Involved almost constantly with wrapping up previous railfests and planning our big summer gathering Eagle Railfest 2005, I have taken on yet another event, to take place just 5 weeks later.
OTOL Washington RailFest 2005 will be held on Friday, August 26th and Saturday, August 27th. It will feature riding the entire Metrorail heavy rail system, as well as rides that sample both Virginia Railway Express and MARC. In order to be able to ride those commuter railroads, we need to schedule this fest for a Friday and Saturday, rather than Saturday-Sunday. We will do VRE and MARC on Friday, and the Metro on Saturday. That is why this is being held during the summer, to be able to meet on a Friday when most people won't be bound to school or college obligations and some might easily take a summer Friday off from work.
There is already a full website dedicated to this fest. The homepage has links to the usual restaurant and hotel listings, the itinerary, projected guest list, and other features.
The official fest activities begin midday on Friday when we begin riding VRE followed by MARC. That means you have a choice of going to the Washington area either Thursday evening or Friday morning. Remember if you leave your origin station on Friday morning before 9 AM you avoid the weekend "peak" ticket surcharge. On Saturday it will take a good portion of the day to do the Metro system. The itinerary has been planned to minimize riding segments more than once wherever possible.
One main feature will be the last extension to open, the Blue Line beyond Addison Road-Seat Pleasant to Largo Town Center. Many of you have not yet ridden this new segment of trackage. I have scheduled this segment late in the day, so that we can combine it with dinner at the adjacent Boulevard at Capitol Centre, namely a Golden Corral buffet. Following this, participants from outside the Washington area can either head home from New Carrollton or Union Station, or stay Saturday evening and head home early Sunday morning.
Therefore you may require anywhere from one to three nights in hotels in the Washington, DC area. Careful and advance planning should yield the best rate to suit your budget.
If you would like to join us for this visit to our nation's capitol, please e-mail me so I can put your name on the guest list.