Amherst Railway Society

January, 2010

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Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show
 Amherst Belt Lines

Amherst Railway Society
January 19, 2010
Meeting Announcement

Your help is needed at the 2010 Railroad Hobby Show. Click this link for the volunteer form.

Click on these links to download the complete January Newsletter in pdf form, and the Amherst Belt Lines supplement.

The January meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, January 19, 2010, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School Auditorium.

"Life of the FL-9"
by Bob LaMay

My name is Robert A. LaMay of Amston, CT. and I love trains. My specialty is the FL9 dual mode diesel electric locomotive that came into existence during the latter years of the New Haven Railroad. I've always been fascinated with the FL9's uniqueness and have always been very interested in its sometimes misquoted history. Before I get into the nuts and bolts of this locomotive, let me tell you a little bit about my background.

Bob LaMay with CDOT FL-9M, 2011, Harmon Yard, June, 2008
Photo by Wayne Koch

I've been photographing trains and writing about them for the past fifty plus years. My work has been published in just about every rail publication to date. Even as a youngster my Dad used to take me to the railroad station located in Burlington, VT. My love of trains never diminished but just grew stronger as I grew older. Finally in the early 1990's I partnered with a good friend, the late Joseph R. Snopek, the former president of the Amherst Railway Society. During this friendship we wrote and published a book entitled "Diesels to Park Avenue -- The FL9 Story." The book debuted at the Amherst Railway Society's 1997 show. It received great reviews from TRAINS, Railroad & Railfan, S-Gauge, and the National Historical Railway Society. However, from that point on the FL9's story was far from over, so I continued to follow its history right up to today, 2009. I've maintained all my railroad contacts formed while writing the FL9 book to keep this history moving forward. I've amassed a slide collection of the FL9's history that totals over 5,000 color slides. I also have a large photo collection about the FL9. Putting this show together was certainly a challenge because I needed to select [slides that can be shown in a hour and] best depict the FL9's colorful history.

Let's now look at the layout of the show to get an idea what is in store for the viewers. For those who have read my book, the layout will be very similar, except the photos seen in this show will not duplicate what is in the book. What makes this slide show interesting is the fact that the history of this locomotive spans six decades and its life has passed through ten different operators. Each era covered will be complete, since a lot more time has elapsed since the book came out. What started as a 60 unit fleet has today dwindled to less than a dozen operating locomotives. Slides will be shown from the mid 1950's to well into the year 2000. Just think a specialty locomotive that was supposed to last 15 to 20 years at best has in fact lasted 2 1/2 times that! However, it does appear that technology has finally caught up with the FL9.

Attendance at Nov’s, presentation on the NYC subway system” by Richard Solomon, was 80 people.

So please sit back and read the story of the single model locomotive that spanned more than fifty years. The slide show presented will tell this story even better in living color.

What I've done is to start with some photos of the FL9's pre-McGinnis schemes that were designed but never applied. Then the show will follow in chronological order each of the eras the FL9 passed through. The show will follow in this manner:
  • New Haven Era -- this runs from 1957 to 1/1/69
  • Penn Central Era -- 1/1/69 to its bankruptcy on 6/21/70
  • MTA Era -- 6/22/70 -- 4/1/76
  • Conrail Era -- 4/1/76 to 1/1/83
  • Amtrak Era -- 5/1/71 to 1998
  • Other Eras -- Morristown & Erie Railroad
  • Other Eras -- Maine Eastern Railroad
  • Metro-North Commuter Railroad -- 1/1/83 to Present
  • Long Island Era -- 1991 to 1999
  • Connecticut Department of Transportation -- 1/1/83 to present

Each of the above mentioned eras will be discussed in detail and will also be shown during the slide show.

Message from the Show Director:

The stage is set for the 2010 Show! Here’s what’s in store for this year:

We start the show early again (on Thursday) with part 2 of the Model Railroading University courses. This year, the “Master’s Program” consists of sixteen hours of instruction in scenery for cities, country landscaping, building construction, weathering, advanced details. “This clinic provides the skills needed to take your model railroad to the next level.” The course will be given by Miles Hale, MMR, his wife Fran Hale, MMR, John Lowrance, MMR, Pat Harriman, MMR and Larry Alfred, MMR.  Five  Master Model Railroaders will be your instructors…wow! This course is usually offered at $950.00 dollars but is offered to the Amherst Railway Society at $200.00, an $750.00 savings! The class will be conducted in the Storrowton Tavern’s “Carriage House” on the Eastern States Exposition Grounds (Located 100 yards in from Gate 2) on Thursday and Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. Registrants for the course also receive a ticket to the Show! The class is almost full with over 30 registrants and there are 4 seats left {when the newsletter went to press} if anyone is interested.

On Friday (another early start) Iwata Air Brush folks, will be there to give a 3-hour clinic on the techniques of airbrushing. This comprehensive course is a must for anyone who really wants to learn the basics from one of the top airbrush companies in the world! This course will be given by presented by Leslie Eaton, MMR. The course will be 1-4 pm on Friday is free, and is first come, first serve and will be given in the Offices of the Mallary Complex (which will act as our new, second, invitation-only clinic area). The course will be repeating from 9 am -12 noon on Saturday as well. Please sign up for one of these!

The next item of news is the actual show configuration. There have been more changes to the physical layout of all of the buildings this year than in any years in the past. With over 63 new exhibitors, including manufacturers, dealers, NFPs and layouts, the show is certainly going to be anything but stale, starting with the additional 60,000 square feet in the Mallary Complex. Over 20% of the show exhibitors have moved! For a complete list, do not hesitate to visit New and moved exhibitors have been highlighted within the list of over 450 exhibitors! Traffic to the site continues to grow. The counters were reset on November first and we already see over 30,000 visitors to the site. Please check out all the new information.

The “Manufacturers’ Room” where manufacturers and distributors can show off the latest and greatest and even supplement the clinic schedule continues to grow with two areas now (the offices in Young and Mallary). Clinic areas on the Show Floor also continue to grow. Just check out the Bar Mills area, the Scenic Express Area and the new Euro-East area to get an idea. Talk about learning how to do things! We continue to excel with the level of clinics that are now available!

As most of us will recognize, the children are the future of this hobby. We have tripled the size of our kid’s area…put barriers around it and carpeted the area as well so that it looks like a great place to play. With 4 brio-style train “play stations” and two running display layouts, it is a great place to visit. Hold on to your hats, Ladies and Gents, because the next item is also for kids…an indoor riding train, available in the Mallary Complex for kids of all ages to ride!

For our exhibitors, there is a new lounge, in an upstairs restaurant in the BLC, exclusively for exhibitors (admission by show badge only), that will allow our exhibitors to bypass the long lines of folks attending the show. We also will be having the exhibitor’s dinner on Saturday evening, allowing our exhibitors a place to relax while the crowd disperses. By the way, any registered volunteer is a guest of the ARS and can attend at no charge. If you are a volunteer at the Show, please join us for a great dinner.

One final note worthy of mentioning is that of this year’s affiliation with the Baystate Children’s Hospital and Baystate Health Foundation. Once again, we are holding a special raffle to raise money for the Children’s Hospital. The Amherst Railway Society is raffling off a 4 X 6 foot HO layout that we’ve all seen in magazines, called The Morgan Valley Railroad.” It is important to note that the entire layout was donated by our exhibitors…everything, from the bench-work to the trees, to the track to the power-pack…everything, was supplied by our friends and exhibitors. All monies raised will go directly to the Baystate Health Foundation. This layout was completed by our members and we are proud to be assisting our friends and neighbors at Baystate. We are also inviting “kids with cancer” to attend our Show as our guests, so you may see some of them at our Show. We had approximately 20 guests at last year’s show, accompanied by their parents and in some cases, their health care attendants. It was a great thing to see!

I have said this before and I have no problem saying it again: These are the moments that make this all worthwhile for me. I remain proud to be a part of what we do. I look forward to seeing you at this year’s Railroad Hobby Show!!!

John Sacerdote, Show Director

{Editor’s note: UConn Women’s Basketball Alumna, (who happens to have the same name as the layout), Morgan Valley, has promised some items, including a signed poster of the 2003 National Championship team, to assist with the Children’s Hospital Fundraiser. Ms. Valley is now an assistant coach at Towson University.}

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

From the Clerk

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

Those of you that renewed this fall, but only for one year, your membership is expiring again.

Many of you have asked why we request your email address. Sometimes there is information that we think you would want to have before the next ARS mailing, or the information will be out of date by the next mailing. For example the following email was sent to the ARS membership on Dec 24. Email the clerk at if you didn’t get this message and want to receive similar messages, and the electronic version of the newsletter in the future:

The ARS currently has 388 members.  189 of those members have not provided an email address, and will not get the notice before the sale.  The next mailing is due to go to the post office the day of the sale.  Please note that your response should go to not back to my email address.

Estate Collection For Sale 

The Amherst Railway Society is assisting in an estate sale.  We have already viewed this collection and find it to be what we consider and classify as "a gold mine!"  This collection will be sold at the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show.  However, the collection will be open to Amherst Railway Society members ONLY in an advance preview and sale on Saturday, January 9, 2010 with a snow date of the following Saturday (January 16, 2010).  The preview sale will be at prices starting at 50% off for most items.  All items were NEW when purchased - this was a true collection and all items have never been used or even opened!  There is a 64 page PDF inventory list that we will send to you upon request but here are some of the highlights of the collection:

  • over 300 videos all new and unopened (These have already been secured for the ARS library!)
  • everything is HO scale (except where noted)
  • over 1000 cars of various manufacturers, types and road names (check the inventory list)
  • over 200 locos (many are Athearn Genesis, Broadway Ltd and others)
  • cornerstone kits
  • loads for the cars, many and unopened.
  • on and on...check the inventory list!
  • Huge collection of die cast metal cars and trucks 


These items will be sold on a first come, first serve basis.  Bring cash or a local check.  Nothing can be reserved in advance.  Open house will be from 10 am to 2pm and we will announce the location shortly before that Saturday.  You must call or email to reserve your spot at the preview.  Contact John Sacerdote at 860-243-0811 or RSVP via email at .  Space is limited folks, so please RSVP ASAP.

From the Librarian

Several people still have tapes that were due at the June 2009 business meeting.

Please bring them to the January meeting, or make arrangements to have someone return them for you.

Also, if you have items that you took out this fall and you are finished using them, please bring them as well.

Your help is needed at the 2010 Railroad Hobby Show. Click this link for the volunteer form.


Happy New Year from the Amherst Belt Lines!

We closed out 2009 with the Belt Lines attending the New England Model Train Expo in Marlborough, MA, sponsored by the HUB Division of the NMRA®, at the beginning of December. We assembled a medium size layout of 24 feet by 44 feet, and could have used more room! For those who are interested, the track plan will be posted on the web.

The next event is our own show at the Big E. This year’s layout promises to be one of the largest we have assembled recently, and additional space has been allocated from the Show Committee to accommodate the layout. Many new modules will make their debut this year, with some older modules that haven’t been in the layout for several years returning. If you are looking for something to do during setup on Friday, stop by the Belt Lines in the Better Living Center – we can probably find something for you to do. If you’d like to run a train (or two) during the show, stop on by and we’ll get a throttle in your hand, or just stop by to see what has changed. One way or another, we hope to see you at the show.

After we are done with the Railroad Hobby Show, the Worcester Model Railroaders’ Show in Auburn, MA will be next on our plate. The Belt Lines brings a small layout to this one day show at the Auburn Elks Club. Setup starts at 7AM on Sunday with the show starting at 10AM! The show has expanded to use both levels of the Elks Club, and is a great little show to attend if you are looking for something to do to cure your cabin fever at the end of February. This year the show is February 28 and will run from 10AM to 4PM. Come on out and help support our fellow modelers!

Email address:

Show Schedule Update

The Belt Lines attends about six shows per year from September through April. Our schedule as we know it through April of this year 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 winter and spring seasons in 2010:

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

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