About HTP

One simply cannot understand the history of the United States of America without understanding the impact of transportation. Whereas canals and railroads in Europe were built to connect existing populations, in the US canals and railroads (and later highways) were built to encourage and enable migration West. West of the Mississippi, the Federal government gave railroads free choice of routes, and land grants for their tracks and facilities as well as alongside their tracks to develop towns and sell homesteads to newcomers, which would then travel and ship by the railroad. Railroads enjoyed a ‘transportation monopoly’ until 1920, when mass production of the automobile and improved roads led to the creation of the Federal highway system.



Historic Transport Preservation, Inc. (HTP) is recognized as a tax-exempt public charity by the IRS under sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our mission is to convey the importance of transportation in American history to those who attend our special events, and to commemorate significant locations in transportation history. We accomplish our mission by planning and organizing special events, open to the public, on an irregular basis 2-6 times per year, and by placing markers at historic locations.

Directors of HTP are:

  • John Craft
  • James Gunning
  • Mike Raia

Officers of HTP are:

  • John Craft (President)
  • James Gunning (Vice President)
  • Michael Allen (Secretary)
  • Mike Raia (Treasurer)


Frequently Asked Questions About Photo Events

What is a photo event?

A “photo special” is a special train put together to demonstrate historic transportation operations. Think of a train made up for movie filming, then replace the movie crew with 30-50 participants with still and video cameras.

Instead of carrying passengers from point A to point B, the train moves around based on a schedule that puts it in attractive scenery when the sunlight is best for that particular location.

Photographers may ride on the train, ride a bus following the train, or travel in their own vehicles to the photo locations.

What is a typical day on a photo event like?

It can be long. Sometimes demanding physically. But always educational, and lots of fun.

The day often starts the night before, with a “night photo session.” In a night photo session, the train is posed in an attractive setting and lighted.

The train often leaves before dawn, so that we can get dramatic sunrise lighting. It then moves from location to location depending on how each location will be lit. Photographers then take pictures as the train does at least one “photo runby” at each location, usually two or three.

Sometimes a photo location requires hiking some distance, climbing a hill, or some other physically challenging effort.

Sometimes we include other elements – an antique car, a horse and buggy – to add interest to the photo. These elements are usually a surprise to the photographers.

The train may stay out until sunset if the light is good.

Who can participate in a photo event?

Almost anyone.

We’re not a private club, and our events aren’t “invitation only.” Events are announced by e-mail; sign up to receive announcements here. There are usually several first-time participants on each trip, and most first-timers become regulars. Nor is this a guys-only event – ladies are welcome, and spouses usually attend for half-fare. (Small children may not find this a fun way to spend the day.)

If you choose to attend we expect you to act in a safe manner around the railroad and while driving. Our group has developed excellent relationships with the various host railroads because we emphasize safety. If the special involves driving to photo locations, we expect you to drive safely, park safely, and cross roads safely. If you come on a trip and act in an unsafe manner, your future participation will be scrutinized.

Finally, those of us who plan photo specials do so because we enjoy it; these are not profit-oriented ventures. We expect you to be courteous to your fellow participants, and to the organizers. If we provide a written schedule, we expect you to refer to it before asking redundant questions. (That seems obvious, but over the years a couple of people have been unpleasant or disruptive, or who require too much attention, care and feeding. They aren’t welcome on the trips any more.)

If you sign up expecting to spend the day with some fun people, learn something, and get a couple of nice photos, we’d love to have you along.

Who organizes the photo event?

All of us. Typically a subject is chosen because it motivates one of us, but we share the workload. And from time to time someone from outside the organization organizes an event and partners with us for support.

How do I find out about photo events?

Simply subscribe to the “Announcements” mailing list

How much does it cost to participate?

A typical one-day ticket costs between $150 and $300, depending on many factors. This usually includes lunch and snacks during the day.

How much profit do you make?

Historic Transport Preservation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) public charity, so there is no profit. While there may occasionally be money left over after all expenses are paid, the amount is usually small.

Event organizers volunteer their efforts, and often pay all or part of the fare as well (no one attends for free – you get a discount only if you work).

How do I sign up for a photo event?

When we organize a photo special, we send out an announcement via email. If you are on the announcements list you will receive a general description of the event, when it will take place, and an estimated cost.

If you are interested in attending, there will be an address in that email where you can mail your payment, or you can use a link on this site to pay by PayPal or credit card.

If you sign up, you will be placed on a private mailing list to receive trip details, recommended hotels, and travel tips.

How many people participate in a photo event?

Usually 40 or so, but as few as 30 or as many as 50. Costs and the number of people that can fit in at the photo locations are the two biggest factors in determining the maximum number for a particular trip.