Amherst Railway Society

September, 2009

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Amherst Railway Society
September 15, 2009
Meeting Announcement

Map showing location of Amherst Railway Society meetings The next meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst High School Cafeteria, off Triangle Street, about a block from the Junior High School. (Click on map to see enlargement.) Please note location change for this meeting only.

All hearing impaired members needing Oral Transliteration are asked to meet with the interpreter at 7:30 pm.

"Maine Central Railroad in Central Maine"
by George Melvin

George Melvin worked on the railroad for 41 years retiring in January 2008. He started on the Maine Central Railroad January 2, 1967 as station agent and finished his career at the St. Lawrence and Atlantic RR on January 2, 2008. During his time on the railroad his love of history and railroads helped to expand his knowledge.

An excellent photographer specializing in trains, he has written eight illustrated books on railroads, including a three-volume history of Maine Central Railroad and has recently published his first book with his wife, Katherine.

He grew up in Richmond, Maine and his interest in the railroad grew from watching the trains go through his hometown eight times a day. At the age of ten, George was particularly intrigued by the passenger cars, which were named after birds. Four times a day he would be able to see the passenger trains go through and he would watch for certain cars, such as the Meadowlark or Whippoorwill were of interest to him, in addition to the four passenger trains, four freight trains also passed through Richmond each day. He started photographing the trains at the age of 14 and he had his first train ride when he was six or seven when he rode to Portland with his mother.

After graduating from high school in 1966, George opted for a career on the railroad instead of going to college even though he could have his full tuition paid for him. The acquaintances he met hanging around the railroad led him into his decision to go to work on the railroad. One day the Operator at Tower X in Portland asked him what he was going to do after he graduated. He said, "I don't know, get a job somewhere." The Operator said "Why don't you get a job on the railroad, you hang around here all the time anyway?" So, that's what he did. He started out in Gardiner, Maine and worked in various locations from Gilman, VT to Mattawamkeag, Maine and all the open stations in Central Maine. George continues to do research and write books in his retirement from the railroad.


Shown is the last day of passenger service on the Maine Central, an eastbound train on Sept. 5, 1960 at the Augusta station on Water Street. (Photo by Alan MacMillan, Sr., courtesy of Alan MacMillan Jr.)


On June 13, 1954, to celebrate the end of steam locomotive use, Maine Central Railroad ran an excursion train from Portland to Bangor and back, using Locomotive 470. It is seen here in Waterville on the return trip. (Image courtesy of 470 Club Collection)


Westbound Maine Central train B12 is seen on May 17, 1967, in South Gardiner is headed downriver along the Kennebec River, carrying paper products and other Maine made goods. (George Melvin Photo)


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


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...


Mass Bay RRE announces Annual Fall Circle Tour on Providence & Worcester RR

Mass Bay RRE wraps up its 75th anniversary year with a special all-day rail outing on the Providence & Worcester Railroad and Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our third annual P&W 'Fall Circle Tour' will follow a unique routing that includes the Blackstone River Valley, the scenic seascapes of the Connecticut shoreline, the Thames River and the mill towns of eastern Connecticut.

Our special train leaves at 9:00 AM from the P&W's operating headquarters on Hammond Street in Worcester, MA. We'll first travel down the P&W's main line through Millbury and Woonsocket to Providence, RI, where we'll join Amtrak's Northeast Corridor for the westbound run to Groton, CT, passing through some of the most scenic coastal portions of this route. There our train will turn north onto the P&W's Norwich Branch, skirting the eastern shore of the Thames River to Norwich, CT. We'll pass through the mill towns of Plainfield and Putnam before returning to Worcester at approximately 5:30 PM. We are planning to have two or more photo stops along the way, as schedule and operating conditions permit.

Tickets are now on sale for this unique excursion. For complete trip details go to our web site:

Telephone orders are accepted at 978-470-2066 with Visa or MasterCard between 9:00 AM and 8:00 PM Monday through Friday.

ARS members can order tickets at member prices with this form.

SFTM Member's Day and Nickel Day—Saturday, September 26

Amherst Railway members can take advantage of Member Pricing at this event.

All card-carrying ARS members will get a free All- Day-Pass on that day.
And SFTM members get a free pass all day.
Members Day Saturday Sept 26, 2009.
The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum will be having "Nickel Day". Here are the details:
Open to the public 11am to 5pm.
Schedule, locations and activities may change due to weather:
Special prices, all day:
* Nickel Trolley rides. Pay the conductor a nickel for each direction, just like in 1896!
* Or buy a specially-priced $2.00 All-Day-Pass (under 6 is free.) good for your
trolley, caboose, speeder and pump car rides and other activities (except lunch!)
until 5pm. Members, of course, ride free!
Pumpcar rides are too much work to give away for a nickel, and you couldn't
ride a pump car as a passenger in 1896 anyway.

Special for Member's Day (public invited), All-Day-Pass or membership required:

* All day - Caboose rides with the Trackmobile,
* All day - Motorcar ("speeder") rides.
* All day - (maybe) Miniature railroad equipment rides.
* Noon-1:00pm Member's Day Lunch:
* Cider Seasoned Pork Loin
* Potato salad
* Cole slaw or salad
* Vegetables
* Homemade desserts
* Coffee or cold beverage.
* Reservations not needed, but strongly recommended. Seating will
be limited. Prices (non-members): $13.00 for ages 13 and older, $6.00
for kids ages 6 through 12, kids under 6 is $2.00.
Member prices: $11.00, $5.00, and free.

Make reservations online at: or leave phone message at 413-625-9443. Reservations should be made no later than September 22. Reserve early to assure seating. Payment due upon arrival at SFTM.

* 1:30pm "Railroad archeology" tour to the Conway State Forest, where the Conway Electric Street Railway met the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad and the Boston & Maine Railroad. See the two bridge sites and the new hiking bridge across the South River where the NYNH&H high bridge used to be. Visit the remains of the Conway station grounds and the dam and remains of the power plant on the South River. Sturdy walking shoes and the ability to walk two miles are recommended. Steep steps lead down to the power plant (optional). Meet at museum's Visitors Center at 1:30pm.

Special for Nickel Day, while supplies last:

* After lunch - Nickel ice cream cones, thanks to Snow's Ice Cream!
* During and after lunch - Nickel Lemonade

Shelburne Falls is having fall festival that day as well, it could be jammed!

Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum
14 Depot St.
Museum 413-625-9443
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

Seashore Trolley Museum

Seashore Trolley Museum Invites the members of the Amherst Railway Society to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the completed restoration of Atlantic Shore Line electric locomotive #100 and the companion exhibit, "History in Motion: Public Transportation Connecting Maine Communities"

  • Visitor Center, 195 Log Cabin Road, Kennebunkport, Maine 04046
  • Friday, September 25, 2009 2:00 p.m.
  • Light refreshments served
  • Regular interpreted streetcar rides available
  • Opportunities to photograph ASL100 in operation.

If you are interested in attending, please contact the Clerk or the Trip Director by the conclusion of the Sept 15, 2009 meeting so that the R.S.V.P to the invitation has the correct number of attendees.

Disney Train Coming

Walt Disney Pictures is having a chartered Amtrak train tour the country promoting this falls release of "A Christmas Carol". The tour includes stops in Albany NY Sept 22, Boston Sept 25 -27, and New York City Oct 30 — Nov 1. For other dates see the ARS website:

Phil Johnson
Trip Director

<show logo>Message from the Show Director:

Summer for me is over and it's been back to work on the show for a while now.

The biggest news is that we have taken an additional 54,000 square feet of space in the Mallary Complex, putting us over 300,000 square feet of show space!  The result of allowing exhibitors to grow, adding more layouts and not that many vendors, is making for an exciting venue with some changes that will be sure to please everyone.

Contracts are already out the door to over 425 exhibitors with over 20 of them new to us. Again, they are almost exclusively layouts and manufacturers. Here's a preview: there are two new layouts to the show, one scale is 7/8n2 and the other is "T" gauge (not TT that some of us remember — me included). T gauge is half the size of Z (yes you heard that right!) When I asked the exhibitor how much space he needed for the layout, he told me, "One by two." He meant 1 X 2 feet ... then he told me it was a huge layout! Enough to make you laugh out loud!

We have all new badges again, this year hanging on lanyards. Much larger, very good looking and easy to see! Once again, individual names will be printed on the badges. Badges takes me to volunteers. This year we will need a few more volunteers because of the additional set up of the Mallary Complex. If you are interested, please let us know by seeing us at the next meeting or by contacting the show office.

Admission price continues to be in a holding pattern, as do the table prices, which is making everyone happy. We had conducted a survey to our exhibitors of which more than half responded, giving us some great input for the future.

We are about to launch the ability to purchase advance tickets online by credit card within the next couple of weeks!

As we get close to the show date, we will report to you the new exhibitors and any other new and exciting ideas that will be happening for 2010. You will not want to miss some of the latest changes and additions to the show….here we grow again!!

Stay tuned!!!
John Sacerdote, Show Director

<abel logo>From the AMHERST BELT LINES…

Schools Back – Time for a New Show Season

With September comes the beginning of the Show Season for the Amherst Belt Lines. We have invitations now for all three of our regular shows for the fall and winter of 2009. Your module coordinators – Sudro, Clark and Alan – are always happy to have your help at these shows, so let ‘em know that you are ready to lend a hand! Help is always needed to operate the layout during show hours, and there is always something to do during set up and tear down. See our current schedule below; more details will be coming out in the Modular Mumblings, or talk to one of the coordinators.

National Train Show® – July 10-12, 2009

The Amherst Belt Lines can now be dubbed an “award winning” modular railroad! We are proud to announce that two of the modules on display in our layout at the National Train Show in Hartford, CT won awards. Jim Whitman won the International Hobby Corporation’s Pizzaz Award for his Summit Junction module featuring numerous lighting effects, including a burning building. The Amherst Belt Lines won Third Place in the Group Entry for Bolton Junction. This module has been a true group effort: designed by Alan Rice; built by Steve Belforti, John Bock, Sudro Brown and Clark Huber; with scenery by James Mayo. Congratulations to all!

At three days this was by far the longest and most taxing show the Belt Lines has done. There were some rough spots in the road in and out of the show, but this once-in-a-lifetime experience was worth it.

Show Schedule Update

The Belt Lines attends about six shows per year from September through April. So far we have invitations to four of the shows, including our own, through January of next year. If you would like to mark your calendars for shows we will be attending, here are the dates for the rest of the 2009:

Upcoming Meetings

(All of the rest of this year’s meetings will be at the Amherst Middle School):

  • Oct 20, 2009 (Auditorium) Charlie Hunter "North America's Moving Music Festival"
  • Nov 17, 2009 (Cafeteria) Dan Bigda  “Morphing Trains"
  • Jan 19, 2010 (Auditorium) Bob LaMay  "Life of the FL-9"
  • Mar 16, 2010 (Auditorium) Members Night  Various short presentations

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

Copyright (c)2009 Amherst Railway Society