History of Vanrail.
Vanrail grew out of Prorail, an annual invitation-only meeting, devoted to prototype-based operations on layouts with a mature operating scheme. The Prorail website (http://www.prorail.org ) gives more details, and lists the regions of North America where Prorail meetings have occurred, year by year.
A bid to hold a Prorail meeting in the Pacific Norwest was redirected into a regional satellite meeting, adhering to the Prorail standards. Thus Vanrail was born.
The first meeting, called Vancouver Miniprorail was held in August of 2002. Six guests attended (many with their spouses), from New Jersey, Texas, Arizona, California and Washington State, and the Holiday Inn in North Vancouver was the meet hotel. Five layouts were available, and operated over 3 days. Social events included a backyard barbeque at the Pate’s, and a ride on the BCR dinner train.
Conflicts with other operating meetings held on the even-numbered years led to a shift of the Vancouver event to odd-numbered ones. So the second meeting, called Vanops 2005, was held in May of that year. Again the Holiday Inn housed the guests, now numbering 13, and the social program included a no-host dinner and layout visits in between operations.
By 2007, the name of the event had settled on Vanrail, and it was held this year on the last weekend in September. Eighteen guests (many with spouses) attended, housed at the Executive Inn in Vancouver. Six layouts were available, operating over 3 days. The social program included a number of suggested excursions to points of railway interest, a wine and cheese at the Calvert’s and dinner at Margaret Pate’s Church Hall, catered by Margaret, Margot Calvert and DeDe Sparks.
In 2009, the event was held on the weekend of 18 September, and the attendance had grown to 20. Operations took place on 6 layouts, and again the social program included the Calvert’s wine and cheese.
(To be finished)