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Amherst Railway Society

March 2011
(preliminary edition)

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Amherst Railway Society
March 15, 2011
Meeting Announcement

The March meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School Cafeteria. Note the change in meeting room, and DAYLIGHT SAVINGS.

"Connecticut River Railroads" by Ira Laby

The slide show will begin in Springfield MA, and will encompass from the late 1950’s through the next 40 or so years. Springfield and

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Holyoke will be covered, as will various towns to the north, with some time spent while Mr. Laby was working on a dam in Claremont, NH. A few slides north of there will round out the program, along with some of the Claremont & Concord Railway.

Ira Laby’s interest in trains dates from when he was 4 or 5 years old, in the mid 1930’s. His father was the manager of the Paramount Theater in Springfield, one side of which faced the embankment leading to Union Station. His older brother and he did not always get along, and his mother found it prudent to ship one of the other boy off with their father, when he came home for lunch, to spend the afternoon in the theater.

His brother ran up and down the aisles and terrorized the ushers; Ira discovered that if he sat in the assistant manager’s office quietly, he could watch trains right up at the same level as the office. Very shortly, the elder Mr. Laby refused to take Ira’s brother, and Ira got a lot of train watching, back when there would be some movement every few minutes. 

Ira’s association with the Amherst Railway Society goes back to when the meetings were held at the University of Massachusetts.

This program was originally scheduled for January but was postponed until tonight because of snow.

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 your tax deductions

From the Clerk

If your email, or mail envelope says 2011, your membership expires this coming June 30. Please remember that ARS memberships expire at the end of June, the year of your membership expiration. A one year membership is good for one show pass. Members that joined in the fall of 2010 for a one year membership need to renew when their membership expires in June. If your membership renewal was not processed in time to receive the January 2011 newsletter, the January 2011 show will not count as one of the shows on your membership.
Upcoming Amherst Railway Society Programs (subject to change)

Upcoming Amherst Railway Society Programs (subject to change)

  • April 19 “F40 Historical Society” by Rowan C. de la Barre,
  • May 17 “Lining Towers: Precision Surveying in the Construction of the Hoosac Tunnel" by Jerry Kelley
  • June 21 “Annual Business meeting, and silent auction. “Building a Railroad Museum." by Bob LaMay

Attendance this year

  • (September 2010) New Age of New England Railroading " by Kevin Burkholder (94)
  • (October 2010) Railroading Along the Thames River in Conn by Tom Nanos (88)
  • (November 2010) “NYC – Subways and Trolleys – Part 2." by Richard J. Solomon (69)
  • (January 2011) Show canceled for weather, attendance not taken. Our apologies to those that didn’t get the word that the meeting was canceled.

From the President:

A hearty THANKS to all of you who helped make the recent Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show a GREAT success!!!

An apology from the officers and directors for not having our act together when we canceled the January meeting due to the snow storm...
Hopefully we now have the mechanism to get our cancellation on the local TV stations and their websites...

Connecticut NBC 30
Springfield NBC WWLP 22

Just a reminder... The MARCH meeting is in the MIDDLE SCHOOL CAFETERIA...

Amtrak has declared Saturday, May 7th as National Train Day...

Mass Bay has several trips on the horizon:

  • Sat, Apr 9th Old Colony and Newport Special
  • Sat, May 14th Day Cape Codder II
  • Sun, Jul 31st North Country Steam
  • Sat, Jan 7th, 2012 Steam in the Snow
  • Full info is available at:

2008 Show Logo.jpegMessage from the Show Director:

Exactly one year ago, I was writing a very similar debrief letter to all our members. I am so sure that it was only 3-4 months ago…a year is hard to believe. This year, our attendance once again broke the 20K mark….we seem to be doing that consistently. That means many things to me as Show Director, but what it really means is that we get to offer that many more grants to all those deserving
folks out there that think like us…those folks that want to preserve, restore as well as educate
individuals with regard to railroads!

Fine tuning never ends. We have an excellent handle on the traffic flow, seemingly having that perfected from this past year. Our exhibitors tell us that it was much more even this year and we have heard from many that they had a record year in sales. That’s great to hear. We have some work to do with regard to the Reception Center and a few other items, but we continue to learn.

I try to make the rounds at least two or three times a day and found it much easier to get around compared to last year…I am still getting compliments about the children’s area – all you needed to do was pass by there at any time of the day…it was certainly jammed. Clinics continue to grow as well as manufacturers meetings. In fact, they have grown to the point of our need to do something a bit more organized in the future. We have some great ideas for next year.

The 1/87 Club was again a huge success, with their new configuration and larger space…They intend to make our Show their National Conference next year….that’s quite a compliment!

This year, the railroadhobbyshow web site had over 170,000 visitors….that’s a 250% increase over last year! After the Show, there were over 25 different YouTube and other videos out there. People continue to know more and more about the Amherst Railway Society…and that’s great to see.

For our 2011 Show, early indicators are that we will once again, be able to give away approximately the same amount in grant money as last year. Organizations will be able to continue with their programs of restoration and education of railroading in the US. For the third year in a row, we were able to raise over $3,000.00 for the Baystate Children’s Hospital. And, to add even more, thanks to the programs that ExactRail has done in conjunction with the Amherst Railway Society and the folks at Baystate.

We were able to take advanced ticket sales again, this year having more than 2 times the amount from last year with over 1500 advanced ticket sales!

Highlights this year that standout in my mind are the Bachmann Exhibit, the Hall of Fame, and especially the Bar Mills Exhibit….that was quite a set up this year…talk about first class! Our own Amherst Belt Lines modular layout continues to grow as more folks join and bring modules to the Show…once again the guys were boasting their biggest and best layout ever, again, complete with EngineCAM, always a favorite. Winners of this year’s “Best in Show” awards included the Narragansett folks and their HOn30 layout, a module in the Central New York Modelers layout and a module in the Dry Hill Model Railroad Club…congrats to all!

Finally, get ready for our fourth annual silent auction! Again, we have accumulated many interesting things, from power packs to locos, to collections to books, kits and more. In keeping with our tradition, the auction will be at the beginning of the final meeting of the season. We were able to raise an average of about $800.00 these past three years! I am looking forward to it once again!

As always, I encourage anyone with any ideas, thoughts for the show, possible new exhibitors – you name it, we would love to hear from you.

John Sacerdote, Show Director

Amherst Belt Lines Logo

Message from the Amherst Belt Lines:

Thank You!

This is the first newsletter since the Railroad Hobby Show in January, and our first opportunity to say “Thanks!” to everyone who helped with the Belt Lines layout. Getting such a large layout up and running for the show is a massive undertaking and all the volunteers who come out to help are really appreciated. Setup went very smoothly, and operation on Saturday and Sunday went very well indeed! There were a number of new modules, and a promise for more in 2012! The layout ran the entire weekend under radio rather than tethered cabs and it is always a pleasure not to trip over someone’s cable while moving around the layout. Thanks to all who participated.

The Belt Lines has returned from it’s fifth show of the season as this is being written. The Worcester Model Railroader’s Model Railroad Show and Sale was held at the Auburn Elks Club on Sunday, February 27, 2011. The Amherst Belt Lines has had a standing invitation at this show since we were first invited in 1999. Twelve years now of getting the layout to the show site at 7AM on Sunday morning and having it running by 10AM. The show has been a great show and we are honored to be invited back every year. Thanks go out to Ralph Kimball and the Worcester Model Railroaders for the ever more popular show!

One Show Left This Season…
The final show of the 2010-2011 season will be the Nashua Valley Railroad Association Railfair 2011 on Sunday, April 10, 2011. Setup will start on Saturday at the Shirley Middle School in Shirley, MA. The school is not far from their club house and we have stopped by to see the progress on their layout in years past and can’t imagine that this year would be too different! If you want to attend the show with the Belt Lines – to help out with setup and operation, or any aspect of the show – let Clark, Alan or Sudro know and we will get you the details. Our email is, and all three of us will get it. Remember, you don’t need a module to come to the show!

See you in Shirley! And remember: Modular Railroading is FUN!

Show Schedule Update
The Belt Lines attends about six shows per year from September through April. If you would like to mark your calendars for shows we will be attending, here are the dates for the rest of the 2010 – 2011 Season:

  • April 10, 2011: Nashua Valley Railroad Association RailFair 2011 – Shirley Middle School, Shirley, MA

From the 2011 Annual Bus Tour Former Central New England Railway:

The 2011 tour will be on Sunday April 3rd (rain or shine).

We will depart from the parking lot in Simsbury, CT.   This was one of the spots where we stopped in 2010.   The 2011 tour will cover the CNE between Simsbury and Norfolk, CT.  This section covers some well known wreck sites and also Satan's Kingdom and Winsted. Due to the narrow roads and lack of suitable parking in much of the general area of our tour, some locations can only be shown from the bus or in photographs.

As usual, everybody will get a copy of the 2011 CNE Tour guide book. We have a lot of ground to cover so we will have coffee and buses will roll at 9:00.

The cost of this year's tour will be $50.00 per person & payment should be made out to: Joseph Mato CNE 2011 Be sure to include your E-Mail address, or phone number, so we can contact you if we need to.

Send payment and contact information to:

REDDING, CT. 06896

Please note that any request for refunds must be received before March 3, 2011. If you can find a replacement to take your bus seat, that's OK just let us know who it is.  We have to know who to let onto the bus when the tour starts.

From the Trip Director:

On the MBRRE website is a 4 hour trip on the Old Colony and Newport Railroad, Sunday 4/9/2011: the 12:00 train from Newport to Hummocks and return, and should cover all trackage of the OC&N, returning about 4 PM at Newport.

  • Expect at least one photo stop, as with all MassBay trips.
  • MassBay is taking Ticket reservations.
  • Only 2 cars will be on this trip, so plan on purchasing your tickets early to avoid disappointment.

Train-only fare includes round-trip OC&N excursion only.

  • Adult MBRRE Member Train-only Fare $25*
  • Adult Non-member Train-only Fare $30
  • Child (Age 12 & under) Train-only Fare $15
  • Gerard’s Deluxe Box Lunch $11

* One discounted seat per member

Remember, Amherst Railway Society members get one ticket at MBRRE member prices, mention your Amherst membership when calling for tickets. See or call 978-470-2066. before 8:00 PM Eastern Time, for more information.

Upcoming trips (revised 3/6/11)

Date Event location Type For More Information
12-Mar MRR Milford NH Garden Society
19-Mar Model Railroad Show Hingham, MA
19&20-Mar MRR Milford NH Garden Society gathering
19&20-Mar Wes Warner Garden RR open house
2-Apr HUB Spring Training Marlboro, MA at holiday inn
3-Apr Zandri’s Model RR Show Wallingford, CT 203-926-1327
3-Apr CNE Simsbury, CT bus tour Bernie Rudberg []
9-Apr Mass Bay RRE Newport, RI

Cap Cod

trip: ‘OLD COLONY & NEWPORT SPECIAL’:  A four-hour, specially chartered train ride on the Old Colony & Newport Scenic Railroad along the shores of Narragansett Bay, covering all of the available operable track (about 12 miles) of this former Old Colony/New Haven/Penn Central rail line. Tickets now on sale! 617-489-5277 or 978-470-2066 Email: or
9-Apr Tour de Chooch SE-Mass Self Guided tour of SE Mass. and RI Model RR open houses.
10-Apr MRR Shirley show
1-May MRR CC Cape Cod MRR show
14-May MBRRE CC Day Cape Codder
5/21/2011 Chester on Track Chester, MA
5-Jun MRR Collinsville, CT Protoype MRR meet
20-Jun NRHS Tacoma, WA Convention
7/31/11 Mass Bay RRE Conway NH NORTH COUNTRY STEAM!! We return to the Conway Scenic Railroad, taking 0-6-0 steam engine 7470 all the way from North Conway to Hazens, the northmost point on the railroad, just outside of Whitefield. We’ll have several photo stops along the way. Save the date - tickets go on sale in May, 2011! 617-489-5277 or 978-470-2066 Email: or
18-Sep MRR Charlton MA P&W club show
14-Oct MRR Peabody MRR Clinics
1/7/12 Mass Bay RRE Conway NH ‘STEAM IN THE SNOW’ returns for its fifth big year! Our annual photographers’ special on the Conway Scenic Railroad, starring 0-6-0 steam engine 7470, steams out of North Conway bound for Notchland and a half-dozen photo runbys. 617-489-5277 or 978-470-2066 Email: or

Phil Johnson
Amherst Railway Soceity
Trip Director

Other Railway Related items of interest
Railway Art Gallery Announces New Artist Christian Oldham

Toronto, ON – The Railway Art Gallery is pleased to announce the addition of artist Christian Oldham into their online gallery.

Chris Oldham is a Seattle-based artist specializing in watercolor paintings of trains and railroad-related subjects.  He has been passionately interested in trains his entire life.  He has traveled to nearly every state and parts of Canada in pursuit of trains.  These personal experiences together with his extensive collection of books and photographs give him the ability to paint his subjects with a high degree of accuracy. Chris is a self-taught artist.  Following a career as an attorney, he began painting full time in 2008.  His work has appeared on a magazine cover and has been exhibited in juried national watercolor shows.

“Painting trains allows me to combine several of my greatest personal interests:  railroading, history and art,” states Christian. “Using my knowledge of trains and research materials as necessary, I portray my subjects accurately, but I don’t attempt to paint every rivet, and I strive to keep my work in the realm of fine art.”

Link to online portfolio of available works by Christian Oldham through the Railway Art Gallery:

Link to Christian Oldham’s brochure (PDF) showing available and past works:

New England Railfair, Shirley, MA

DATE: Sunday, April 10, 2011
TIME: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
PLACE: Shirley Middle School
1 Hospital Road, Shirley MA

$5.00 Adults
$3.00 Seniors and teens (12-18)
FREE under 12

Download the Flyer

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

Copyright (c)2010 Amherst Railway Society