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Amherst Railway Society

March, 2012

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Amherst Railway Society

March, 2012
Meeting Announcement

This month's meeting of the Amherst Railway Society is 8 pm EDT Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at the Amherst Middle School Auditorium.

“ALCO Heritage Museum Phase 1 Design”
by James F. Cesare III

Jim graduated from New York Institute of Technology with a BA in Architecture in 1986. He has been in the Architectural profession for over 35 years, all of which has been in the New York Capital District. As a train enthusiast for over 40 years, and someone that enjoys history very much, when he heard about the impending sale of the American Locomotive Company property on the Mohawk River in Schenectady and the plan to tear down the buildings, Jim was compelled to become involved and to try to stop the destruction of that significant piece of Schenectady's history. Jim will discuss "the rest of the story" behind the creation of the ALCO Heritage Museum, which will open to the public on June 10, 2012.

2013 Railroad Hobby Show dates:
January 26 & 27, 2013

A member of the railway society is selling a railroadiana collection April 21. The auction includes items from other people.

Windham High School
355 High St., Willimantic, CT.
10 AM - 4 PM.

Adm. $6. Info: 860-872-2240; Sponsored by Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum This is their annual fundraiser. Not only do they have tables at our show, but some of our hardest working volunteers are also CT EAST volunteers.

From the Clerk

If your mailing label, or membership card says "2012" your membership will be expiring in a few months. Memberships expire on June 30 of the year listed. Current student members do not have to wait until next school year to request a renewal of their free student memberships. Regular adult memberships are $20 for one year, $50 for three years, or $80 for five years. The five year membership renewal is equal to one free year. See membership card for date membership expires.

Please keep your membership card in a safe place where you can find it when you need it. It provides discounts at participating museums, like the Shelbourne Falls Trolley Museum, and is also needed to take advantage of the new program mentioned under 'Discount for ARS members' below.

Attendance last year averaged 80 people per meeting

  • September 2011 (81) “Rail Transit in the Pioneer Valley " by Dana Roscoe
  • October 2011 (74) “Freight Car Futures” by Dan Bigda
  • November 2011 (78) “Hurricane Irene vs. New England Central RR Disaster and Recovery " by Charles Hunter
  • January 2012 (77) "Museum Trains in Germany & Denmark" by Joshua Redenz

Remaining meetings this year

  • (April 17, 2012) "Boston & Maine Operations---Sept. 1950" by George & Kathy Melvin
  • (May 15, 2012) "A Decade of Railroads ----the 1990's" by Buddy Winniarz
  • (June 19, 2012) “A Slice of the Cheshire" by Jim Dufour

<show logo>Message from the Show Director:

Another year, another Show. It is amazing to me how fast it comes and goes. I am happy to report this year that we had record breaking attendance. No matter how you count it, we had the best numbers in our history. The gate was an actual 22,322 people. This does not count the 200 plus folks that we comp for various reasons (Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Baystate Children’s Hospital, etc.). If you count the total population of those that requested and paid for badges, that’s another 3500 people. So, to be completely accurate, there were 26,022 people at this past Show.

I think this could be attributed to the fact that we had "the perfect storm" for Show attendance. That is, there was no snow for skiing, the weather for the weekend was perfect (sunny but not too warm), and people were much more willing to spend money this year! Put those all together, and you have (more than I can count), exhibitors telling me that they had their best Show ever! Another indicator of that type of success is the amount of new exhibitors that contacted me just after the Show for the following year. Obviously, they have heard about how great it was and want to be a part of it. That’s great stuff for the Amherst Railway Society. I also got an above average number of emails from attendees telling us how much they enjoyed the Show. Again, music to our ears!

Some of the new items that we added were a huge success. The stage was critical to our rewarding grants to various groups. It really made a difference for those receiving as well as giving more people an opportunity to clearly see what we do. The band, "The Electric Trains," went over well will most vendors and certainly those listening and watching. An overwhelming success was Maggie the Circus Train clown, getting many compliments from the parents. Because of the Show, both Maggie and The Electric Trains already have secured other events. They will be returning next year to a larger stage with more seating capacity.

Fine tuning continues! Traffic flow is doing well; we have a couple of years now, with buildings that have not changed and that makes a huge difference. Our Reception Center was in a great spot this year and we will continue to "spruce up" that area as that is what most people first see when they enter the Show.

Clinics were much better organized this year with regard to location. They were basically all in the same area and easy to find. It shocked a few people in the Young Building to not have those huge bleachers in the corner, but the trade off was another 8-10 exhibitors with wall space in a high-traffic building.

The 1/87 Club – our Show within a Show – continues to do well, in fact, that they have asked for additional space for next year. They probably bring an extra 400-500 people to the Show because of their popularity.

This year, the railroadhobbyshow web site had over 53,000 visitors since November 1st People have come to rely upon the site as the source of info for the Show – exactly what it is supposed to do! In follow up to the Show, there were dozens and dozens of postings on YouTube, Horizon Hobbies, Facebook and so many more...all about the Show and the Amherst Railway Society....a great thing to see.

For our 2012 Show, it appears that we will be able to yet 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 fourth year in a row, we were able to raise over $3,000.00 for the Baystate Children’s Hospital. Our original promise to them was to make up a 14,000 dollar deficit that they developed a few years back. I am happy to report that as of this year, we have surpassed that amount and fast approaching the $20,000 mark for them so we over-delivered to be sure!

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, which is always a favorite.

Winners of this year’s "Best in Show" awards included the Quaboag Valley Railroaders Modular Group layout, a module in the Valley HO Trak layout and a module in the Berkshire & Mohawk group (details best left out in this case!)...congrats to all!

Finally, get ready for our fifth 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. Last year’s record will be hard to beat as we made approximately $4,000.00. That will be hard to beat this year! But, I look forward to trying!

As I say every year at this times, 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

Message from the President:

Over the years we have had many able volunteers. But we also need ONE right now... Brian who has been handling the audio/visual equipment for our monthly meetings has some other commitments on our meeting nights.

Therefore we need someone, YOU, to step forward and take on this task... The duties are to store the equipment between meetings, bring it to the meetings, set it up in the auditorium, take it down after the meetings and return it to storage until the next month... We would prefer someone in the Amherst area or one of the surrounding towns take on the task.

BTW -- We THANK Brian for his service for the last couple of years... If interested in helping YOUR society, please see me at the March meeting or send me an email at ...

Please note the flyer for the Mass Bay RRE trip: "Fall River Extra" at this link... ARS members use this link to buy tickets at member rate.... Must be an ARS member to receive the discount...

<abel logo>From the AMHERST BELT LINES…

And Then There was One...

Hard to believe that the 2011-2012 show season is drawing to a close, but here we are in March with only one show left. Our final show for the season will be the Nashua Valley Model Railroad Association’s RailFair ’12. The show will be held at the Shirley Middle School in Shirley, MA on April 1, 2012 from 10AM to 4PM. The Belt Lines will be setting up on Saturday, March 31 at a time as yet to be determined. Come on out and give us a hand with setup and operating the layout!

A tremendous "Thanks!" is due to everyone that helped out at the ARS Railroad Hobby Show in January and the Worcester Model Railroader’s show at the end of February. Both shows were a success and the layouts ran great! If you haven’t participated with the Belt Lines at one of these shows, please let Jim, Clark or Alan know you are interested, and we will make sure we get you on our mailing list.

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 all of these shows and are looking forward to attending each one. If you would like to mark your calendars for shows we will be attending, here are the remaining dates for the season in 2012:

  • April 1, 2012: Nashua Valley Model Railroad Association RailFair ’12 – Shirley Middle School, Shirley, MA.

That’s all for this month. Remember... Modular Railroading is Fun!

From the Trip Director

Please see the trip calendar or download the trip flyer.

Discount for ARS members:

Pioneer Valley Hobbies of 54 Myron Street, West Springfield, MA will start offering Amherst Railway Society members a discount on model railroading lines. Discounts will range from 10% to 20% off regular priced items.

A 10% discount will apply to modeling supplies, landscaping material, detailing items, buildings, track and rolling stock.

All HO and N scale locomotives will receive a 20% discount. For those items already discounted or on sale, the lower price will prevail.

Pioneer Valley Hobbies will also honor Walthers sale prices that are advertised in their monthly flyers, but please be sure to mention this when placing your order to ensure you get the sale price.

There are a few exceptions such as the O scale locomotives that have their own special pricing.

To receive your discounts please show your current membership card before the start of your transaction.

Connecticut Trolley Museum posted on Amherst Railway Society's Wall

"Dear Friends, we would appreciate if you would share this with your membership and affiliates. Perhaps with knowledge of the theft, scrap dealers may be more alert as to what they are receiving.

By ARS Member DAVID OWENS, (from his Staff Report for The Hartford Courant )

10:07 p.m. EST, February 20, 2012


The thieves who ripped copper and brass from street cars at the Connecticut Trolley Museum likely netted very little money compared with the damage they inflicted upon the historic vehicles.

Over the weekend(Feb 18-19,2012), volunteers at the nonprofit museum tried to get a sense of the loss in both irreplaceable fixtures and electrical components.

"We know it's in the tens of thousands of dollars," said Tim Lesniak of Somers, the secretary of the corporation that runs the museum.

The trolleys at the museum, including those damaged sometime between early January and this weekend, were saved from the scrapper. The three cars damaged, and a fourth under renovation from which parts were taken, were built between 1905 and 1924. Two are Connecticut Co. cars. One traveled the streets of New Haven and the second ran in Waterbury . The third was used to haul freight, not passengers, and traveled the rails of the Centerville, Albia and Southern Railway in Iowa. The fourth is a former Chicago Transit Authority elevated car.

The damage was discovered Saturday during a gathering of trolley museum volunteers from throughout the east. A group wanted to check out some of the trolleys in the collection and when they traveled to the car barn a short distance down the line from the museum's main campus the damage

and theft were discovered, Lesniak said. The car barn where the thefts took place was last checked in early January, he said.

Anyone with information, or who saw anything unusual on the museum's grounds, is asked to call East Windsor police at 860-292-8240.

The museum plans a fundraising drive to begin to try to make repairs. People can call the museum at 860-627-6540, or send donations to the Connecticut Trolley Museum, P.O. Box 360, East Windsor , CT 06088.

Amherst Trolley Station Update

At the January Meeting, Bill Venman provided information regarding a building from the Amherst Trolley system that is still being used as a bus shelter, at UMass Amherst. The administration at UMass wishes to tear down the station to allow easier access for construction of a new building Below is an update from Preserve UMass.

This is where matters stand now. We know that there are some people in the UMass administration who are determined to tear down the Station. Attempts were made in the past and were thwarted by some faculty members. It appears that construction of the nearby Teaching Facility provides an opportunity to try again. In this instance UMass is paired with the state Division of Capital Assets Management (DCAM) which is the actual manager of all state construction financed by state appropriations. DCAM takes direction from UMass but makes the final decisions on matters of cost.

DCAM/UMass gave to the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC) what we believe is an inflated cost estimate to preserve the Station as a means of getting rid of it. The fact that they got only one estimate – for the most expensive process – and no other estimates for alternative methods- is our indication of their intent.

We have received no acknowledgement from UMass or DCAM since sending them the alternative estimate ($75,000). We sent an email to UMass, DCAM, and MHC stating that it would be very unwise to harm the Station until there was official consideration of the alternative cost of moving the Station entire.

Joseph S. Larson, Ph.D. '56 G58
Corresponding Secretary
Preserve UMass
27 Arnold Road
Pelham, Massachusetts 01002-9757
413-256-8256Adm. $6. Info: 860-872-2240; Sponsored by Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum This is their annual fundraiser. Not only do they have tables at our show, but some of our hardest working volunteers are also CT EAST volunteers.

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

Copyright (c)2012 Amherst Railway Society