SPH&TS Convention 2016 - Palm Springs

Southern Pacific

Historical & Technical Society

2016 Annual Conference
Palm Springs, California
September 21-24, 2016

Located near the base of scenic Mount San Jacinto, Palm Springs is a desert oasis known for movie stars, celebrities, and golf. This year, the city is the host of the 36th Annual Convention of the Southern Pacific Historical & Technical Society. Our conference headquarters will be the luxurious Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel located at 888 East Tahquitz Canyon Way, which is just east of the downtown shopping area.

Convention activities begin Wednesday morning, September 21, with an extra fare trip to the Orange Empire Railway Museum in Perris, CA. It begins with motor coach transportation from the hotel, a tour of the grounds and barns, rides on some equipment, and lunch. We will return in the afternoon in time for attendees to pick up their convention registration packets and materials. If you have never been, this will be a great opportunity. Seating is limited!

Events begin at 8:30 am on Thursday morning, September 22, when the vendor room opens. Presentations will begin at 9:00 am with presentations on Thursday and Friday being given twice, which will allow you to maximize your opportunity to attend an excellent series of programs put together by people who know the SP Railroad. A full slate of new presentations is planned.

Due to member suggestions, we have changed our traditional program schedule. The Board Meeting and General Membership, normally held on Saturday morning, have been moved to Thursday night. This frees up Saturday morning and the early afternoon for presentations. Five presentations on that day will only be given once only.

One of the more popular events is the model and photo contest room. Models and photographs will be on display, along with the “wall of trains” for prototypical freight and passenger trains. This year we have two special categories. Special #1 is post-1980 diesel locomotives. If you like locomotives in the Kodachrome or the Speed-lettering paint scheme, this is the year to display your handiwork. Special #2 is post-1980 freight cars. Show us your freight cars from the 1980s or 1990s, especially the popular “oil can” tank cars or the ever popular Golden West Service paint scheme. These bright-blue cars were former SP, Cotton Belt, and Rio Grande freight cars that were rebuilt and leased to the SP by various shortline railroads.

On Sunday September 25, we will have an extra fare event to the Joshua Tree & Southern Railroad Museum. This live steam group operates in the desert near Joshua Tree and is known for the stark beauty of its railroad, as well as preserving several pieces of actual SP equipment. Seating is limited!


Pat Bray - Kaiser Ore Train

John Kirchner - Railroading Along the Border: Espee in Baja

Mike Bording - Southern Pacific's Golden State

Jim Lancaster - Southern California Railroading: the Photograph Collection of Bill Schertle

Paul Chandler - Modeling Iconic Espee Structures

Charles Lange - To be Titled (TBT)

Ken Clark - Testing that Espee Brass Steam Engine You Bought on eBay

Andrew Novak - Pictures in and around Los Angeles

Steve Crise - Pacific Electric Then and Now

John Signor - Sugar Beet Trains

Jean-Guy Dube - Indio: 1876-1930

Mike Smith - View From the Inside

Gordon Glattenberg - Rails in Southern California's Colorado Desert

Duncan Still - Los Angeles Central Station

Edwin Hall - Detailing and Painting Espee's Last Locomotive: AC4400CW #378

Joe Strapac - Beaumont Hill

Tony Thompson - Operating a Southern Pacific Layout with Prototypical Waybills

Hotel Reservations

As of July 27, 2016, the block of hotel rooms, which SPH&TS reserved at the Renaissance Palm Springs hotel, are sold out. Rooms may be available at the hotel and they will not be at the low rate which we negotiated.

Other lodging in the area:

Hilton Palm Springs 855-275-4790
400 East Tahquitz Canyon Way

Hyatt Palm Springs 760-322-9000
285 North Palm Canyon Dr.

Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs 760-325-9676
150 S. Indian Canyon Dr.

Special registrations

Do you live nearby but you are unable to attend all three days? SPH&TS is proud to announce two ways to attend at a low-cost to you.

  • Vendor room — For a low fee of $5 (cash only), you may visit the vendor room and shop for models, documentation, books, and other items. Good only from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm on Saturday September 24, 2016. Purchase your ticket that morning at the registration table.
  • One-day registration — for $50, you may access the vendor room and may attend five presentations. Good only from 8:30 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday September 24, 2016. Purchase your ticket in advance using the registration form or that morning at the registration table.

Extra Fare Events

Wednesday September 21, 2016
Tour of the Orange Empire Railway Museum - departing the Renaissance Palm Springs at 9:00 am, our destination is this famous museum, the home of equipment from Pacific Electric Railway, Southern Pacific Railroad, and other railroads. See streetcars from the Los Angeles area, freight cars, and passenger cars. Attendees should wear closed-toe shoes. While all are invited, this tour will not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act as the railroad equipment is not designed for people with mobility difficulties. Please plan accordingly. Limited to 50 people; $40 per person - maximum of two tickets.

Saturday September 24, 2016
Model Layout Tours - a list of nearby model railroads will be provided in your registration packet. This tour will be self-driving. A sign-up sheet for those interested in carpooling will be available near the registration table.

Sunday September 25, 2016
Tour of the Joshua Tree & Southern Railroad Museum - departing the Renaissance Palm Springs at 10:00 am, our destination is a live-steam railroad located near Joshua Tree. Large scale steam locomotives and diesel locomotives will carry attendees around the museum property. The museum is also the home of several pieces of actual SP equipment. Limited to 50 people; $30 per person - maximum of two tickets.

View photos from past conventions!