A National Narrow Gauge Convention (NNGC) is a unique gathering of Narrow Minded individuals, not just from our country but all over the world. The scale is not important, speed is not important, but the gauge of the track should be less than 4’ 8 ½” between the rails. Within this unique perspective we allow broad gauges to come play, although we may be Narrow Minded, we are not closed minded, it is all about the celebration of Trains since 4’ 8 ½” rails were here first (and bigger), without a standard gauge there could not be a narrow gauge. Narrow gauge became the alternative for the trail less traveled and that high, narrow mountain pass that standard gauge could not conquer. It doesn’t matter what is hauled, be it people, timber, ore, goods to market, or goods to the community, if it traveled by train, we applaud it. Speed has no place here for it is slow and steady wins the race, and it is all about getting to the destination safely that matters. Remember, TIME, is one of the dirtiest four letter words in the English language.
The National Narrow Gauge Conventions have no National Organization; therefore, each Convention is hosted by a local group of volunteers who take on the responsibility of putting together their event for the enjoyment of our community, The Narrow Minded. Each local group brings together their talents to present a more perfect Convention. We try to learn from the past. Conventions and previous organizations give us the benefit of their experiences. A wise man learns from his mistakes, but it takes a genius to learn from others, while we will try to be geniuses, in the end we may just prove that we were not even wise to take this on.
A little history of the National Narrow Gauge Conventions, the first one was held in Saint Louis, Missouri, in 1981. The conventional wisdom thought this could be held every two years, but Denver stood up and said they would host the NNGC the next year. With Denver’s success the yearly NNGCs were launched, in fact Denver hosted 3 of the first six NNGCs. We always return to Saint Louis every ten years, the 10th NNGC, 20th NNGC, 30th NNGC, and after Sacramento, Saint Louis will hold the 40th NNGC. When you think of Sacramento you think standard gauge town with the Transcontinental Railroad. But narrow gauge provided the means to ship product in and out of areas that the standard gauge could not economically operate. Narrow gauge logging, mining, and common carrier operations thrived in areas until the population base got so large that the tonnage needs for that area necessitated switching to standard gauge. As the trucking industry became more reliable, that also took over a lot of the duties once handled by the railroads. As we insert Sacramento into the first time location for the NNGC, the next four conventions will be handled by repeat offenders, Saint Louis, Hickory, Seattle, and Denver again. As you can see, these National Narrow Gauge Conventions are alive and well.
Sit back and plan your trip to our 39th National Narrow Gauge Convention and see what Northern California has to offer. In our history we have narrow gauge logging, mining, and plenty of common carrier rails. There are a few remnants of these operations surviving today as museums and tourist operations. Also, within Northern California, there are a lot of beautiful areas not touched by rail. What trip to this area would be complete without seeing the Coast, San Francisco, Napa Valley, the Redwoods, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite Valley, or the giant Sequoias. This could easily take two weeks depending on what you want to see and experience.