LaPlata Railroad Days 2020!!

The second LaPlata Railroad Days is in the books and all went very well. This year we had 70 guests from all over. It was a great time to re-connect with old friends and make new ones, all while watching trains.

Guests started arriving on Thursday morning via train, plane, car and RV. Many of them were APRHF members. Once the RV’s got set up, we went over some ideas about how to set up the RV camping areas and then everyone went to eat at D’Abolengo’s just up the street. Dinner was great.

After that it was time to go visit the Amtrak station for #3 and wave to our virtual guests via the Virtual Railfan Cameras. Those cameras are the reason this event was started. The online chats for each camera build friendships and a community if you will. The only problem is many do not get a chance to meet in person. This event allows for that on a bigger scale. With that said, many of the VR family have met each other at many of the cam locations.

It’s Friday and more guests are arriving. Some are setting up camp sites, some checking into the hotels, and some are already watching trains of course. Also that morning the Hot Dog lady was setting up for lunch and she was busy. The food was perfect for the great weather that we were all enjoying. After lunch some of the guests went out to shop in the Amish stores and some went fishing. The rest of us watched trains and shared stories and laughs. Friday night came and it was back to D’Abolengo’s for some and the hot dog lady for others.

Saturday is the main day for the event with everyone here and one more guest arriving by train in the AM. Oh yes we all went down to meet him. After his arrival, a friend took him to the hotel. Today had everyone everywhere. Train Station, cruising around the countryside, etc, etc. We had a little rain this afternoon. It was short and set things up for a perfect evening to enjoy the band “Fully Loaded”. Everyone returned in time to enjoy some great music and a few beverages. Mike Cyr and I got a moment to address the crowd. Mike spoke about the new cams Ft. Madison (FMD) and Galesburg (GBB) and the millions of minutes and folks who watch all the cams daily. I spoke about the history of the APRHF and covered the forming of the VR community. In 2017 the VR cams came to town and a new community online that is about the population of the actual town. Through this community, friendships were made, people became extended family, and many have traveled this country to meet their new friends before this event. This is just another opportunity to put a face with a name, get to know each other, share some laughter, hugs and maybe tears. The only thing that will for sure happen when you are new to the group and you show up at this event, you will get introduced to everyone and welcomed in. That is what it is all about! The band entertained all of us well into the night and ended the concert with a great acapella version of the star spangled banner.

We had an artist show up from Quincy. He spent most of his time doing paintings of the area. He also had quite the display. He said he found our event via facebook and just decided to come over. Jamie Green was his name. JGCARTOONS@GMAIL.COM. He had a great time and sold a few paintings.

Each year we learn something new. We are always trying to find the balance between structured and free time to do what you want and promote visiting other railfan spots, businesses, etc.

In the end, it was a great time and a much needed event to help the APRHF move forward on their Lookout Point Project. All ideas that were tossed to us are noted. We welcome the new members we received over the weekend also.

Below are a few event photos.

The Amtrak Station was a popular gathering spot for the event guests.
Caught Justin and Mike at the Gibbs station replica at the entrance of the park. Kathy and Caleb were also there taking a moment for a phone conversation.
Lookout Point Park from the air.
Virtual Railfan has arrived!!
A UP stack train rolls past the park. This view also gives you a view of the Lookout Point, Trainparty.com/APRHFstore.com, Amtrak station, and some of the Silver Rails Vineyard.
“Fully Loaded” is setting up for the Saturday night concert. Guests are also getting set up for this fun evening.

Toot toot until next year. Go ahead and mark your calendars June 18th-20th will be our time to gather again. Until then, the APRHF will continue to improve and build in the park while you all have fun watching trains online and in person all over the USA. If you would like to join the APRHF or donate please click here.

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Paul "Pellaz" Cashman
2 months ago

Great write-up, Bob and wonderful photos! Now, of course, I really WANT to come next year…and this time hopefully other stuff won’t interfere.

Don Root
Don Root
2 months ago

Looking forward to June 2021, to renew friendships made this year and in prior APRHF / VRF events, and seeing the improvements at the Park!

Duane Lundgren
Duane Lundgren
2 months ago

We enjoyed the visit and meeting everyone. This may turn into an every-year event for us!! To Bob & Amy and all the others who played a part in the endless details of organizing, we Thank You!!

Bill Barr
Bill Barr
2 months ago

Gail and I had a GREAT time again this year.Thanks so much for hosting this event! We’ve been coming to La Plata since 2006 …(Our home away from home)….since pretty much right after in Depot Inn was built. It’s been fun to watch Bob and Amy’s dream come together! Keep up the great work!

John Wilke
John Wilke
2 months ago

Bob, it was my pleasure to meet you. Thanks for taking time to personally explain the mission and progress APRHF is accomplishing as it works toward its goals.