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Amherst Railway Society
June 21, 2005
Meeting Announcement


The next meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is June 21, 2005, 8:00 p.m., at the Amherst Middle School.

“The Ware River Railroad” by Mr. Phil Opielowski

The Ware River Railroad - After the completion of major rail routes in Massachusetts, small towns, villages, industrialists, and the common person scrambled to build rail lines to serve their towns. This is the story of one small railroad connecting Palmer and Winchendon, MA through the Ware River Valley. Unlike all others that are gone, half of the line still survives today as the MassCentral RR. The program will tell about the line’s construction and the people behind it. We’ll also see how the politics of the day saved a bankrupt railroad through questionable ethics by a local wealthy rail baron resulting in one of the biggest financial scandals and investigation by the State Legislature. We’ll look at the daily life of the line, and how it came to survive until today.

Phil Opielowski has a special affection for the Ware River Railroad. His first railroad interest began with cab rides on the line from Thorndike at the age of three. After many model railroad experiences, Phil has finally settled on accurately re-creating scenes from the Ware River in the 1940’s-50’s in a huge O-scale model railroad. His first casual research into the system and “railroad archeology” eventually led him on an intensive search of the line’s history resulting in this program. You may remember seeing Phil’s scratchbuilt structures at the ARS show including the massive Palmer station. Phil is also an author having published articles about his work in Model Railroader and O Scale Trains.


Report of the Nominating Committee: The nominating Committee, consisting of Tom Laware, Jr, Bill Kaiser, and John Lauzon will present the following slate of officers:

  • President - Doug Moore
  • Vice-President - Ira Laby
  • Secretary - Janet Moore
  • three Directors at Large - Peter Veneman, Alan Rice, and Harvey Allen.

Business Meeting:  There will be three items on the agenda for our Business Meeting.

  1. A vote to accept the slate of officers as presented by the Nominating Committee.
  2. A vote to accept the distribution of funds in the form of grants to a list of organizations, projects, etc. as decided by the Board of Directors. This list will be read prior to the vote.
  3. A vote to amend Articles 8 and 10 of the ARS Bylaws as recommended by the Show Committee. Included in this mailing is a copy of the proposed amendments so you can read and become familiar with the changes before the meeting.

Mark your calendars !! Big Railroad Hobby Show - Jan. 28 & 29, 2006

More end of year business: Please return all video tapes at the June meeting.

Please check the date on your mailing label. If it still says 2005, you need to renew to continue to receive mailings and next year’s show pass.

Refreshment Committee - Tom Laware, Jr has graciously volunteered to help with coffee, etc. next year, but he doesn’t want to do it alone. Please consider helping out. We need 2 more people to carry the load.

Summer Railroad Events:

Pioneer Valley Live Steamers, Southwick, MA. Father’s Day - June 18 & 19, 9:30 am to 3:00 pm. Fall Meet - September 17 & 18. For more info, visit http://www.pioneervalleylivesteamers.org/.

Special invitation from Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum: In appreciation of ARS’s long-term support, the SFTM invites all ARS members to join us for Members Day at the museum on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2005. An ARS membership card gets you free admission and free trolley rides from 11 am to 5 pm, and ARS members can sign up for the Members Day lunch for the members price of $9. Call (413) 625-9443 to make reservations. They will be having trackmobile-powered caboose rides, pump car rides and a slide show. In the afternoon, there will be a demonstration of “virtual railroading” or train simulation using a personal computer. The museum is also looking for volunteers to operate our trolley car, sell tickets, and do track work and building and rolling stock repairs. Please contact Sam Bartlett at 413-624-0192.

Restoration Stories - Thursday, June 16, 9 to 10 pm on WGBY, channel 57. A segment will include the restoration of the Wiscassett, Waterville and Farmington Railroad.

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