Great Northern Railway Historical Society

Welcome to the Great Northern Railway Historical Society

The GNRHS is dedicated to the preservation, study, and history of one of America's greatest railroads, the Great Northern Railway.

To Society Members, we offer carefully-researched Reference Sheets, a quarterly GN Goat publication, an annual calendar, discounts on model kits, books, CD's and other items, and an annual convention to discover all that is the Great Northern Railway.

For researchers the GNRHS Archives have historic documents and photos available on a wide range of subjects covering the Great Northern.

For a quick overview of all the GNRHS has to offer, checkout the menu at the top of the page or choose a link for more detailed information.

Latest News

Join us in Beautiful British Columbia (UPDATED)


From September 19-23, 2020, we’re holding a Joint GNRHS / CPHA 2020 convention in Nelson BC, in the beautiful and historic West Kootenays.

CLICK HERE for full convention details.

CLICK HERE for a printable registration form.

CLICK HERE for a preliminary convention timecard (subject to change)

  • This is the first GNRHS convention in Canada, the first joint convention for GNRHS, and the first ever CPHA (Canadian Pacific Historical Association) convention.
  • This is also the 50th anniversary year of “MERGER DAY”, when Great Northern ceased to exist. Nelson was the northern-most community, west of the Rocky Mountains, served by the GN at that time.
  • There is considerable mining, rail, and sternwheeler history of interest to GNRHS.
  • Nelson is the biggest city in the area with a diverse population of over 10,000 people. The legacy of the past, evident in the more than 350 preserved heritage buildings, mixes with a dynamic arts and culture scene. There are many restaurants and arts / crafts / specialty / book stores in the downtown area; as well as a thriving craft beer industry.
  • The West Kootenays have many historic small towns, and we will be visiting many of them during our bus tours.

This convention has been several years in the making. We feel we have created an excellent and varied program for our attendees. Come and learn about the very interesting and often acrimonious rail history. Meet the interesting people of the West Kootenays; they are thrilled to have us visit their towns and venues.

The convention is occurring in the third week of September, so we could have “Fall Colours” – bring your cameras!!  Enjoy meeting the CPHA attendees, who share our interest in this area.

The Prestige Lakeside Resort and Convention Centre is the centre of all activities and tours.

Click here to learn more, and look for registration info in the March Goat or click the link above!

Tom and Francina Carr,
National Convention Officer and Convention Registrar


  Posted on February 2, 2020, by

Welcome New Western Washington Members!

The GNRHS was present at the recent Boeing Model Railroad Club swap meet and enjoyed seeing current members and signing up several new ones.

If you are one of these new members, please reach out to Cordell Newby ( as he’d like to welcome you aboard and provide some information.

  Posted on November 14, 2019, by

GNRHS Calls for Board of Directors Nominations, Due Oct. 15

Our Society BOD election cycle has once again come around and Nominations for vacant Board seats are now requested. John Langlot’s term is expiring. He has been serving on the Board since 2008 and after 11 years of excellent service, he has indicated he wishes to retire and pursue his modeling interests. Tom Carr, our Secretary, was appointed to fill the vacancy left when Ben Ringnalda resigned his seat last fall. Tom has expressed his wish to stand for election as his term also expires this year. And at  July’s end, Director Scott Tanner submitted his resignation after serving three and a half years of his term. This election will be for three seats on the GNRHS Board, two six year terms and one two year term.

The BOD determines the long-term direction of the Society and is responsible for maintaining and protecting the Society’s property and management of its business and fiscal affairs. The BOD meets annually at the convention and Directors should be able to attend the annual meeting. Directors review financial and policy documents and conduct much business by email through the year and should be able to respond to email discussions promptly.

With the ongoing efforts to improve the management and operations of GNRHS announced by President McGinley in the June Goat, the job of all GNRHS Board Directors will see changes. Each Board member will assume a leadership role as Chairman of a committee overseeing one of our seven major programs. They include membership, conventions, company store, archives, publications, heritage projects (Hustle Muscle and GNRHS grants to other non-profits) and in the near future, development (fundraising). Board Committee Chairs should plan on developing materials pertinent to their program including position papers, reports and research regarding their committee’s function and operations, and to be able to lead and oversee the activities of committee members. This will assure the tying of the governance role of the BOD to the committee’s work. Other standing committees will continue to exist and will include various Directors in the makeup of the committee.

Email will continue to be a major channel for Board communications. Live video conferencing has been established for the BOD to engage in work and planning meetings outside of regular official meetings. These conferences occur quite regularly and are typically held to one hour’s duration. The Board has been evaluating a more robust on-line management software system geared to non-profits and plans to implement that strategy soon. Directors should be familiar with digital devices (computers, tablets and/or smart phones) and their associated software applications in the conduct of Society business. Orientation for new Directors will be conducted early in their terms after the election.

Any questions about the position of GNRHS Director, or application procedures, should be directed to GNRHS president, Bill McGinley, or any member of the Board of Directors.  All contact information can be found on the inside front cover of the Goat.  Nominations must be received by October 15th.  Ballots will be in the December Goat publication.  

  Posted on August 15, 2019, by


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