Northern Express

The Northern Express for May 20-23, 2021 has been canceled!

Members and Friends of Division 12,

The Division 12 convention committee (and board of directors) has reached the difficult decision to cancel the Northern Express, the Mid Central Region convention, planned for May 20–23, 2021 in Erie.

We did not make this decision lightly. After much discussion, we realized that the unknowns were too many for us to continue to hope to host the event.

COVID-19 cases are at their highest numbers as we speak here in Erie and Crawford Counties. While vaccine development is looking very hopeful, we have no guarantee that the rollout to the general public will be completed by May. We wondered if clinicians, vendors, or attendees would be hesitant to travel to or attend an event, even with safety protocols in place. We are unable to guarantee that tour hosts will be able or willing to provide tours. Will local model railroaders be willing to open their homes for model railroad tours? We wondered if we could ensure the experience expected of a Mid Central Region convention and more importantly, the health and safety of our attendees.

Our division cannot risk the further financial liability moving forward. Our contract with the venue stipulates a greater penalty for canceling the closer we get to the date of the event. Our contract is also based on minimum numbers of rooms booked and banquet numbers. If a limited number of people attend, we stand to take a severe financial hit. If Division 12 was an older, well-financed division we might have taken a little more risk, waiting longer to see if the outlook improves.

The canceling of several upcoming railroading events had a big impact on our committee’s decision. It really put a lot of things in perspective. The National N Scale Convention in Reno planned for June of 2021 was recently canceled. We also got word the day of our meeting that the NYC Historical Society convention that was to be held in Cleveland in May of 2021 had been canceled.

We had hoped to host a great regional convention, showing off Erie and providing members of the Mid Central Region an outstanding experience. As it appears that we may not be able to do that safely or to the level we aspired to, we made this difficult choice to cancel the Northern Express planned for May 20—21, 2021.