40 years and counting

40th Anniversary Convention  

June 18-23, 2018  

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You are cordially invited to attend the...
40th Anniversary celebration!

In celebration of our 40th Anniversary,
the BTO Club returns to Lancaster County, PA!
Click here to view or download the Convention Schedule


In the heart of Lancaster County’s Amish farmlands
Make yourself at home in one of the 125 air-conditioned rooms featuring microwave, desk, coffee maker and more. Complimentary wireless Internet access keeps you connected, with cable programming available for your entertainment. Housekeeping is provided daily. Dip into one of the 3 indoor & outdoor pools or enjoy other recreational amenities, which include a fitness center. The hotel also features an arcade/game room, coffee shop, free Wi-Fi access, free self-parking and more.
Satisfy your appetite at the hotel’s restaurant next door, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, or grab a snack to go at the bakery.
The Bird-in-Hand Family Inn is part of the Bird-in-Hand family of properties. The Smucker family invites you to create great memories while you get to know our village, taste the farm-fresh goodness of its bounty and experience the tradition of hospitality and good food that has been passed down from generation to generation.
Accommodations at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn are a special BTOC rate of only $129 per night (breakfast smorgasbord included). Contact the Inn directly at 800-537-2535 for reservations and mention the BTOC for this special room rate.

Complimentary scenic two-hour tour of Amish farmlands included with your reservation. Contact the front desk directly to make tour reservations.
40 Years Havin’ Fun Runnin’ Trains All Aboard Party!
Join the Big Train Operator Club for beer, wine and snacks at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn, as we start our 40th anniversary celebration. Renew old friendships and make new ones. Watch the trains run, wander the convention room, check out the vendors, cast your vote in the Al Lentz Contest, get your raffle tickets and more! Enjoy!
Vintage coaches pulled by a coal-burning steam engine
The Wilmington & Western Railroad was chartered in 1867 to move goods between the mills along the Red Clay Creek and the Port of Wilmington, and officially opened for freight and passenger service on October 19, 1872. Three passenger trains and a mixed freight train operated six days a week on nearly 20 miles of track between downtown Wilmington, Del., and Landenberg, Pa. Much of the line ran through the Red Clay Valley, bustling in the late 19th Century with farms, small villages and water-powered mills. In the 1880s, the line was purchased by the Baltimore & Philadelphia Railroad (B&P), a subsidiary of the Baltimore & Ohio (B&O). Today, the Wilmington & Western Railroad continues to operate regular steam- and diesel-powered tourist trains on our full 10 miles of track between Greenbank and Hockessin.
The BTOC visit to the Wilmington & Western Railroad will feature a chartered steam-locomotive ride on a full 10 miles of track between Greenbank and Hockessin, DE. Box lunch included.
The turning point in the Civil War
The Battle of Gettysburg has often been referred to as the “High Water Mark of the Rebellion.” Many consider it to be a turning point in the Civil War because the Union victory placed the Confederacy on the defensive and ended Gen. Robert E. Lee’s most ambitious attempt to invade Union territory. The Confederates never again reached the military strength they held at Gettysburg, yet the Civil War raged on for two more years.
More than 165,000 soldiers of The Army of Northern Virginia (the Confederacy), commanded by Gen. Robert E. Lee, and the Army of the Potomac (the Union), commanded by Gen. George G. Meade, fought at Gettysburg. Neither Gen. Lee nor Gen. Meade anticipated a battle at Gettysburg, but chance brought these two forces together. Union forces eventually defeated the Confederates after three days of fighting that resulted in approximately 51,000 soldiers killed, wounded, captured or missing, divided nearly equally between the two armies.
As part of the dedication ceremony, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to Gettysburg to deliver what would become known as the Gettysburg Address. In just 272 words, Abraham Lincoln defined for the North, and for all Americans, the meaning, value and price of freedom.

The BTOC visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park will feature a 2 1/2 hour guided bus tour of the Battlefield, plus a stop at the Gettysburg Museum & Visitor Center to enjoy the film and view the 1884 Cyclorama. Box lunch included.
One of the original railroad routes in the U.S.
he Northern Central Railway (NCRY) was a Class I Railroad connecting Baltimore, Maryland with Sunbury, Pennsylvania, along the Susquehanna River. Completed in 1858, the line came under the control of the later Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) in 1861. For eleven decades the Northern Central operated as a subsidiary of the PRR until much of its Maryland trackage was washed out by Hurricane Agnes in 1972. The southern part in Pennsylvania is now the York County Heritage Rail Trail which connects to a similar hike/bike trail in Northern Maryland down to Baltimore. Only the trackage around Baltimore remains in rail service. During the Civil War, the Pennsylvania Railroad controlled Northern Central served as a major transportation route for supplies, food, clothing, and materiel, as well as troops heading to the South from Camp Curtin and other Northern military training stations. In 2013, Steam into History, Inc. began operations between New Freedom and Hanover Junction, operating a Kloke Locomotive Works replica of a Civil War-era 4-4-0 American type steam locomotive.
The BTOC visit to the Northern Central Railway will include a 2-hour steam-locomotive ride through the Pennsylvania landscape from New Freedom to Hanover Junction and back, with time to tour the museum on the stopover.
Oldest, most comprehensive American railroad collection in the world
Located among Baltimore City’s historic southwest neighborhoods, at the original site of the historic Mt. Clare Shops, the B&O Railroad Museum is recognized universally as the birthplace of American railroading. It was here within the Museum’s 40-acre campus that Baltimore businessmen, surveyors, and engineers set about building the B&O Railroad in 1829, laying the first commercial long distance track, building the first passenger station, and inventing America’s unique railroad.
Nearly 200 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock provide a history of railroad technology from 1830 through the present day, with hundreds of thousands of small artifacts that provide a unique glimpse of railroading through tools, exquisite time-pieces, fine art, presentation silver, uniforms, furniture, and personal memorabilia. Additionally, an extensive collection of scale models and toy
trains illustrate America’s long fascination with trains and railroading. And the grounds of the Museum includes significant historic structures, many of which are restored.
The Museum’s Roundhouse, originally constructed as a passenger car shop, was designed by noted architect, E. Francis Baldwin. Fully enclosed, it was the largest circular industrial building in the world when completed covering more than an acre of ground and rising 125 feet into the air.

The BTOC visit to the B&O Railroad Museum will include a 2 1/2 hour guided tour, train ride and time to examine the museum’s extensive collection, the railyard, G-scale layout and more, on your own.
Box lunch included.
Explore the wonders of Lancaster County and Amish Country
Ride like the Amish do? - Visit Amish country with a real buggy ride to a private Amish dairy farm or other places. Feel adventurous? - Go zip lining or take a hot air balloon ride (it’s right across the street from the Bird-in-Hand Inn)! Want more trains? Visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and see the fully restored, historic Pennsylvania Railroad E6s Atlantic steam locomotive No. 460, or take a ride on the Strasburg Railroad. Taste a brew? There are 25 craft beer manufacturers in the area. Shopping? There are plenty of outlet stores. Want to see where the BTOC had its first convention? Visit the Red Caboose Motel & Restaurant and see where it all began. Need a roller coaster “fix”? Try Dutch Wonderland Family Amusement Park or travel to Hershey Park. Hungry? Try a Pennsylvania Dutch specialty such as a Whoopie Pie, a Fasnacht (fried donut) or a piece of Shoo Fly Pie. Visit the Kitchen Kettle Village for fun, food and shopping built around the “world famous” canning kitchen. Or the local Farmers Market where you’ll find stands overflowing with fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, flowers, herbs, baked goods, crafts, and gift items. And so much more! More suggestions will be in the Spring issue of the BTO.
Spend the day at the convention hotel with these special events
In response to comments and suggestions from members, the BTOC convention will include a special all-day Saturday celebration at the Bird-in-Hand Family Inn. No early bus departures... no rushing to get back to the hotel... just enjoy the multiple happenings at your leisure. And plenty of time to get ready for the Farewell Banquet that evening, featuring an assortment of Pennsylvania Dutch specialties.

Build-your-own-layout contest!
Set up a G-scale layout on the lawn at the convention hotel... as complex or as simple as you like and be eligible to win a fantastic prize! Enter your own layout or come out and watch the construction.

FREE Ice Cream Party!
Chocolate.... Vanilla... Strawberry... Relax and enjoy your favorite home-made ice cream flavor with all the fixings. Free for all BTOC convention attendees. PLUS, as part of the Saturday Ice Cream Party, there will be special raffle drawings for a variety of spectacular and unique prizes, donated by various G-scale manufacturers. (Must be present to win.)

BTOC Locomotive Drag Races!
Join the fun and excitement of the first official BTOC Drag Races! Enter your BTOC/LGBMRRC motor-powered vehicle (sorry, no modifications allowed) and race for prizes and the title of “BTOC Drag Race Champion”. Or watch and root for your favorite. Everyone is invited to participate!
Joe Hylva Memorial 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.

• Free Goody Bag Car
• Clinics
• Nightly Raffles
• Convention Room
• Farewell Banquet featuring a Pennsylvania Dutch Buffet
• Special door prize for all registered members
...and much more!
FREE Goody Bag Car with Registration!
This unique goody bag car produced by Hartland Locomotive Works especially for the BTOC, is a red gondola with black convention graphics and metal wheels, celebrating the 2018 40th anniversary convention. The perfect add-on to the convention set. It is only available to the first 60 registered members!
The car will be in the goody bag you’ll receive when you sign in at the convention. Sorry, only one per registered member.

REGISTER TODAY... Don’t miss out on this special, limited-edition car!

2018 Goody bag car
Get the T-shirts
Place your order when you register. Shirts will be in your goody bag which you will receive when you register at the convention. Only the number ordered by the deadline date will be produced.
PLEASE NOTE: There will NOT be any t-shirts for sale at convention!
The Bird-in-Hand/2018 Convention t-shirt is gold with black anniversary logo on the
back and a special “We are 40!” on the front. High-quality, 50% cotton/50% polyester pre-shrunk jersey knit. 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 ORDERS MUST BE RECEIVED BY MAY 1, 2018... No orders will be accepted after that date! ORDER NOW!
Pre-Order your Plymouth/2019 T-shirts now...

2019 convention t-shirts are available for pre-order with the enclosed Registration Form BUT must be received by May 1, 2018! Only the number ordered by that date will be produced. There will NOT be any additional t-shirts for sale at the Bird-in-Hand convention! The Plymouth Convention T-shirt is jade green, with dark blue convention logo on the front, and BTOC logo with “Havin’ Fun Runnin’ Trains” on the back.
Available in Women’s sizes S—3X, Men’s sizes S—5X. High-quality, 50% cotton/50% polyester pre-shrunk jersey knit.
(See Registration Form to order).
ALL SIZES: $20.00/ea.
Shirts will be in your goody bag which you will receive when you register at the Bird-in-Hand/2018 convention. NOTE: Additional t-shirts will be available for order, prior to the 2019 convention in Plymouth, MA.
Take part in the FISHPOND CHALLENGE...
One of the big challenges that we are undertaking is to set up enough track to completely surround the fish pond that is located in the back of the Inn. It was measured at approximately 1185 feet. The challenge is to bring enough track to surround the pond. We would welcome any and all attendees to bring whatever they can in the way of track. One of the limitations is that the engines must run on battery power. Be sure to mark your track with your name.

Click Here to see a video of the path around the pond.

Click here to view or download the Convention Schedule


The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train. - Robert Lowell


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