After two years of cancelled in-person conventions, it was great to reconnect with UPHS members and friends at the Cheyenne convention in May. To those of you who braved the pandemic-era travel restrictions, thank you for being there. Hopefully, the pandemic will continue to abate, allowing us to reconvene in July next year in Pasco, Washington. We are planning a fun convention, including rides on both the Eagle Cap Railroad (former UP Joseph Branch) and the Yakima Valley Transit (former UP electrified subsidiary short line).
With respect to the Cheyenne convention, special thanks are due to John Gray for exhibiting his magnificent live steamers, to Ed Dickens for sharing the U.P. Steam Program details with us, and to Steve Sandberg of Railroading Heritage of Midwest America for communicating his developing plans for restoring historic U.P. equipment using the ex-Rock Island shops in Silvis, IL. Restoration of locomotives 3985, 5511, and 6936, the Stanford ex-SP business car, and the Selma ex-WP business car, is no small effort; it will cost upwards of $7 million. Two anonymous donors have established large matching grants for this project that will provide $2 for every dollar you donate, potentially raising $1.5 million. If you are interested in contributing to this effort, go to https://rrhma.com/double_match/ .
At the Cheyenne convention I started in the role of President of the Society. As I look at the status of our Society: On the plus side, we produce I think a very good quarterly magazine. We offer a good-quality calendar. We have a convenient Company Store. We can put on informative and enjoyable conventions, both in-person and on-line. We receive considerable donated paper and photos of Union Pacific, and we have a relationship with the American Heritage Center at the University of Wyoming to preserve our archives. On the down side, I think we need to do better at making our archived materials accessible to the membership. We also are a bit weak with respect to the generation of UP history books; I think we should try to do better in that area.
I would be glad to hear your suggestions about how to improve the Society, just email me at email@example.com. Best regards, Rob Leachman