in the 80's or perhaps low 90's. Mornings are often 50 to 60 degrees. Wear layers so that you can adapt as the temperature changes. You might even want to bring an umbrella even though our daily monsoon rains don’t usually start until July. Bring comfortable shoes since most attractions at the convention are within walking distance of the hotel or a short auto trip.
Average temperatures at the Grand Canyon in June are a high of 82 and a low of 43 with little chance of rain. The elevation is 6800 feet so the same breathing, hydration and sun-screen protections apply as in Flagstaff. There will be water, soda, drinks and snacks available on the train.
Layouts will be open for tours in Phoenix on Wednesday mid-day so that you can stop on your way to Flagstaff, then stop at the Flagstaff Model Railroad Club and still arrive in time for Dinner and the Ice Cream Social.
How to get to Flagstaff
Driving is probably the best way to get to Flagstaff
- I-40 from the East or West
- I-17 North from Phoenix
Amtrak - daily service
- Train from the East arrives in the Evening
- Train from the West arrives early AM
- United subsidiary through Phoenix
- Direct flights from Dallas/Fort Worth
- Fly to Phoenix and take a shuttle from Phoenix to Flagstaff (via I-17)
- There are several shuttle services offering inexpensive fares from Phoenix