Planning of specific activities are now underway, and announcements will be made as information becomes available. Expected features are 15 clinics, modelling contest, raffle, layout visits, extensive railfan activities, and the evening banquet.

Side-Tracks Activities

Rather than set up indoor activities on a nice spring weekend, we are arranging with the Tourist Bureau in Hamilton who have a collection of brochures and activities available, e.g. waterfall tours, malls, charming shopping streets, museums, waterfront activities, etc. We hope to have an introduction on the night of arrival, perhaps a speaker. 

Note: Some activities have an admission or other fee. These fees are not included in the price of the convention and are the sole responsibility of participants with the specific venue.

Non-rail participants will not be bored. Hamilton’s reputation as the steel city and nothing else does not match the modern reality.

Shopping opportunities include nearby Limeridge Mall as well as neighborhood sites on Ottawa Street (famed for fabrics, sewing supplies and now antiques), Westdale, Locke Street and Dundas.

Several art galleries are available.

Hamilton’s perch on the escarpment has created over 30 waterfalls, many available for exploration.

Many of the best railfan activities can be partnered with nearby activities of interest to non-railfans.

For instance, Hamilton has many train watching / photo sites that are in public park land including the famed Royal Botanical Gardens. Others include (in parentheses).

  • Bayview Junctions (Royal Botanical Gardens)
  • High level bridge (The 19th century Dundurn Castle)
  • CPR Kinnear Yard (Gage Park, featuring a new palm house)
  • Freeman Station (Mapleview Mall)
  • Hunter Street GO station, TH&B Museum (Art Gallery of Hamilton, Jackson Square Mall, James North art galleries)
  • TH&B #103 (Wentworth Pioneer Village)
  • New GO station, rehabilitated CN Station (Lakeside Park)
  • Restored Freeman Station (Mapleview Mall)

Things to see in Hamilton: CN station

The Canadian National Station was built in the 30’s and is now preserved in excellent condition as a banquet center, Liuna Station.  It is usually open depending on what events are on (polish your shoes!) and there are a few models and pieces of art.  The waiting room extending over the tracks is still used as a banquet hall, but not for railroad use.

Things to see in Hamilton: Dundurn Castle

Dundurn Castle is a historic neoclassical mansion on York Boulevard.. The 18,000-square-foot house took three years and $175,000 to build, and was completed in 1835. The forty room castle featured the latest conveniences of gas lighting and running water. It is currently owned by the City of Hamilton, which purchased it in 1899 or 1900 for $50,000. The City has spent nearly $3 million renovating the site to make it open to the public. The rooms have been restored to the year 1855 when its owner Sir Allan Napier MacNab, 1st Baronet, was at the height of his career. Costumed interpreters guide visitors through the home, illustrating daily life from the 1850s. The Duchess of Cornwall, a descendant of Sir Allan MacNab, is the Royal Patron of Dundurn Castle.

Besides being of interest as a museum, Dundurn is of interest to railfans because MacNab and friends built the GREAT WESTERN RY.  The CN line to Niagara Falls curves around Burlington Bay at the foot of the hill behind the castle, but the trees and brush make it hard to see during the warm months.  For a great view of Bayview Junction, continue walking along the road away from downtown.  When you get to the high level bridge there is a metal staircase down to the water level.  At the halfway point you will be at eye level for CP freights and GO transit heading for Hunter Street.

There is an admission to tour the castle, but the grounds, gardens and parking are free.

Things to see in Hamilton: Mural – Mogul 88

Around 1953, Mogul #88 was leading a double header down Ferguson Street, no doubt gathering speed to assault the escarpment.  Instead, it split a switch resulting in this well-known photo.   That photo has now been made into a giant mural at the site of the accident, the corner of King Street East and Ferguson.  Number 88 is reported to have survived and is at Upper Canada Village in Morrisburg as #1008

Things to see in Hamilton: Mural – Birdcage Station

Although there was once a station at this location on Ferguson Street between King and Main.  That was torn down.  Sometime later this similar station was built at nearly the same location, but with walls that roll up.  Nobody is sure why it was built nor what it is for.  It is directly across the street from the mural of the Mogul wreck.