Big Train Operator Club

2020 Saint Louis Convention  

June 22-27, 2020  

Magazine Home Current Issue Previous Issues Back Issues Change of Address Deadlines How to Submit Content Contact the BTO Editor

2020 Convention
2020 Conv. Car
Recruit a Buddy
Join the Club
How We Started
Contact Us
Meeting Minutes
Club Bylaws
2019 Budget
Drawing Winners
Large Scale Links
Local Clubs
Renew Online
Member Directory
Change of Address

*EVENT CANCELLED - click for details

 2020 BTO Club Convention


Monday - June 22, 2020
All Aboard Party

The traditional start of the BTOC convention! View the convention room for the first time... check out the dealer tables... watch the trains run as the “Build-your-own-lay­out” contest takes center stage... check out the great raffle prizes and buy your tickets... purchase the conven­tion “add-on” car, off color goody bag car or convention load... or just sit and visit!
• cheese and crackers
• veggies and dip
• toasted ravioli
• wings
• spanakopita
• St Louis ribs
• Famous Gooey Butter Cake
... cash bar


Tuesday - June 23, 2020
Transportation Museum w/BBQ lunch

The National Museum of Transportation (NMOT) is a pri­vate, 42-acre transportation museum in Kirkwood, Missouri, outside St. Louis. Founded in 1944, it restores, pre­serves, and displays a wide variety of vehicles spanning 15 decades of American history: cars, boats, aircraft, and in particular, locomotives and railroad equipment from around the United States. The museum is also home to a research library of transportation-related memorabilia and documents.
At the southwest corner of the property is West Barretts Tunnel. Built in 1853, it is one of a pair of tunnels that were the first to operate west of the Mississippi River. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.
The museum has its own railway spur to an active main line formerly owned by the Missouri Pacific Railroad, now by the Union Pacific Railroad. This has allowed the mu­seum to take possession of large and unusual pieces of railroad equipment. A miniature railroad operates around a loop of track near the parking lot and a full-sized re­stored trolley.
Kendrick’s BBQ lunch included.


Wednesday - June 24, 2020
Union Station w/lunch

The station opened on September 1, 1894, and was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Lou­is. The station was designed by Theodore Link, and in­cluded three main areas: the Headhouse and the Midway, and the 11.5-acre Train Shed designed by civil engineer George H. Pegram. The headhouse originally housed a hotel, a restaurant, passenger waiting rooms and railroad ticketing offices. It featured a gold-leafed Grand Hall, Ro­manesque arches, a 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. The clock tower is 280 feet high.
The station was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970, as an important surviving example of large-scale railroad architecture from the late 19th century.
Opening first quarter 2020! A 120,000-square-foot St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is located in the former mall area. Come See The Sea! Your journey through the St. Louis Aquarium starts along a freshwater river and the shallow waters of a salt marsh, then moves into the deep, dark abyss of the ocean open.
The two-story, 120,000-square-foot aquarium features over 13,000 animals in more than 1 million gallons of water, sourced from local waterways. Including a spe­cial “J”-shaped window for the exhibit that will house the roughly 60 sharks and rays. The special window will en­able guests to view the animals as they swim overhead.
Guided tour and voucher lunch included.


Trolley Tour of Downtown St. Louis

Come and see the colorful history of St. Louis. Take a trip back in time and see how St. Louis came to be. Ride in an authentic trolley with a tour guide as they show you how life was from the 1800’s on to the present. You will see many wonderful places that will help you plan your days in this fabulous city. All trolleys are air conditioned with comfortable padded seats and completely enclosed with huge windows for the best view possible.
Here’s just some of the highlights of what we’ll see, learn about, be surprised by and laugh about along the way: Union Station - Peabody Opera - Scott Trade Center - City Gardens - Old Courthouse - Arch - Riverfront - Lacledes Landing - Busch Stadium - Ballpark Village - Farmers Market - AB Brewery - Lafayette Square - Old Post Office - City Museum - Garment District - New Library


Thursday - June 25, 2020

Start making your plans now. Contact the St. Louis Tourism Bureau at to receive a FREE issue of the Official St. Louis Visitors Guide or visit More details in the Spring issue of the BTO.


Friday June 26, 2020
Grant’s Farm w/lunch

Grant’s Farm is a historic farm and long-standing land­mark in Grantwood Village, Missouri, built by Ulysses S. Grant on land given to him and his wife by his father in law Frederick Fayette Dent shortly after they became married in 1848. The property is now owned by the Busch family, who owned the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company for many years until it was sold to InBev in 2008.
Grant’s Farm celebrates America’s past with a commit­ment to the future. Honoring both the 18th president of the United States and the Busch family legacy The farm offers visitors many activities, from touring the land and seeing the animals to attending the shows and dining or browsing for souvenirs in the gift shop.
The Farm is a refuge for more than 900 animals, repre­senting more than 100 different species plus the icon­ic Budweiser Clydesdales and many more. Also on the farm is the Busch family mansion, and a house in which Ulysses S. Grant resided between the Mexican and Civil Wars—White Haven. Grant’s cabin was featured at the 1904 World’s Fair. White Haven, next door to Grant’s Farm, the Busch family estate, is now a national historic site: the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.
Farm’s grilled lunch included with two beers or soda.


Terminal Railroad Railyard Tour

The T.R.R.A. was created in 1889, in order to create a secure method of efficiently interchanging passenger and freight traffic over the Mississippi River. NThe ORIGINAL railroads with ownership in the T.R.R.A. were the Mis­souri Pacific, St. Louis, Iron Mountain & Southern, Wa­bash Railroad, the Ohio & Mississippi Ry., the Louisville & Nashville, and the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry.
The railroads with ownership in T.R.R.A. today include:
Union Pacific (UP), BNSF Railway (BNSF), CSX Transpor­tation (CSXT), Canadian National (CN) - Formerly Illinois Central (IC) and Norfolk Southern (NS)


Saturday June 27, 2020
‘Mighty Mississippi River’ Boat Ride

Catch some of the best views of the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis on a fascinating 2.5 hour riverboat tour. See the Gateway Arch from a different point of view as you relive the days when steamboats ruled the river.
Discover the mighty Mississippi’s important role in Amer­ica’s past and the present-day on this two-hour cruise along St. Louis’ working downtown riverfront, narrated by the captain or a National Park Service (NPS) ranger.
Chartered boat ride with light lunch included. Cash bar.


Farewell Banquet

Always the special highlight of the annual convention, the Farewell Banquet offers a delicious plated dinner,
featuring your choice of beef, chicken or vegetarian with dessert. Plus, door prize drawing for all registered members, the Joe Hylva Trivia Contest finals, announcement of the Al Lentz Award winner, special raffles and more.


Joe Hylva Trivia Contest
Enter the “World Famous” BTOC trivia contest and test your general train knowledge against other club members, with a chance to win great prizes!

Al Lentz Award Contest
Show off your modeling/kit bashing skills or enter any G-scale related item, and win a prize! Winner chosen by popu­lar vote of members.

Drag Races
Back by popular demand... with new rules for more entries and more excitement.

• Free Goody Bag Car
• Clinics
• Nightly Raffles
• Convention Room
• Farewell Banquet with plated dinner choice.
• Door prizes for all registered members

...and much more!


Your registration includes a FREE goody bag convention car for the first 50 registered members only! (limited to one car per registered member)

Order a BTOC St. Louis Convention t-shirt!

Use the Registration Form.
Only the number ordered by the deadline date will be produced. Shirts will be available with your goody bag which you will receive when you register at the St. Louis convention. Please note: There will NOT be any additional t-shirts for sale!
The St. Louis/2020 Convention t-shirt is Heather
Grey with dark blue graphics High-quality, 100% pre-shrunk cotton.

Available in Women’s sizes S—3X and Men’s
sizes S—5X. (See Registration Form to order).
All sizes just $20.00/ea.

T-SHIRT ORDER DEADLINE IS MARCH 31, 2020... No orders can be accepted after that date!




Now available for pre-order... wear them proudly and
advertise our 2021 celebration in Cleveland, OH!
Only the number ordered by the deadline date will be produced. Shirts will be in your goody bag which you will receive when you register at the St. Louis convention. There will NOT be any additional t-shirts for sale!
Please note: Additional t-shirts will also be available for order prior to the 2021 celebration.
The Cleveland/2021 Convention t-shirt is Dark Green with white graphics High-quality, 100% pre-shrunk cotton/polyester blend.

Available in Women’s sizes S—3X and Men’s
sizes S—5X. (See Registration Form to order).
All sizes just $20.00/ea.

T-SHIRT ORDER DEADLINE: March 31, 2020... No orders will be accepted after that date!




A special BTOC convention rate of $149.00/per night,
includes breakfast and free parking. Room rate is good for 2 nights before and 2 nights after convention. You must mention the BTOC when making reservations directly through the hotel.

A stay at Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel St. Louis places you in the heart of Maryland Heights, just a 25 minute drive from downtown St. Louis. Make yourself at home in one of the 210 air-conditioned rooms featuring flat-screen televisions. Wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and cable programming is available for your entertainment. Bathrooms have designer toiletries and hair dryers. Conveniences include phones, as well as desks and complimentary weekday newspapers.

Don’t miss out on recreational opportunities including a health club and an indoor pool. Additional features at the hotel include concierge services, and a ballroom. Enjoy a meal at the restaurant, or stay in and take advantage of the hotel’s room service (during limited hours). Wrap up your day with a drink at the bar/lounge. Featured amenities include a business center, express check-out, and complimentary newspapers in the lobby. A round-trip
airport shuttle is complimentary at scheduled times.


• 24-hour front desk
• ATM/banking
• Bar/lounge
• Business center
• Concierge services


• Dry cleaning/laundry
• Free WiFi
• Indoor pool
• Porter/bellhop
• Restaurant
• Smoke-free property

Sheraton Westport Plaza
900 Westport Plaza
St Louis, MO 63146

Convention Room rate--$149.00

Dial the hotel direct at 314-878-1500 and mention the Big Train Operator Club convention.

Book your hotel reservations online with this link: Room Reservations Sheraton Westport Plaza Hotel

Possible convention events include a visit to the St. Louis Transportation Museum, Union Station, terminal railroad and hump yard, garden layout tours and more. Plus an All Aboard Party and a Grand St. Louie Banquet.

Order your convention car set before they sell out!

Future Meeting Dates


Cleveland, Ohio
June 21-June 26
Host Hotel - Holiday Inn Cleveland South


Saint Louis, Missouri
Details TBA

Nothing was more up-to-date when it was built, or is more obsolete today, than the railroad station. - Ada Louise Huxtable


Copyright ©2005-2020 Big Train Operator Club
™All manufacturer trademarks are property of their respective owners

Comments regarding this web site should be directed to