Every five years or so, Winnipeg plays host to the NMRA Thousand Lakes Region annual convention. The next one will be in the city May 28-30, 2010.
Called Steam on the Prairies, the convention will feature clinics; tours of 15 or more local home and club layouts (including the CP Rail M & M Sub.); and a railfan trip to nearby Portage la Prairie, where the CPR and CN transcontinental mainlines cross at grade. (Rated by Trains magazine as one of North America's 10 best railfanning locations; see photos at www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7TjFf3TKg4.)
The crossing at Portage la Prairie
There will also be an opportunity to ride the Prairie Dog Central (http://www.pdcrailway.com/), one of the oldest regularly scheduled vintage operating trains in North America. The train is pulled by a beautifully restored 1882 4-4-0 steam locomotive.
The Prairie Dog Central
The convention also includes a BBQ and rides on Bill Taylor's Assiniboine Valley Railway, a 1:8 scale "backyard" layout (see more at www.swedenfreezer.com/avr/index.htm). There will also be two operating sessions.
A freight train on the AVR.
An AVR "passenger" train.
For more information about Steam on the Prairies, go to www.thousandlakesregion.org/pages/conventions.html.