ARS logo

Amherst Railway Society

April, 2010

ARS logo

Amherst Railway Society, Home Page
Contact Us
Calendar of Events
Membership information and application including map to meeting location
Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show
 Amherst Belt Lines

Amherst Railway Society
April 20, 2010
Meeting Announcement

(Download the pdf version of this Newsletter)

The next meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, April 20, 2010, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School Auditorium.

"Rail Trail Update" by Craig Della Penna

The railroads in southern New England were overbuilt by a factor of 3. And today, within a 100 mile radius of Amherst there are over 200 rail to trail projects underway. This is the densest network in the U.S. and it largely connects to industrial village centers -right where people live work and play. Craig Della Penna has the country's largest collection of then and now photography-then as a RR and now as a rail trail-and he will use some of that to illustrate what happens to communities when the dead RR is converted to a walking/biking pathway.  He will give updates on all the projects in the New Haven to Northampton [NH RR Canal Division] and Northampton to Boston [B&M RR's MassCentral Division] and beyond.

Craig Della PennaCraig Della Penna is the author of four books and numerous op-ed pieces/guest editorials on the value of rail trails and greenways in the context of residential real estate and smart growth development.

In their 10th anniversary issue, THE RIDE MAGAZINE named him as the most effective advocate for rail-to-trail issues on the eastern seaboard. A former lobbyist for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy—and one of the most in-demand public speakers on this subject in the U.S.,--he has given over 1,000 lectures on these subjects in 18 states and Canadian provinces.

Along with his wife Kathleen, he also operates Sugar Maple Trailside Inn, a bed & breakfast located in a nicely restored, 1865 farmhouse in Northampton’s village of Florence. The house sits eight [8] feet away from southern New England’s first municipally built/operated rail trail--- created the New Haven Railroad’s Williamsburg Branch. The renovation of the house was featured on HGTV’s Restore America and won a historic preservation award from the City of Northampton, while the B&B generally wins “Best in the Valley” in a poll of the readers of the Valley Advocate.

He is the Broker/Owner of Pedal to Properties, a full service real estate firm based in downtown Northampton. His unique real estate practice was recently featured in a BOSTON GLOBE editorial, an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL and in United Airlines in- flight magazine—HEMISPHERES. He is also one of only a small handful of realtors in the northeast to receive Green designations from both NAR and the U.S. Green Building Council.

rail trail map

From the Treasurer

All donations to the Amherst Railway Society may be tax deductible. As Amherst Railway Society Inc. is a 501 C(3) tax exempt organization, your donations ( of either cash and/or property) may be deducted on your Schedule A, Form 1040 of your Federal income tax. Consider the Amherst Railway Society in your estate planning. Your gifts can be restricted or non-restricted (you can pre-determine how you want your donation used). Upon request, and proper documentation of course, the Treasurer will issue you a letter to be used as justification for you tax deductions.

Amherst Belt Lines LogoMessage from the Amherst Belt Lines:

Our final show of the 2009-2010 season was the Nashua Valley Railroad Association (NVRRA) Show in Shirley, MA. The show was on April 11 at the Shirley Middle School from 10 AM to 4 PM. The BeltLines put together a modest 24’ x 36’ layout in the limited time available for setup. Thanks to all who participated in the show and helped get the layout on its feet and operating.

There have been a number of new modules added to the layout this year. Some have been replacements for older modules, some have been past modules returning to the shows and some of the modules have been from new associates with the Belt Lines. It is great to see the growth in the layout and the variety of modules that come from the group! We are always looking for anyone interested in operating a large and variable modular layout, and new modules are always welcome, too! If you want to build a module, or just help out at a show,

see Sudro, Clark or Alan and we will be happy to ‘sign you up!’

Email address:

Show Schedule Update

The Belt Lines attends about six shows per year from September through April. Our schedule as we know it today is below. If you would like to mark your calendars for shows we will be attending, here are the dates for the rest of the spring season in 2010 and our start on 2011:

  1. October, 2010: Pepperell Siding Model Railroad Club, Pepperell, MA. Show details are not yet available.
  2. November 7, 2010: Bedford Boomer’s Railroad Exhibition, Bedford, NH.
  3. December 4 and 5, 2010: New England Model Train Expo, Marlborough, MA.
  4. January 29-30, 2011: Amherst Railway Society, Inc. Railroad Hobby Show – West Springfield, MA.

We will publish additional details as invitations are sent to the Belt Lines.

From the Clerk

Thanks to everyone that presented at last month’s meeting. The attendance was 82 people.


All meetings are in the MS Auditorium Interpreted for the Hearing Impaired

May 18, 2010 Dan Bigda "Freight Car Futures"

June 15, 2010 Annual Business Meeting and Silent Auction Quabbin's RR: The Rabbit" by J. R. Greene

The current membership in the Amherst Railway Society is 402

Please check your mailing label. Your membership expires on June 30 of the year listed on the label. You will not be able to check out items from the library, or participate in other benefits of membership after that date. Now is the time to think about renewing. Free for Full Time students, 1 year for $20, 3 years for $50 and 5 years for $80

Student memberships require the name of the school, and the class/year in addition to the student contact information

If you just renewed for one year and your mailing label says 2010, yes you are due to renew again.

Railroad Hobby Show LogoMessage from the Show Director:

I must apologize for missing you at the March meeting. It would have been the first meeting that we were all back together following the Show. I had a couple of fun stories that I will still share with you next time that you will enjoy. Our exhibitors can really come up with some great ones that you just cannot make up!

As many of you know from reading these monthly columns, we had a ―Hits and Misses‖ meeting just after the show while things were still fresh in our minds. There will be many changes for the better for next year, including some minor logistical changes, a few more tents connecting the buildings, an all new, bigger and better reception center, more clinics and, as you know by now, some surprises that we have already decided upon. Our meetings include getting together with the folks at the Eastern States Exposition to call upon their expertise. Hey have given us some great feedback as well.

We are changing the structure of the Show with regard to the staff and volunteers. Some positions will be eliminated or combined with existing positions and others will be new positions that are necessary because of our growing Show and needs. Just one for example is the new Reception Center Manager, which is critical because of the new structure of the Reception Center (it is moving and will be much larger!) I will have more to say about that in person at our next general meeting.

Other interesting endeavors include our added theme of having ―Shows within Shows.‖ Currently, we have the Euro-East folks (European Train Enthusiasts) as well as the 1/87th group exhibiting within our show. We estimate that those 2 groups added to our attendance another 1000 people...that’s fantastic! We are in early talks with the National Model Railroad Association (NMRA) as they have approached us about trying to do more with us. That’s exciting stuff! We’ll have more to say about that after their spring board meeting.

My only other note in this short report is that of a reminder for our third Annual Silent Auction that we will have just before the final meeting of the season (at the June meeting). As in past years, the auction will begin as soon as we are set up (usually around 6pm) and we will run until 8pm on time to begin our final meeting of the year. Each year – as you know – we accumulate some great items, all of which are donated throughout the year. For this year’s auction, we have new books, a great deal of scenery materials, including trees, ground cover and the like, clothing, hats, badges and plaques, some vintage Lionel, Magnuson models, new locomotives, structures and more. As always, we will have some bidding fun, allowing you to obtain these items at a VERY low price, and we get to add to the grant fund all at the same time.

See you next time!!!

John Sacerdote, Show Director

Upcoming dates that may be of interest


Apr 16

Flying Yankee Fundraising Celebration, Executive Court, 13500 South Willow St., Manchester, NH. 6-11 PM. Cocktails, silent auction, dinner, entertainment. Tickets $60. Info: FlyingYankee Restoration Group, Box 145, North Woodstock, NH 03262; 603881-3317; e-mail:;
May 1 Opening Day At The Eastern Connecticut Railway Museum
May 9 CT Trolley Museum (East Windsor) Mothers Day, Mother’s ride free with paid Child admission
May 22 Training Day At The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, New volunteers are always welcome! See for more information.
May 29 Opening Day At The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum, See for more information.
June 4 -5 New England / Northeast Prototype Modelers Meet Collinsville CT
June 12-13 Pioneer Valley Live Steamers Work Weekend Southwick MA
June 15 All materials borrowed from the ARS library are due. ARS Annual Business Meeting And Silent Auction
June 18-20 Fathers Day weekend – Pioneer Valley Live Steamers annual open to the public weekend
June 22-26 NRHS Annual Convention –Scranton PA
July 11 -17 NMRA National Convention –Milwaukee WI
Aug 6 Flying Yankee Dinner Train – Lincoln NH 6:00 PM -Catered by Hart's Turkey Farm aboard the Hobo Railroad Train with Mr Phil onboard for entertainment. $40 Adult, $35 Child -A portion of the proceeds will benefit the restoration project. Purchase tickets online at
Sept 9 -12 Northeast Region NMRA Convention Burlington VT
Sept 21 First Amherst Railway Society meeting in the Fall

Fast Mail for Rail

About Fast Mail for Rail

The April, 2010 edition of Fast Mail for RAIL is a regular compilation of the latest news and updates from the passenger rail industry that delivers timely information, resources, and announcements to RAIL Magazine subscribers, colleagues and friends. Please keep us posted on your latest news and developments by emailing your content to

Amherst Railway Society
P. O. Box 2351
Amherst, MA 01004-2351

Copyright (c)2009 Amherst Railway Society