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Amherst Railway Society
November 18, 2008
Meeting Announcement

The November meeting will be Tuesday, November 18, 2008, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School.

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and credit.

The Railroads of George Washington Whistler
by David Pierce

When the railroad-building craze hit the US in the 1830's, the political and commercial interests in Boston sought to access the vast market potential in the burgeoning west. A rail charter was granted to build a line west from Boston to the New York line. The first leg to Worcester, the Boston and Worcester, was rapidly completed. The rest of the line, the Western Railroad of Massachusetts, through the Berkshire Hills, was surveyed, designed and constructed by a talented civil engineer, George Washington Whistler- yes, he was "Whistler's Father". His marvelous stone arch viaducts, known today as "Whistler's Arches," between Chester and Middlefield, have been designated National Historical Landmarks.

Click on picture for larger view
and credit.

Whistler went to Russia in 1842 to supervise construction of the Moscow-St. Petersburg railroad, Russia's first. Other projects followed, and he never returned.

Dave Pierce was trackside from a very young age. His father, Wadsworth Pierce, was a lifelong railfan and passed the love on to his son. ‘Waddy’ worked at the Springfield Union when Dave was born in 1951. They lived in West Springfield, and that station was the first where Dave remembers watching trains. They also spent many hours at the Springfield Station.

Dave moved to Dalton in 1961, where his father founded The Dalton-Hinsdale News, a weekly paper. Dalton was also served by the Boston & Albany line, so trains were part of life there, as well.

Dave graduated from Wahconah Regional High School in 1969 and attended The Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts in Detroit, MI for three years. He left before graduation and worked at Crane & Co. in Dalton, for the Town of Worthington, MA, and The Gateway Regional School District, before landing at the Oak & Spruce Resort in Lee, MA, where he is presently employed.

His love of trains prompted him to offer his services to The Chester Foundation, a community group working to save the railroad station in Chester, MA, in 1989. He has been with the group, which successfully moved the station out of harm’s way in 1990, ever since.

He subsequently became President of the Chester Foundation and enjoys countless hours working by the mainline, absorbing 150 years of atmosphere collected in the venerable building. The Chester Station is host to numerous events, from weddings to $100.00 per person champagne & chocolate gatherings for the local theater group.

His involvement led him to purchase a condemned house, across from the station, which he has since restored.

In 1998, he founded and is currently President of, Friends of the Keystone Arches, Inc., which advocates for the Keystone Arch Railroad Bridges of Chester, Becket and Middlefield, MA, the first series of stone arch railway bridges built in America. The hiking trail built there was named to the Editor’s Choice list of the 2007 Summer Travel Edition of Yankee magazine.

He received a Regional Recognition Award from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in 2001, and was named Chester Citizen of the Year in 2004.

More information on the Station, the Arches, and related activities, may be found at: http://www.ChesterRailwayStation.org and http://www.KeystoneArches.org.

A documentary the groups are producing on the building of the railroad in the 1830’s by Maj. G.W. Whistler, (Whistler’s father) may be sampled at: http://www.AlsonVideo.com.

If you received a pink renewal slip in this mailing, then you must renew now to be restored to the mailing list. Dues are $20.00/yr, $50.00/3 years, and $80.00/5 years.

From the


November is upon us and the Belt Lines just returned from the Bedford Boomer’s Model Railroad Exhibition on November 2, 2008.  As always, it was a great ‘display only’ show and we thank all who participated.  We had the opportunity Saturday night to tour three local layouts for operating sessions – two were repeat performances, but one was a new layout to the mix.  We thank our hosts for the time they put in to hosting the crew of the Amherst Belt Lines and allowing us to make a real mess of their layouts!

We are coming up fast on the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show in January.  We will be publishing a Modular Mumblings prior to the show with additional information for the Belt Lines, but if you are interested in helping with the layout for setup or tear down before or after the show, or for operations during the show, please contact Sudro, Clark or Alan ( AmherstBeltLines@amherstrail.org ) and let them know you would like to help.

The next show the Amherst Belt Lines will attend is the New England Model Train Expo show sponsored by the NMRA HUB Division on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7, 2008.  The show is at the Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center in Marlborough, MA.  Setup will start on Friday around 2PM and we need to be up and ready to go when we leave Friday night.  Check out their web site at http://www.hubdiv.org for more information and directions.  Come on out to the show and support a terrific organization!

If you are interested in attending the HUB show with the Belt Lines, with or without a module, please let Sudro, Clark or Alan know right away so that we can make the appropriate arrangements.  We must know if you plan to attend the show as an exhibitor with the Belt Lines before you get to the show; we have to submit a list of all attendees and get badges for identification.  You will not be let into the show without an exhibitor badge or a paid admission.

Show Schedule Update

We added a new show with the Nashua Valley Railroad Association in March.  If you would like to mark your calendars ahead of time for shows the Belt Lines will be attending, here are the dates from our schedule for 2008/2009 as we know it so far:

  • December 5-7, 2008:  NMRA HUB Division Show – Marlboro, MA  
  • January 22-25, 2009:  Amherst Railway Society, Inc. Railroad Hobby Show – West Springfield, MA  
  • February 22, 2009:  Worcester Model Railroaders Club Show – Auburn, MA  
  • March 28-29, 2009:  Nashua Valley Railroad Association – Shirley, MA
  • July 5-11, 2009:  NMRA National Convention and Train Show – Hartford, CT  

From the ARS Trip Committee

Tour de Chooch

We have received the 2008 Tour de Chooch flyer. It is four pages, with maps to each layout, and is posted at the ARS Website: http://www.amherstrail.org/trips/ChoochFall08.pdf

This is a good chance to see home layouts in northeastern Mass and Southeast New Hampshire

Nov 29, 2008: New Hampshire: 9 am – 4 pm
Atkinson, Chester, Epsom (2 layouts), Greenland, Hollis, Newington, Sandown and Stratham.

Nov 30, 2008 Massachusetts: 9 am – 4 pm
Acton, Beverly, Georgetown, Reading (2 layouts), Wakefield and Wilmington

'STEAM in the SNOW' Photographers' Special on the Conway Scenic Railroad

As a courtesy to Amherst Railway members, Mass Bay has extended an invitation to join them on their next trip, "Steam in the Snow" on January 3, 2009 in North Conway NH. Please use their form and mark it as ARS member. Any Amherst member is allowed ONE discount per member, the remainder of the party should pay non-member price. Amherst Railway will not be running any transportation for this trip.

Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts is pleased to announce that tickets are now on sale for our second annual 'Steam in the Snow' Photographer's Special on the Conway Scenic Railroad on Saturday, January 3, 2009.

This unique event will feature multiple photo stops and photo runbys starring Conway Scenic's 0-6-0 #7470 (built by the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1921) in the lead. We'll have the engine "pointed southward" throughout the trip for great photos in the mid-day light.

Our train will depart from the landmark CSRR North Conway station at 10:30 AM and will run to Sawyers River. From Sawyers River the 7470 will lead us back through Bartlett and Glen to North Conway, with a scheduled return around 3:00 PM. Most of the photo stops will be on the return leg of the trip.

Coach, Dome Car and Parlor/Observation Car seats are available for this excursion. For complete trip information and ordering information please go to: http://www.massbayrre.org/SteaminSnow.htm

For telephone orders please call 978-470-2066.
No calls after 9:00 PM Eastern Time, please.
The ticket agent needs his sleep.

Trains on Television

NEW YORK - A new eight part television series, Extreme Trains , will premiere on Tuesday Nov. 11 at 10 p.m. (Eastern) on the History Channel. The series will examine the inner workings of the trains that haul freight across the nation and deliver passengers to their destinations. The series will highlight the part railroads have played in shaping American history and how they are vital to American life today. Each episode tells the story of one train, with host Matt Bown riding along and sometimes working alongside the crew. Upcoming episodes include:

Coal Train. Matt joins the coal train hauling a cargo of coal through Pennsylvania from mine to power plant. (November 11)

Freight Train. Going from the port of Los Angeles to Dallas/Fort Worth, this high-priority freight train brings goods from the Far East to stores across the U.S. (November 18).

High Speed Amtrak Acela Train. A look at Amtrak's Washington-Boston Acela, the fastest train in America. This episode also looks at historic Penn Station and why it was demolished (November 25).Future episodes will cover Union Pacific refrigerated trains, steam trains, Amtrak's Empire Builder and the Ringling Brothers Circus Train. More information can be found at http://www.history.com/extreme-trains

On behalf of the President's office

Volunteer Opportunities with the Amherst Railway Society... Help make the Society what "you" want it to be...

Trip Committee - a couple of members to help plan, arrange and carry out trips, excursions, etc. for other members...

Library Committee - a couple of members to help maintain the library between meetings, check items in and out at meetings and convert to new bar coding system... Also help with material storage between meetings...

Audio-Visual Committee - one or two members to manage the Society's Audio-Visual equipment... Primary function is the bring equipment to monthly meetings [8 per year], set up for use before meetings, and store between meetings... Would prefer someone reasonably close to the Amherst area, but will consider all volunteers... At this time we do not have anyone to do this for the Jan meeting. The person that has been bringing the equipment to the meetings will not be at the Jan 20 meeting. We need someone to take the equipment at the end of the evening Nov 18 and bring it on Jan 20, 2009

Railroad Hobby Show January 24 and 25, 2009

Please consider now whether you can volunteer at our great show.

NAME ___________________________________________
ADDRESS ___________________________________________
TOWN_____________________ STATE _________ ZIP_________
TELEPHONE ___________________________________________

I would like to help at the Railroad Hobby Show. (Please indicate approximate times)
THURSDAY ___________________________________________
FRIDAY ___________________________________________
SUNDAY ___________________________________________
Return to: Amherst Railway Society Show Volunteers
C/O Doug Moore Volunteer Coordinator
P O Box 341, Warren, MA 01083-0341
(413) 436-9787

There will NOT be an
ARS meeting in December

The First 2009 Meeting will be
JAN 20, 2009.

Setup for the 2009
ARS Railroad Hobby Show begins

Railroad Hobby Show January 24 and 25, 2009

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