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 Post subject: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8394
Location: Baltimore, MD
Once again, Trainweb contributor Chris Guenzler shares seemingly EVERY photo he took during his travels to, at, and from the 2014 NRHS National Convention in Arkansas--eleven separate photo gallery pages total, a couple in multiple parts!:

http://www.trainweb.org/chris/ChrisTrips.html

There's at least a taste of the NRHS Convention trips there, as experienced by the riders (and not chasers), plus ALL manner of stations, private cars, cabeese, "stuffed and mounted" steamers all over, small railroad museums, and even a couple trolleys--most of which get scant to no coverage here or elsewhere (the El Reno Heritage Trolley, anyone? You won't even recognize the P&W Stratford Car now!). I challenge anyone to peruse these pages and NOT find something to pique his/her interest, if you read this website.

An aside over a minor controversy over the NRHS Convention: I heard reports from some NRHS officers that at least one highlighted event was sold out even before tickets were offered to the registered membership, let alone to the public. Understandably, some suspicions and ire were aroused. Does anyone have pertinent facts, as opposed to rumor?


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 2:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 03, 2004 9:42 pm
Posts: 2435
Yes, Chris is famous for his very extensive and detailed trip reports, including things like where he had breakfast and what he ate. They provide some real details of the events he's been to. Also note that he's accumulated over 1 million miles of rail travel, an amazing feat.

Quote:
heard reports from some NRHS officers that at least one highlighted event was sold out even before tickets were offered to the registered membership, let alone to the public.


So who were they saying bought the tickets? The board directors? Members of the sponsoring chapter who had some sort of a top secret pre-sale? Obviously they had a reason for not adding more tickets, what was it? Limited capacity and no means to add another trip?

I have seen incidents where tickets sold out online pretty much instantly, meaning that if you got your packet in the mail, you were out of luck, but that doesn't sound like what you're saying happened here.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 3:27 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5022
There is a photo of a green Whitcomb 44-ton center cab diesel at the Galena Depot Museum in Part 2 of Chris's NRHS Convention 6/8/2014. I tried to pull up the Galena museum on the internet but no luck on their equipment. This is obviously a sister to the Whitcomb we have at HVRM and I wondered what the heritage of this Galena unit might be. Anyone have any info? Also in that part of his report, there are some photos of Erie-Lackawanna Alco diesel number 315 which Chris describes as an S-4. Not true! This is a sister to the EL Alco we have at HVRM (#310) and both are S-1 models.

Interesting reports by Chris, as usual. I am still going through them.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:04 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 522
[quote="Alexander D. Mitchell IV
An aside over a minor controversy over the NRHS Convention: I heard reports from some NRHS officers that at least one highlighted event was sold out even before tickets were offered to the registered membership, let alone to the public. Understandably, some suspicions and ire were aroused. Does anyone have pertinent facts, as opposed to rumor?[/quote]

I don't know the source of your infomation, but it's false.

One trip had only one car and sold out fast.... some people were placed on a waiting list and able to go when a second car was added.

Ticket availabilty was readily available from the nrhs web site

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:35 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8394
Location: Baltimore, MD
Heavenrich wrote:
I don't know the source of your infomation, but it's false.

Two NRHS National Representatives.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2014 6:41 pm 
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Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Heavenrich wrote:
I don't know the source of your infomation, but it's false.

Two NRHS National Representatives.

I wouldn't count on that as concrete. I'm a NRHS national representative and I promise you, we're rarely much better informed that the membership at large...

_________________
Lee Bishop


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:05 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 111
I also heard the rumors by a few folks that tickets were sold out before people could buy them. Since I was the convention chairman, I don't know how that could have happened since all tickets until convention week (we sold them on site if available during the convention) were sold through the convention registration system, or by mail if someone didn't want to use the computer system. No events sold out for several weeks, with the first being the dome seats ( I think that we could sell them at $1 million each and they would sell first) and then the Bentonville Branch trip, followed by the A&M Shop Tours. We can look at when people first sign into the system to register, and I can tell you that the folks complaining didn't try to register early, so they just had to take the pick of what was left. I also get a weekly report that looks at every event, the number of tickets sold, etc. I had them all in Springdale and can show anyone the sales patterns, and did for one person who heard the complaints. They saw that the stories were just that - stories and not facts.

For the convention, we had coach seats in air conditioned coach available for all trips, while dome and parlor were sold out. We had a few seats on the photo freight still available, as well as all of the Heritage Tours. We did shut down the tours at Branson a week before the convention, but that was because we had to have numbers for meals a week in advance. We added banquet tickets the day of the banquet, and I even ordered an additional table 15 minutes before the banquet doors opened, and it was ready to go when the doors opened.

The week before the convention, we were able to add another coach to the Bentonville Branch trip and e-mailed the 39 folks on the wait list that they had tickets available at the convention Help Desk. We were able to even sell a few seats to walk-ups.

A final comment, all ticket buyers had to be an NRHS member, or a family member, until April 15th. We did provide the opportunity for people to join, and we attracted about 35 new members that way. After April 15, people could by a ticket with just an additional service fee, but it didn't include the evening seminars, the convention guide book, and access to other activities.

I hope that helps to answer any questions folks had about how ticket sales were handled. Yes, a few people HATE that we sell tickets via the registration system since they probably still want to use telegraph, but this modern system really helps us manage capacity, speed up handling ticket sales, print tickets, and manage the convention. Also, more than 95% of those attending the convention register via the system and about 70-80% have their tickets mailed to them so they don't have to stand in line to get their tickets, a major time issue under the older system of manually issuing tickets during the convention.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 111
I had a person e-mail me directly with a question about NRHS convention registration and I thought that I would answer it here also. I was asked how we announced the convention sales.

First, we had announced in all NRHS mailings last fall that tickets would go on sale late 2013. We set up an e-mail list for anyone that wanted notified immediately when it happened (we would have liked to have e-mailed it to every NRHS member, but some chapters have refused to supply that information so we have to rely upon those that sign up for such information). The sales were announced immediately when available on the NRHS website since you access the registration system through the site, on the NRHS Facebook page, and with the e-mail list set up to announce the event. It also went out on the Twitter feed. Post cards were sent to all NRHS members announcing the ticket availability. We also included event descriptions and reminders to register in pretty much all of the membership and official mailings up until the convention. Additionally, we posted announcements on many of the rail enthusiast websites, and mentions were made on websites such as Trains Magazine and in various magazines. Finally, press releases were sent out and were picked up on many, many websites and in area newspapers.

In the past, you could buy a pre-registration that would get you advanced notice of the ticket availability. This was often done to get cash in advance to operate on, and the materials often included a list of hoped-for events. However, for the past few years, NRHS have not sold registrations a year in advance since there is a strong feeling among many that collecting money that far in advance without actually knowing what the events are is not totally honest. While most of the events would happen, it was fairly common for one or more to change. Anyone that runs an event can tell you that this is a common issue and makes advance promotions difficult.

In the past, a large percentage of those that pre-registered didn't attend, in many cases because one or more of the proposed trips were not run. When I run my own charters and events, I may announce the dates, but I don't take money until events are under contract and they are a sure go. This means that sales begin when pretty much all of the events are set, although we may be able to add an event or capacity as sales happen, often based upon these sales. For example, in Springdale, we added a coach to the Bentonville Branch trip after the A&M saw the wait list.

Hope that helps answer some questions.


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 Post subject: Re: Ticket ordering of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:00 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1440
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Bartman-TN wrote:
In the past, you could buy a pre-registration that would get you advanced notice of the ticket availability.
This was often done to get cash in advance to operate on, and the materials often included a list of hoped-for
events.
In the past, a large percentage of those that pre-registered didn't attend, in many cases because one or
more of the proposed trips were not run.
Thank you for the various explanations.
On 10/29/87, I sent a $10 check to preregister for the 1988 Tri-State Chapter NRHS Convention in North Jersey.
I was one of those who didn't attend, in my case because the ticket I wanted to buy, 1st Class on one of the trips,
was already sold out, probably to Tri-State Chapter members, when I received my order form. I learned my lesson,
and didn't waste any more money in the future. I'm glad to hear that the ordering process has been reformed.
Maybe I will be a future patron.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:05 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 522
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Heavenrich wrote:
I don't know the source of your infomation, but it's false.

Two NRHS National Representatives.


Who ? That's as accurate a citation on some on wicked pedia !!!

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:52 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8394
Location: Baltimore, MD
Heavenrich wrote:
Alexander D. Mitchell IV wrote:
Heavenrich wrote:
I don't know the source of your infomation, but it's false.

Two NRHS National Representatives.


Who ? That's as accurate a citation on some on wicked pedia !!!

Your apparent lack of faith in the persons that are supposed to be our official liaisons with the NRHS national leadership has now nudged me one step closer yet to abandoning the NRHS, at least on the national level.

Anyhow, I'm waiting for a chance to discuss with both of them their information/sources/experiences before saying anything else. It's certainly true that they could have been misinformed, but one of the major issues the NRHS has to address is communication (or lack thereof) with the membership through their representatives/Directors. (Which, no doubt, is having an impact in the current NRHS election.)


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:54 pm 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 111
It's certainly true that they could have been misinformed, but one of the major issues the NRHS has to address is communication (or lack thereof) with the membership through their representatives/Directors. (Which, no doubt, is having an impact in the current NRHS election.)[/quote]

Communications is certainly a problem within the NRHS. In many cases, the issue goes directly to some of the chapter representatives. There is a battle within NRHS between some of the chapters and the national administration. Some chapters want to control all information that goes to their members, which certainly slows down getting information to them from a national level, including conventions. During 2013, NRHS national spent more than $7000 just getting info to members to correct information sent out by some chapters and members.

A logical solution is to include an e-mail address with each member's registration and ask if they want to receive info by e-mail. The NRHS has tried to do this, but some chapters have refused to provide this information. They want all info to go through their chapter officers. Much of this goes back to the older organizational style of NRHS whereby chapters were the main contact and national was simply the coordinating body between chapters. In the past, national performed few tasks, but has recently taken on many other responsibilities.

This chapter versus national disagreement has led to there being several factions within NRHS. During the past few years, I have seen information that is clearly false being passed on by some members and chapters to their members through newsletters and private mailings. It is a shame that some of this is happening as it is not good for the NRHS or the rail preservation hobby/industry.

In this case, I have the data on the event sales for the NRHS 2014 convention that clearly shows that no event was sold out before the sales went public, and in fact, no event sold out for several weeks. I can also show that no tickets were sold to non-NRHS members until April 15, 2014. I can also show that if a person did not take advantage of the e-mail info list; didn't watch the NRHS website, Facebook page or Twitter feed; and didn't pay attention to the sales alerts provided through a number of NRHS mailings, they probably didn't get the first shot at the premium events. However, the only events that we couldn't add capacity to were the domes. We did add capacity to the shop tours and Bentonville Branch trips, the only other events that sold out quickly.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:35 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Baltimore, MD
I'm reasonably certain the event in question was the Bentonville "rare-mileage" trip, about which I heard a different member entirely say "what bunch of planners puts ONE coach on a rare-mileage trip at an NRHS Convention? You fill THAT up just with the local fans, and then two more for the rare-mileage freaks, at minimum!" I shall have to assume that was the fault of the railroad and beyond the control of the NRHS, though others wouldn't be so generous with their assumptions.

I further suspect that the second car (and more) might have been filled had it been offered in the first place. I've seen and known folks whose sole purpose in attending conventions, and their "compensation" for being a Chapter's National Director, was rare-mileage riding. I can certainly envision disgruntled folks seeing the rare mileage trip sold out, and then planning to skip 2-3 days of the convention, only to later learn of an additional coach being added. I've seen/experienced similar things myself.

(A personal aside: I joined the NRHS in the wake of their spectacular 1987 Roanoke Convention, as bigger and better things were being planned for 1988. I pre-registered for the 1988 convention as word floated that they were arranging for the use of PRR 1361 on the New York & Long Branch. I ended up hearing from sources in Altoona that no one from New Jersey had actually arranged for the necessary effort to use 1361, however. With that, I quickly converted my ten days off into a lighthouse-photography junket, going from Atlantic City to Savannah and back up the Chesapeake Bay photographing lighthouses day and night. I later joked that I had a better time than anyone who was actually at the Garden State '88 convention--the one that had one wag producing "I Survived The 1988 NRHS Convention" bumper stickers--and some folks who were there agreed.....)


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:09 am 

Joined: Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:45 pm
Posts: 111
It was the Arkansas & Missouri that set the train at one coach - we tried for more, but the branch has some sharp curves and the railroad agreed to run the trip based upon one coach only. We later were told that we might be able to add their open bench flat car, and the people on the wait list were given this information via e-mail and told that we would sell tickets to them first if this happened. In May, the A&M ran a farewell trip for their Chairman which covered the branch, and the railroad saw that two coaches could make the curves. We were told the Thursday before the convention that a second coach could be added. That evening, we e-mailed the wait list and told them that they had tickets waiting for them at the convention Help Desk. Several e-mailed back and said they couldn't make it, but most were their Monday for the tickets, with lots of e-mails thanking us for getting them the word about the second coach. We also tried to pass the word through a few mailing lists for mileage collectors to make sure those on the wait list got the word. The few tickets that weren't sold to wait list people were sold first-come, first-serve. When the train departed Springdale that morning, we actually had a few unsold seats.

Funny that some complain that we ran a trip for 65 people (became 110 with the second coach). Conventions often have ticket classes or events for fewer people. Dome seats, business car seats, and special tours often have fewer seats. NRHS conventions often don't feature rare mileage such as this, but we ran it because of the opportunity, especially with part of the branch to be abandoned soon.

Tuesday, the first day of the convention, was set up as a day of rare mileage and photo events, something not always available at NRHS conventions. It was not set up as a day of general events for the entire convention - instead aimed at those members wanting something a little different. I don't think that it is reasonable to say that we can't do a unique event because everyone can't do it. If that is the rule, then many conventions should not have run at all since many trips sell out. Think about the 1987 trips that sold out - I guess they should have not run since not everyone was able to get a ticket.

We announced the Bentonville Branch as soon as tickets were available, it took several weeks for them to sell out, and then we added more capacity when the railroad would let us. The only problem I see is that some people took too long to order their tickets. The lesson is that if you want an event, order quickly. Look at the recent NKP 765 trips that sold out in less than a day. When there is demand, the tickets will sell.

We plan to do at least one photo event in Rutland next year, and have a pretty rare mileage branch that we plan to cover. We plan to try to add capacity to it by busing in one direction and railing the other.


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 Post subject: Re: Photos of 2014 NRHS Convention and FAR more
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:42 am 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:01 pm
Posts: 1440
Location: SouthEast Pennsylvania
Bartman-TN wrote:
Communications is certainly a problem within the NRHS. In many cases, the issue
goes directly to some of the chapter representatives. There is a battle within NRHS
between some of the chapters and the national administration. Some chapters want
to control all information that goes to their members, which certainly slows down
getting information to them from a national level, including conventions.
A logical solution is to include an e-mail address with each member's registration and
ask if they want to receive info by e-mail. The NRHS has tried to do this, but some
chapters have refused to provide this information. They want all info to go through
their chapter.
In the past, one of the perks of being a Chapter official, especially the one who
received the mail, was to get 1st crack at news of trips run by others, even if they
competed with your own chapter's activities.
To justify paying Chapter dues on top of National dues, there should be an additional
benefit. If a member can get National news before the Chapter can decide to distribute
it, why should the member continue to pay Chapter dues?


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