Edmonton - Calgary

September 6-9, 2024

Crowfoot CTrain Station on Calgary Transit’s Red Line NW. Photo by Dr. Michael Roschlau, Jan 2010.

We return to Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta for our 2024 convention, the first time since our last visit in 2006. These two cities launched the spectacular revival of light rail in North America in 1978 and 1981, respectively. Calgary’s CTrain light rail has the highest ridership per mile as well the highest daily ridership in US and Canada (yes, more than the classic light rail systems in Boston, San Francisco, and Philadelphia). Edmonton has the second highest ridership per mile of any light rail system in the US and Canada.

We are pleased to collaborate with the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation (CTHF). They have assisted us in networking with the transit systems for this convention. One of their leaders will make a presentation during the convention.

We have prepared an exciting program for this convention. Our Edmonton visit includes escorted rides over their three light rail lines over 26 miles , including the 8-mile Valley Line opened in November 2023; MacDonald light rail shop visit; the Edmonton Radial Railway Society’s (ERRS) picturesque High Level Bridge Streetcar over the North Saskatchewan River; and finally, ERRS’s heritage loop operations at Fort Edmonton Park, a faithful reconstruction of the pioneer city of Edmonton in the late 19th and early 20th Century. Our Calgary visit includes a Calgary Transit charter of their CTrain network and shop visit as well as a visit to the Calgary Heritage Park, a reconstruction of the pioneer city of Calgary, served by a restored Calgary streetcar connecting the parking areas with the park. Each of our four evenings feature presentations on historic, present, and future rail transit in Edmonton, Calgary, and around Canada.

Details follow on our outstanding hotel accommodations and program. Book now to save your space! We have space for 50 participants!

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Convention Flyer

Making Your Hotel Reservations

The Westin Edmonton

Arrival: Thursday September 5
Departure: Sunday September 8
Three Nights: September 5, September 6, September 7

Photo of the Westin Edmonton exterior from Westin Edmonton Photo Gallery. Photos around the hotel (1 of 5)
The Westin Edmonton
10135 100th Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 0N7
CANADA
780-426-3636

The Westin Edmonton Downtown is located at the center of Downtown Edmonton and close to the Central LRT station. Central station is served by all three LRT lines. The hotel is an approximately 15-minute walk to Edmonton’s Downtown riverfront parks, funiculars, and access to the Downtown lookout on the spectacular North Saskatchewan River Valley. This hotel is a member of the Marriott Points Bonvoy Rewards program.

The ERA has secured a block of rooms at the discounted rate of CA$155 (Canadian funds) plus applicable taxes(currently 12.27%) for either one king bed or two queen beds for up to two guests. The room block is available for the nights of September 5, 6 and 7, with checkout on September 8. A smaller room block is available for the nights of September 2, 3 and 4 for those arriving early for pre-convention exploring.

Hotel amenities in our ERA package include:

Booking Rooms

There are two ways to book your reservation at this hotel:

Online: Use this hotel’s Special ERA Link to book your room: Using this URL will automatically bring up the discounted rates of CA$155 per night (plus applicable taxes, currently 12.27% tax) for rooms with one king bed or two double beds. These room rates are available for the nights of September 5, 6,7, with check-out on September 8, with a more limited block for the nights of September 2, 3, and 4.

By phone: Book your reservation by either calling Westin reservations at 800-937-8461. Mention the “group reservation under the Electric Railroaders Association” rate when calling to get the CA$115 per night room rate (plus applicable taxes, currently 12.27%).

Should you encounter any difficulties making reservations, e-mail Bob Newhouser at [email protected] or call/text him at 917-482-4235.

Cut-off date for discount rate: These discounted rates expire after August 6, 2024, or whenever the ERA room block is fully booked, whichever occurs earlier. Further offers of the discount rate after August 6 are at the hotel’s discretion on a space available basis.

Check-in Time: 3 PM on day of arrival

Check-out Time: 12 noon on day of departure

Room Cancellations

You may cancel your reservation for no charge until 72 hours prior to 3 pm day of arrival, otherwise one night’s room and taxes will be charged to the credit card on the reservation. Note: If you can’t make the first night of your visit, but can make the other nights, call the hotel immediately to preserve the rest of your reservation.

Our room block is limited. If you think you will be participating in this convention, make your hotel reservations as soon as possible to secure your room. This will make it easier if the ERA needs to request additional rooms.

Reaching The Westin Edmonton from the Airport or Train Station

From Edmonton International Airport (YEG): The Westin Edmonton can be reached in about 60-70 minutes using bus route 747 from the airport to Century Park Transit Center. At Century Park Transit Center, take the Capital LRT Line from Century Park Transit Center to Central Station. From Central Station, it’s less than a 5-minute walk, going east on Jasper Avenue one block, then left (north) on 100 St NW about a block to The Westin Edmonton. Note that the 747 bus is infrequent—every 30 minutes during peak hours and every 60 minutes otherwise. Alternative taxi fares, though, are very high.

At the airport, you must buy two fares at a vending machine—one for the premium 747 bus (CA$5.00) and a second fare (CA$3.50) for the light rail train ride from Century Park Transit Center.

From Edmonton VIA (Train) Station: There is no direct public transportation between the train station and The Westin Edmonton. Take a taxi or ridesharing service to the hotel.

Making Your Hotel Reservations

Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel

Arrival: Sunday, September 8
Departure: Tuesday, September 10
Two Nights: September 8 and September 9

Photo of the Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel exterior from Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Photo Gallery. Photos around the hotel (1 of 5)
Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel
888 7TH Avenue SW
Calgary, AB. T2P 3J3
CANADA
800-SANDMAN

The Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel is located alongside Calgary light rail’s (CTrain) 7th Avenue South Transit Mall. Both of Calgary’s light rail CTrain lines, the Red and Blue lines, serve the stops either right outside of the hotel eastbound and one block away for westbound trips.

The ERA has secured a block of rooms at the discounted rate of CA$149 per night plus applicable taxes (currently 12.27%) per room per night for the nights of September 8 and 9, with checkout on September 10 as well as a smaller block of rooms for those staying for the nights of September 10, 11 or 12. All rooms offered have either one king bed or two queen beds.

Hotel amenities in our ERA package include:

Booking Rooms

There are two ways to book your reservation for the nights of Sept. 8 and 9 with check-out on Sept. 10:

Online: Click on the Sandman Hotel’s Special ERA Link to book your room. Our discounted rate is CA$149 per night (plus 12.27% tax) for rooms with one king bed or two queen beds. Book as soon as possible to lock in the ERA discount. These room rates are available for the nights of September 8 and 9. The nights of September 10, 11, and 12 may be booked on a space available basis.

Phone: You can also book your reservation by calling Sandman Hotel reservations at 1-800-SANDMAN. Guests should make sure to mention the ERA’s code “2409ELECTRIC” to receive the group rate of CA$149 per night plus applicable taxes (currently 12.27%)

Cut-off date for discount rate: These discounted rates expire after August 8, 2024, or whenever the ERA room block is fully booked, whichever occurs earlier. Further offers of the discount rate after August 6 are at the hotel’s discretion on a space available basis.

Room Cancellations

If it’s necessary to cancel this reservation, this hotel requires notification no later than 48 hours prior to your check-in date (3 p.m.) to avoid a charge for one night’s room and tax. Note: If you can’t make the first night of your visit, but can make the other nights, call the hotel immediately to preserve the rest of your reservation.

Our room block is limited. If you will be participating in this convention, make your hotel reservations as soon as possible. This will make it easier if the ERA needs to request additional rooms.

Check-in Time: 3 PM on day of arrival

Check-out Time: 12 noon on day of departure

Traveling from the Sandman Hotel to Calgary International Airport

This airport (YYC) is 21 km, or 13 miles from our hotel. Taxi trips take about 35-40 minutes. There are two options by transit:

1. Take line 202 Blue Line from the 8 St SW station on the side of our hotel (2-minute walk) eastbound to Saddletowne Station, then transfer to bus route 100 to reach the airport.

2. For a one-vehicle ride, walk to 5 St SW/7 Av SW (8-minutes walk east from the hotel from 8 St SW to 5 St SW) and board bus route 300 bus rapid transit to the airport. Frequency is about every 25 minutes.

Itinerary

The ERA has planned four exciting days of activities for you. See below!

Day 1

Friday, September 6: Edmonton Transit System

Bombardier Flexity #2006 at Quarters Station in Chinatown, the first stop in downtown on the Valley Line SE, after emerging from the tunnel leading to the bridge over the North Saskatchewan River.
Photo by Dr. Michael Roschlau, Nov 2023

Daytime. We will meet in the Westin Edmonton lobby at 8:30 a.m. so that you can check-in with the ERA tour leadership, receive your Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) Day Pass, final itinerary, and badge/lanyard to be worn at all events. At 9:00 a.m., we will be met by an ETS representative who will walk with us less than 5 minutes to Central LRT station. We will take a Clareview-bound Capital Line train to ETS’s employee access platform at D.L. MacDonald light rail maintenance facility. We will have a brief tour and opportunity for photos at the D.L. MacDonald facility. After that, the group will be escorted by ERA guides on regular service covering the Capital and Metro Lines north of Downtown Edmonton and the Valley Line. Our tour is expected to be completed by 1:30 p.m. You will have free time in the afternoon for lunch and to ride ETS services with your ERA-provided ETS Day Pass.

Evening. ERA’s Annual Banquet will be held at the Westin Edmonton Hotel’s Turner Valley Room. The cash bar opens at 6:30 p.m. A buffet dinner will be served starting at 7 p.m. and will include:

Following dinner, Messrs. Trevor Dennehy and Eddie Robar will be our banquet keynote speakers. Mr. Dennehy is ETS Director of LRT Operations. Mr. Robar is Edmonton’s Deputy City Manager of City Operations. Their presentation will cover Edmonton’s rich transit past, present, and future plans for its highly regarded multi-modal bus and light rail system.

Day 2

Saturday, September 7: Edmonton Radial Railway Society Lines / Fort Edmonton Park

Ex-Edmonton Radial Railway car 33, built in 1912 by the St. Louis Car Company, in operation on the High Level Bridge line.
Photo by Mack Male, Edmonton, AB, Canada

Daytime. We leave the Westin Edmonton at 9 a.m. on our chartered Nagel Coach and travel to Government Center opposite the Alberta Legislative Grounds by 9:30 a.m. We will spend the morning and afternoon as guests of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS). We will ride both of their historic operations. The first is the 3.8 km (2.4 mile) High Level Bridge Streetcar Line. This ride into history takes you along former Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) trackage, from Edmonton's historic Whyte Avenue, through the only tunnel ever built on a CPR mainline in Alberta, and across the North Saskatchewan River over the spectacular High-Level Bridge into Edmonton's Downtown. This line has three streetcars including one each from Edmonton, Osaka, and Melbourne. We will be able to ride at least one round trip and / or visit the Old Strathcona streetcar barn & museum, which is one of the stops. The southern terminal touches on the historic Strathcona Farmers Market and the quaint Old Strathcona neighborhood. A one-way ride on this line is 15-20 minutes long.

At approximately 11:30 a.m., we head out our chartered coach to Fort Edmonton Park. Fort Edmonton Park is named for the first enduring European post in the area of modern-day Edmonton, the park is the largest living history museum in Canada by area. The streetcars operated by the ERRS is our main reason for visiting. ERRS operates a double-tracked 1 km (0.62 mi) long streetcar line within the living history museum at Fort Edmonton Park, with stops on re-creations of 1905 and 1920 streets. Within the park, a replica of the south side streetcar barn has been constructed to house restored streetcars and the ERRS maintenance and restoration workshop. Five ERRS streetcars operate or are stored at Fort Edmonton Park, coming from Edmonton, Toronto Suburban Railway, and a Toronto PCC. Fort Edmonton Park exhibits both original and rebuilt historical structures representing the history of Edmonton. Visitors may board a fully functional steam train at the park's entrance which transports them across the length of the park to the fort, from which they proceed on foot and abstractly move forward through time by visiting the five regions of this park. Aside from the train, visitors may also ride horse-drawn carriages, streetcars, and automobiles in the appropriate eras. Rides on the train and streetcars are free with admission.

We will have approximately four hours for this visit on your own, including lunch (at your own expense) at one of the on-site establishments, riding and photographing the streetcars or the steam train, visiting the ERRS maintenance and restoration shop, or visiting the village buildings. We leave Fort Edmonton Park at 4:00 p.m. and return by our chartered coach to the Westin Edmonton Hotel at approximately 4:30 p.m. Dinner is at your own expense tonight. See Edmonton Dining Recommendations for suggestions.

Evening. We will assemble at 7:30 p.m. in the Westin Edmonton’s Turner Valley Room for a presentation by Chris Ashdown, President of the Edmonton Radial Railway Society (ERRS) to discuss the history and development of their two heritage operations and future plans.

Day 3

Sunday, September 8: Depart Edmonton for Calgary / Calgary Heritage Park

Replica streetcar #14 at Calgary Heritage Park.
Photo by Dr. Michael Roschlau, June 1997

Daytime. This morning, we check out of the Westin Edmonton Hotel. Please have your bags ready for placing on the buses starting at 8:45 a.m. We depart on our Nagel Coach at 9 a.m. sharp for our approximately 3 hours and 15-minute trip to the Calgary Heritage Park. As one of Canada's largest living history museums, Calgary Heritage Park is one of the city's most visited tourist attractions. Exhibits span western Canadian history from the 1860s to the 1950s. Many of the buildings are historical and were transported to the park to be placed on display. Others are re-creations of actual buildings. Most of the structures are furnished and decorated with genuine artifacts. We will stay at this park until 3:30 p.m., including time for lunch (at your own expense), then reboard our bus and head to the Sandman Signature Calgary Downtown Hotel. Our anticipated arrival at the hotel is 4 pm.

Calgary Heritage Park has numerous historical transportation exhibits of interest to our guests:

  • Authentic replica streetcars from Calgary's former streetcar system, Calgary Street Railway, that shuttles passengers to and from the parking lot.
  • A passenger train, drawn by one of the park's two working steam locomotives, that takes visitors around the park on a closed loop railway. Starting in 2023 a car has been added to the train that allows for access to visitors with mobility issues (i.e. special stairs and ramps). The loop includes 3 original (relocated) CPR stations where visitors can embark/disembark the train.
  • A Railway Roundhouse built in 1981, which has an operational turntable and houses various railway equipment and restored passenger cars.
  • The 2 story Gasoline Alley Museum showcasing the park's extensive antique gasoline pump, antique car and memorabilia collection.
  • A 1964 re-creation of a lake paddle steamer, S.S. Moyie, which visitors can ride around the Glenmore Reservoir. Starting in 2023 the newly rebuilt dock for the S.S. Moyie includes apparatus to allow for better access by visitors with mobility issues.
  • The Railway Prairie Town with numerous buildings, each an example of some of the types of buildings might be found in a typical town (full of furniture and other artifacts as they would have appeared), including: working smithy, bakery, hotel, grain elevator, fire station, post office, bank, mason's lodge, lumber supplier, church, prairie school, billiard hall, newspaper office and printing press, Chinese laundry, residential hospital, town hall, Northwest Canadian Mounted Police detachment office, theatre, and other shops and restaurants.
  • The Pre-Railway Settlement Village with farmhouse and typical farm buildings, animal paddocks and a planting field. There are also living examples of some of the livestock that could be found in such a place (i.e. draft horses, cattle, mules, chickens, sheep, pigs, turkeys, etc.) but it is not a petting zoo.
  • An antique midway that features working historical amusement park rides.
  • Horse-drawn wagons.
  • A Hudson's Bay Company trading fort.
  • the 1913 “The Little Synagogue on the Prairie”, moved from Sibbald, Alberta.
  • Heritage Plaza, located in front of the park gates, contains Haskayne Mercantile Block, Selkirk Grille restaurant (in the same building as Gasoline Alley), the Railway Café, the Railway Interpretative Centre, and a central park area. It was opened in 2009 and admission is free in this area of the park.

Evening. Dinner is on your own tonight. At 7:30 pm, we will assemble in the Sandman’s Great Room 1 to welcome Dr. Michael Roschlau, Strategic Advisor to the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation (CTHF), our important partner in organizing this convention. Dr. Roschlau will present an overview of the exciting history, present and future of electric rail transit across Canada as well as the valuable education and advocacy work done by the CTHF as part of its vision of “pride and passion in Canada’s transit heritage.”. Prior to his eight years with CTHF, Dr. Roschlau had a 29-year career with the Canadian Urban Transit Association (the Canadian counterpart to the American Public Transit Association), leading it for 17 years as its President and Chief Executive Officer.

Day 4

Monday, September 9: Calgary Transit

Siemens-Düwag U-2 #2023 on 7 Ave in downtown Calgary with 1912 City Hall in background. CTrain passes righ by our hotel on 7 Ave.
Photo by Dr. Michael Roschlau, June 1981

Daytime. We will depart the Sandman Signature Hotel lobby at 9:00 a.m. You will be provided with a Calgary Transit Day pass. Our first stop will be the main light rail maintenance shop of Calgary’s CTrain for a brief tour and photo opportunity. We will either be escorted or met by Calgary Transit representative(s) at the maintenance facility. Following that visit, we will tour Calgary’s CTrain lines 201 and 202, which cover four sectors of Calgary—west, northwest, south and northeast. Details of this tour are being worked out with Calgary Transit. We have requested a vintage U2 train, soon to be retired, for our trip. Exact times, routing and stops are being worked out. The tour will take place during Calgary Transit’s off-peak hours to minimize interference with regular revenue service. We anticipate the tour ending by 1:30 pm, affording guests the opportunity to grab lunch, travel and photograph the CTrain on their own. Dinner is at your own expense tonight.

Evening. For our final evening at 7:30 p.m., we will assemble in Great Room 1 in the Sandman Hotel. Mr. Chris Jordan, P. Eng, M.Sc., Manager of Transit Service Design, will make a presentation on the past, present and future plans for Calgary’s transit system. This is our last event for this convention.

Important For All Events !

  1. Please begin arriving 10-15 minutes before any scheduled trip to ensure an on-time departure. Scheduled ERA trip or event times shown in this flyer are subject to change in the final itinerary or during the trip without prior notice. Daily trip itineraries may be changed without prior notice to ensure on-time return at the end of each day. Entrance to public transit property facilities is dependent on completing arrangements with them, some of which are pending as of this printing. Announcements will be made each day to update guests on essential information during all ERA events.
  2. Take a face mask with you in the event that a specific facility requires it.
  3. Finally, do not wear sandals or flip flops for any events given our proximity to transit equipment.
Providing your phone number (and email address) on your registration form is essential. If you have any questions, please e-mail Bob Newhouser at [email protected] or call/text him at 917-482-4235.

Edmonton & Calgary Offer Far More Than Just Electric Traction !

Edmonton Sightseeing

This is just a sample of the major sites in Edmonton. If you plan to do sightseeing, consider arriving up to three days early. Our discounted hotel rates are also in effect at that time. These site descriptions come from Explore Edmonton. The High-Level Bridge Streetcar and Fort Edmonton Park are two of the city’s top attractions and part of our ERA tour. Here are others, the most iconic sights listed first:

Other activities can be found in Other Recommendations from the Westin Edmonton

Calgary Sightseeing

Below are Calgary’s most popular attractions in addition to Calgary Heritage Park, which is included in our tour:

 

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