Great Northern Railway Historical Society

2018 Bellingham Convention Info

Late Registration is still available. Apparel and Cups are no longer available. The Saturday Sunset Boat Tour is Sold Out.

Welcome to Bellingham, Washington for the 2018 GNRHS convention, September 15 to 19. There will also be an optional Post Convention Tour September 20 to September 22.

The 2018 convention will focus on the history of the Great Northern in the upper Washington state and British Columbia with tours and presentations. The usual staples of the GNRHS convention; the railfair, banquet, raffle and a new Model Display are also part of the great line-up we have this year.


Presentations will cover GN's Coast Line, the GN in the Fraser Valley and in Vancouver DC, modeling GN signaling and GN Locomotives and Freight Equipment and much, much more.


We kick off on Saturday with a great line-up of tours with the Bellingham Rail History Sites and Routes rail tour. This tour will explore the interior and coastal routes of the major GN railway precursors (the Fairhaven and Southern and Seattle and Montana Railroads) into Bellingham from the south. On the way south, we will view the preserved Blanchard GN frame depot and the site of the Colony Mill. Show more...

On Saturday we also offer a non-rail tour of the Historic Fairhaven District: Tour the historic Fairhaven District of Bellingham with a choice of activities including ceramic painting or glass fusing, shopping, book stores, clothing and jewelry shops, and local artists’ craft boutiques. Show more...

In the evening we'll have a tour that will appeal to most: Bellingham Bay Sunset History Tour by Boat. This two-hour boat trip tour, beginning just before sunset, will explore the major industrial, rail and historic sites along Bellingham Bay viewing the coastline from the water. This trip may provide an opportunity to view a variety of Puget Sound marine life. A chicken dinner will be provided on the boat and an open cash bar will be available.

On Monday we'll have a non-rail tour giving A Taste of Whatcom County Crafts. This tour will visit Mountain Glass Studio, a local glass works, to observe a glass-blowing in action. Bellewood Acres, a local orchard and distillery, will be next on your itinerary where you will have a tour of the orchard and packing plant operations; you will be able to pick 3 apples on the tour to take with you. A soup, salad, lunch buffet will be served. Show more...

On Tuesday we'll have an exciting Cross-Border Rail Tour taking us into Canada. This day-long, lunch and dinner inclusive, tour starts at the restored former Great Northern Depot in White Rock BC, which now houses the City of White Rock Museum and Archives. There will be a presentation in the museum as well as a walking tour on the promenade along the former Great Northern (now BNSF) mainline between Seattle and Vancouver BC. Show more...

On Wednesday we have a non-rail tour planned to La Conner for shopping and visiting the Pacific Northwest Quilt Museum. La Conner has become a mecca for artists and is home to a small fishing fleet. The main street features many boutiques offering the work of local artists and other esoterica of the Pacific Northwest. The morning will be devoted to exploring or shopping. Show more...

Download the Detailed Tour Information Sheet for all details on the tours.

Please see the preliminary Convention Timecard for the times of the tours and presentations (subject to change).

Post Convention Tour Thursday, September 20 to Saturday September 22.

CANCELLED. We regret that we have had to cancel this tour due to low interest. Those who had already registered for this tour will be given a refund.

This tour takes us to the West Coast Railway Association’s Heritage Park in Squamish, BC. Upon arrival, you will be served a lunch in the station and spend the afternoon touring their extensive facility. Dinner and an evening presentation will take place in the CN Roundhouse Conference Centre which also houses the famed Royal Hudson Locomotive. While at the Heritage Park, you will see the newly restored and repainted Great Northern transfer caboose that formerly worked in the yard at New Westminster, BC. Show more...


Our convention headquarters will be the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham hotel.

Please see the Hotel Information Sheet for more information and how to reserve.


Please see the Banquet Information Sheet for this year's dinner choices.


Register Online (sign-in first) or mail in the convention registration form included in the March issue of the Goat. This form is also available for download . Registration closes August 15. Late registration and registration at the convention will be available. See the registration form for details.


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