Amherst Railway Society

October, 2011

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Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show
 Amherst Belt Lines

Amherst Railway Society

October, 2011
Meeting Announcement

This month's meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 8:00 p.m. at the Amherst Middle School Auditorium.

"Freight Car Futures"

by Dan Bigda

2012 Railroad Hobby Show dates:
January 28 & 29, 2012

The Largest Boxcar in the World

Attendance at last month's meeting, “Rail Transit in the Pioneer Valley” by Dana Roscoe, was 81 people.

Dan Bigda will begin his talk relating his personal experiences at Quaboag Transfer, to the Boston & Maine RR / Guilford, The Army, Railway Design Associates, then getting hired into Lionel Trains, and then starting his own railcar design business which led to leasing rail cars. He will spend the rest of his time on the state of the industry today and what is to come, including new designs for railcars. An example of his company's products is the largest boxcar in the world, pictured at right. (This program will include oral transliteration for the hearing impaired.)

Boxcar Services founder and president Daniel Bigda began his rail industry experience with Quaboag Transfer in Massachusetts, where he performed early-morning lumber car switching at their transfer facility. He moved to the Central Vermont Railroad to work in the section gang, later joining the Boston and Maine Railroad (now part of the Guilford Rail System) where he earned the positions of conductor and engineer.

Dan then left the rail industry for a tour of duty in the U.S. Army, followed by college. Moving into design, Dan worked in the consumer goods industry, holding prominent roles in product design, marketing and creative services.

Combining that experience with his foundation in railroading, Dan started HLW in 1999, emphasizing innovation in new railcar technologies and designs. In 2003 Dan expanded his offerings with the founding of Boxcar Services as a next-generation railcar fleet and leasing concern.

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

IIf your email, or mail envelope says 2011, your membership expired June 30, 2011. 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. Student Membership is free but requires letting us know your current school, and your grade, or year of graduation. A one year renewal is $20. Three years is $50. You can get a “Free” year with a 5 year renewal at $80. (Couple rates are: one year $40 ; three years $100 ; or five years for $160)

Attendance last year averaged 80 people per meeting.

Please see the Calendar for remaining meetings this year.

LAYOUT CONTEST for anyone born on or after Feb 1, 1996

A reminder about the U16 layout building contest for our 2012 Show. “U16” stands for “Under 16 years old.” This is for the kids! Many prizes and even educational scholarship money will be awarded to the winners. Please check out the contest rules, how to enter, and anything else you would need to know by visiting the web site. Entries will be a part of the 2012 Show. It should be a great time! You may download the contest rules here.

The deadline for registration is October 15, 2011

<show logo>Message from the Show Director:

Where are we now?

Here's the scoop: We are in full swing. All 500 contracts are out the door and have been for 2 months. We are approaching the first deadline of having contracts back to us and probably – by the time you read this in print – that deadline will be upon us. We then start assigning table space to those that have responded early.

In conjunction with this process, we are already re-designing the layout of the four buildings based upon new ideas, and improvements over last year. Once again, I can say with excitement, that the new changes will be amazing. Let me give you just a small taste of what is happening: The clinics area in the Young Building is moving, the famous bleachers area will be gone. The Reception Center and ARS Store is moving. There will be a stage erected in the BLC to accommodate the live band that will be playing 4 sets a day. BTW, we also need that stage to present some special awards this year…you'll see! And, there's so much more. You'll hear about them as the Show continues to take shape for the 2012 season!

Next up is my annual plea for volunteers. The one constant that we have is the fact that our Show is only as good as the number of volunteers that we have to run it. With this year's new configuration, we need more volunteers than ever. Even if you can only put in 2 hours, we want you! Please, if you can help, fill out this year's volunteer form. Duties include simple tasks like door man, unfolding tables, to hanging number signs on posts, to checking badges to distributing flyers to escorting exhibitors to their area. If you are not sure, just come on down and we will get you an assignment. Please contact Doug Moore if you are interested.

Consider this paragraph a reminder (I've used it before, but to those that have come to volunteer on these days, they have agreed that there is nothing like it!!!) …please try to get there on either Thursday or Friday. There is a genuine mystique that has grown around the setup of the show. The amount of early “horse-trading” that goes on with the exhibitors and the volunteers is a site to behold. The faster an exhibitor gets set up, the quicker the trading begins. It's actually become a tradition and a great deal of fun – and all before the show opens! Exhibitors actually look forward to it and press us to get in earlier and earlier each year – they know that it gives them more time to sell! Remember, during Show set up, parking is free.

So, please consider joining us for the Show setup and breakdown, sign up as a volunteer. Think about the fact that this show is one of the best and biggest shows in the United States…you play a big role it that…Volunteer Today!!!

John Sacerdote, Show Director

One of our members made a donation for the June 2012 silent auction. They also have a few items in a larger upcoming “live” auction.
Members of the Amherst Railway Society may be interested in the other items in that auction.
Preview hours Friday 10/21/2011 11:00 am – 8:00 pm and Saturday 10/22/2011 8:00 am – 10:30 am
Live Railroadiana Auction Saturday October 22, 2011 – 10:30 AM
To be held at:
Brookline Auction Gallery LLC Route 130, Brookline, New Hampshire 603-673-4474
in conjunction with Scott Czaja as Sales Manager
Feel free to contact: if you have questions or need information on advance bidding.

<abel logo>From the AMHERST BELT LINES…

Up Next…Bedford!

The next show the Belt Lines will be headed for is the Bedford Boomer‟s 29th Annual Railroad Exhibition. Unlike most of the shows we attend, this one is unique in that it is display only – NO vendors. The show is Sunday November 6, 2011 from 10:00AM to 4:00PM at the McKelvie Intermediate School in Bedford, New Hampshire. There is no admission charge, but donations are always welcome.

The show offers many different things for exhibitors and attendees alike including a module/layout contest, photo contest and clinics. Last year a 7-1/2” gauge "live steam" timesaver layout was setup in one of the school corridors and exhibitors working as two man crews were given the opportunity solve their own switching problem with one crew member "on the ground" and another on the locomotive! The Belt Lines has spent Saturday night operating on various layouts around the Manchester, NH area.

Setup of the layout will begin Friday night and continue on Saturday. If you are interested in participating at the show, please let Alan, Clark or Jim know right away.

Email address:

Show Schedule Update for 2011-2012

The Belt Lines attends about six shows per year from September through April. Our schedule for 2011-2012 as we know it today is below. We have received formal invitations to both the Boomer's and our own show, but expect to attend the others. If you would like to mark your calendars for shows we will be attending, here are the dates for the fall season in 2011 and our start on 2012:

  • November 6, 2011: Bedford Boomer's 29th Annual Railroad Exhibition – Bedford, NH.
  • December 3 and 4, 2011: New England Model Train Expo – Marlborough, MA.
  • January 28-29, 2012: Amherst Railway Society, Inc. Railroad Hobby Show – West Springfield, MA.

We expect that we will hear from the Worcester Model Railroad Club for their show in Auburn, MA in February, and also from the Nashua Valley Railroad Association about their show in Shirley, MA in April. We will publish additional details as invitations are sent to the Belt Lines.

Thats all for this month. Remember… Modular Railroading is Fun!

From the Trip Director:

Calendar of Trips

airs rail logo.pngvolunteer ARS.pngairs rail logo.png

to Volunteer for the 

Amherst Railway Society
2012 Railroad Hobby Show

We need volunteers who are serious about helping with the Largest Show in North America! Please click here to complete the sign-up form and return to us ASAP.

All Volunteers are eligible for
Available Jobs Include:


  • -Signs, including table numbers (mostly in the am)
  • -Tables and chair set-up and placement (all day long; coordinate with Boy Scouts in evening)
  • -door monitor/traffic control (all day long, but in shifts)


  • -door monitor/traffic control (all day long, but in shifts)
  • -tables set-up and placement (Friday am only)
  • -barrier providers/set-up (all day long, but in shifts)
  • -hands on volunteers
    • -kids layout setup and breakdown
    • -kids layout operation
    • -test tracks
    • -time savers
  • -reception center set up
  • -Floor Manager (monitor vendors and assist and supervise with set up)


  • -reception centers (greetings)
  • -post office (Stroh bldg)
  • -hands on layout operation and supervision
  • -door monitor/traffic control (extras on doors 3,5,7 in BLC)
  • -treasury (special volunteers requiring approval)
  • -Floor Manager (monitor vendors and assist public during show)

CLOSE JOBS AVAILABLE (Sunday afternoon)

  • -door monitor/traffic control/door guard (no vehicles until notice; in shifts)
  • -break down of reception center (late afternoon)
  • -collection of signs, numbers, easels, homasote boards, AV equipment (late afternoon)
  • -Boy Scouts assistance and coordination of table and chair breakdown (late afternoon)

For more information or to return the volunteer form, contact:

Doug Moore, Coordinator at
or call the show office at 413-267-4555
or send your form to: Amherst Railway Society:
P.O. Box 247
Monson, MA 01057-0247
or just bring your completed form to the Next Meeting!!!

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

Copyright (c)2011 Amherst Railway Society