Liberty Bell 2019 News

Submitted by Chip Stevens/Philly Division, NMRA

The baseball season has started, in some parts of the region the grass is greening and yard work is fast approaching. And all over the region, Liberty Bell 2019 is also fast approaching. We’ve been busy on your behalf readying a memorable fall get-together. The clinic schedule is filled, 41 layout owners have agreed to sponsor open houses, and several operating sessions have been scheduled. There is still room for layout owners outside the Philly division who want to open their layouts for travelers to let us know their intentions to rest weary travelers. Those interested should email Bill Fagan at wfagan@comcast.net. There is also ops information available on the convention website at libertybellspecial.org. Note, you can sign up for automatic updates on the convention status on the site.

In our last communication, we described the extensive, behind the scenes Saturday trip available on the former Reading branch now called the Colebrookdale Railroad. This all-day trip will demonstrate everything from locomotive startup through duties of the various crew members and will include opportunities for photo run-bys. Sign ups for this trip are on the convention website at libertybellspecial.org. Please note, there is a capacity limitation for this trip, so register early.

Remember that the host hotel has extended their room rate discount to attendees due to the Columbus Day holiday on the Monday after the close of the convention. With this in mind, there are a couple of NON-NMRA SPONSORED/NON-NMRA ENDORSED attractions will available to attendees after our wrap-up Sunday morning. The historic Norfolk & Western (Norfolk Southern) steam engine #611 will be offering trips under steam Sunday and Monday on the Strasburg Railroad. We have reserved a block of discounted tickets for the Sunday afternoon trip which is available through the convention registration page. Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for children. Please note, this reservation must be made by July 31, 2019 as the remaining tickets must be returned to the railroad on August 1st. Strasburg is approximately 65 miles west of the convention hotel. Also situated at Strasburg is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, dedicated primarily to the Pennsylvania Railroad, but of major interest to all train enthusiasts. More information on either of these attractions can be found at www.strasburgrailroad.com and rrmuseumpa.org. In a different direction, weekend operations are scheduled on the Reading and Northern Railroad and the Lehigh Valley Gorge Railroads.

As you can see, we have a lot planned at the convention and there are many opportunities to have a total railroad experience while you are in Pennsylvania. As we said before, all roads lead to King of Prussia!

Colebrookdale RR Tour Added to Liberty Bell Convention

Submitted by Chip Stevens/Philly Division, NMRA

We’ve been battling the cold weather as many of you have been recently, but we have made good progress on Liberty Bell 2019 scheduled for October 2019.

Our clinic schedule has begun to gel. We have a great list of speakers and subjects committed to us or penciled into our draft clinic schedule which will be published later this spring. The highlight so far is a seminar about The Hot Rod Chicken. No, it’s not barbecues nor car racing, but the description looks intriguing. We have also had several well-known manufacturers volunteer to do “Make and Take” clinics carrying a small charge for materials.

But the biggest development firmed up is the Saturday, October 12th Day on the Colebrookdale Railroad. The railroad was a branch line of the former Reading Railroad. Our tentative plans are to meet at the Boyertown, PA yard at 9 AM to review the days plan. We will then have a locomotive tour and go through the actual start up process for a day’s locomotive work. Next, we’ll have an abbreviated explanation of the conductors and brakeman’s duties followed by an Initial Terminal Test and Inspection walk of our train and a crew meeting.

After boarding a passenger coach, there will be a raffle for tickets giving the winners an actual cab ride during the day’s trip. Three photo run by’s are scheduled prior to lunch in the dining car. After arrival in Pottstown, PA, a run-around is slated with a Continuity test scheduled prior to the start of the return trip to Boyertown. There is an additional photo op scheduled during the return trip which should reach Boyertown by 3 PM., in time for the Saturday night banquet. One of our division members is working with the railroad to add additional features to this exciting day. Cost information for this trip should be on the Liberty Bell website by the time you read this summary. Work is under way on additional tours, but so far, this is my favorite.

For updates and additional activities and convention and hotel reservations, please visit the Regional websites LibertyBellSpecial.org, MER2019.org, or LibertyBellSpecail2019.org regularly.