Saturday, September 3
Arrive early! Then join us this evening at the Crystal City Marriott’s Chesapeake Salons A-B for two outstanding presentations: (1) a slideshow by Jerry Kelly of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, one of two museum visits planned during this convention; and (2) author John DeFerrari presenting his book Capital Streetcars: Early Mass Transit in Washington, released in 2015 and available online from Amazon.com. Doors open at 7:15 PM with our featured program starting at 7:30 PM after a brief welcome by the ERA board of directors.
Breakfast is available starting 6:30 AM You will receive a breakfast ticket for each day of your stay which you must present to receive your complimentary breakfast. From today through September 6, the ERA group will have its own dining hall separate from the restaurant, Chesapeake Salon A (other days, go to the restaurant). Our breakfast buffet is the same as the one that is available at the restaurant. Those of you with spouses who elect not to travel with the ERA group on a particular day may enjoy breakfast at the Marriott Restaurant until 10:30 AM each morning.
Sunday, September 4
Our chartered motor coaches will leave the hotel at 8:00 AM sharp headed for Norfolk, Virginia.
- MacArthur Center – We will arrive shortly before lunch and stop at the MacArthur Center mall in downtown Norfolk. The mall hosts 140 stores and an extensive food court for lunch. After eating, our main objective will be to ride The Tide.
- The Tide (Norfolk, Va.) – Your fare for the day includes a day pass for The Tide, Hampton Roads Transit’s new light rail line. The Tide stops right outside the MacArthur Center Mall and travels 7.4 miles between Eastern Virginia Medical Center and Newton Road at the border of Virginia Beach. The line is served by a fleet of Siemens S70 light rail vehicles and has connections to Hamptons Roads Transit buses at all stops. Your day pass will also be valid on Hampton Roads Transit buses and the Elizabeth River Ferry. You won’t want to miss the view from this iconic paddlewheel ferry as it makes the half-hour round trip between Norfolk and Portsmouth!
- Dinner and Return – At around 4:00 PM, we will be picked up by our chartered motor coaches and return to the hotel, with a dinner stop en-route. We should be back at the hotel by 9:00 PM
Monday, September 5
We will leave the hotel at 8:00 AM via chartered motor coaches for our first two stops:
- National Capital Trolley Museum (Colesville, Md.) – Incorporated in 1959, this museum has six cars from the D.C. area ranging from a 1898 car to a PCC. It features an international fleet of cars from Berlin, Düsseldorf, The Hague, Toronto, New York City, Brussels and Blackpool. We plan to charter cars to ride and for the enjoyment of members.
- Lunch at Union Station (Washington) – We will be dropped off at Union Station for our lunch stop. Union Station is a Beaux-Arts national historic landmark conceived by famous master architect Daniel Burnham (who also designed the Mall). Union Station opened in 1908 and was rededicated in 1988 after a three-year, $188 million restoration. The station is cited as one of the nation’s most successful examples of adaptive reuse through a public-private partnership. It hosts the services of Amtrak, Maryland’s MARC and Virginia Railway Express commuter trains, Washington Metro trains underneath and intercity and charter buses behind the station in an off-street structure. There are also plenty of restaurants to choose from as well as photo opportunities of this magnificent building. With 210,000 square feet of retail space, Union Station offers full-service restaurants and small eateries to well-known national chains such as Johnny Rockets, Shake Shack, Starbucks and Au Bon Pain.
- Washington Metro Silver Line (Fairfax County, Va.) – After lunch, we will re-assemble downstairs at the Metro’s subway station and travel the length of the new Silver Line into Virginia on regularly scheduled service. Phase 1 of the Silver Line Expansion extends 11.7 miles with five new stations from Falls-Church Station on the Orange Line to Wiehle-Reston East Station. This line is the nation’s newest heavy rail rapid transit extension and opened for service on July 26, 2014. Phase 2 of the Silver Line expansion (scheduled to be finished in 2018) will add six new stations and extend the Silver Line another 11.5 miles to Washington Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.
- WMATA SmarTrip Card – You will receive a SmarTrip Card with $8.00 in fares loaded on it for travel on the WMATA system. These fares are sufficient for today’s itinerary. You will be able to re-load the card if you stay in the region after the convention ends. We will ride from Union Station to the end of the Silver Line at Wiehle-Reston East Station with opportunities for photo stops. We will return by Metro back to the hotel before 6:00 PM to allow time to relax before the 2016 Annual Banquet.
Monday Evening, September 5
ERA’s 2016 Annual Banquet will be held in the Potomac Salon D at the Crystal City Marriott. An hour-long informal reception and cash bar will begin at 7:00 PM, and dinner will follow promptly at 8:00 PM Our keynote speaker this evening will be Zachary M. Schrag, professor of history at George Mason University, who will show slides from his outstanding book Great Society Subway: A History of the Washington Metro. Professor Schrag’s book is available in paperback for purchase online at Amazon.com. It promises to be a lively evening!
Tuesday Morning, September 6
This is the final day of the convention! For guests leaving today, please settle your charges with the hotel. Your luggage can be stored in the bus baggage compartments. We will leave the hotel at 8:00 AM via charter motor coaches. We will visit and ride on three traction facilities today:
- DC Streetcar – We will take a one-way ride on regularly scheduled service on one of the nation’s newest streetcar systems, the H Street/Benning Road line. The line extends 2.4 miles from just east of Union Station east through Capitol Hill East on H Street and Benning Road to a terminal at Oklahoma Avenue. The line has eight stations and is served by six low-floor streetcars of similar design, three from Inekon and three from United Streetcar of Oregon.
- Baltimore Light Rail – Our chartered motor coaches will pick us up at Oklahoma Avenue and drop us off at the southernmost terminal of the Baltimore Light Rail. Starting at Cromwell/Glen Burnie Station, we will travel the 27-mile, 30-station length of this picturesque line to Hunt Valley Towne Center Mall. The line, which has been operational since the early 1990s, features a variety of operating environments including private right-of-way, river crossings and extensive street running in downtown Baltimore.
- Lunch at Hunt Valley Towne Centre – Lunch will be at the Hunt Valley Towne Centre mall adjacent to the Hunt Valley light rail station. The 50-store outdoor mall hosts several national dining chains including Subway, California Pizza Kitchen, Chick Fil-A, Panera Bread and about a dozen other restaurants.
- Baltimore Streetcar Museum – Our chartered motor coaches will pick us up and take us to the museum. It was founded in 1956 and operates one mile of double-track right-of-way. The museum’s collection includes 13 historic Baltimore streetcars ranging from a horse car to the last PCC car, three Philadelphia streetcars, several buses and trackless trolleys. You will have approximately 2.5 hours to ride and photograph the streetcars there, enjoy the different exhibits and visit the museum gift shop.
Tuesday Evening, September 6
Our chartered motor coaches will leave the Baltimore Streetcar Museum at 4:30 PM and take us to Camden Yards Station in downtown Baltimore (note the additional stop options below).
- MARC Camden Line – We will board a MARC train (Maryland Regional Commuter) operating on the Camden line and ride it between Camden Yards and Washington Union Station. This 39-mile diesel-hauled service traces its heritage to the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as far back as 1835, making it one of the nation’s oldest railroads. It is a treat for railfans to ride this line as it operates during weekday peak-only periods, unlike its busier cousin, the Penn Line.
- Virginia Railway Express – For the final leg of our journey, we will board the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) at Union Station for the short trip from Union Station to the Crystal City Marriott. We should return around 7:00 PM, concluding our 2016 convention.
Early Departure – For those who wish or need to leave the tour earlier on Tuesday afternoon from Baltimore, our motor coaches will make additional stops at Baltimore’s Pennsylvania Station at approximately 5:00 PM and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport by 5:45 PM Please ensure that you allow sufficient time between these arrival times and departures of your scheduled train or flight. We have scheduled ample time to meet these arrival times, however the ERA is not responsible for any significant delays due to traffic or weather.