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Regular Meetings of Mass Bay RRE

Program Meetings are held, unless otherwise noted, at 8:00 PM on the Third Thursday of the month at the Union Church in Waban, 14 Collins Road, Newton, MA. These feature programs with speakers knowledgeable about railroad operations, history and travel. Upcoming programs are listed below.

On the first Tuesday of each month we hold a more informal social gathering: FIRST TUESDAY. This is where we usually prepare a trip flyer or our monthly newsletter, the Callboy, for mailing. These sessions are also held at the Union Church in Waban, starting rather casually about 7:00 PM and are usually followed by an impromptu slide show or video program unless there is a Board meeting or the work session runs unusually late. Members and non-members alike are welcome.

For last minute updates or meeting cancellations in bad weather, please call our information line at 978-470-2066.

Third Thursday Monthly Program Meetings
(Held at the Union Church in Waban unless otherwise noted.)

Be sure to join us for an informal Social Hour with light snacks and beverages,
starting at 7:00 PM before every Third Thursday program meeting!

Thursday, September 21, 2017, 7:30 PM at the Union Church in Waban:

Tom Chase presents ‘The B&A in the Ramsdell Collection’

The Ramsdell Transportation Collection of the Thompson, Connecticut Historical Society contains over 8000 photographs collected by Frank B. Ramsdell and his daughter Alice A. Ramsdell, ranging in date from the 1860s up to 1997. Frank was one of the four railfans who rescued Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington engine No. 9 and preserved it on his West Thompson farm. No. 9 has been beautifully and completely restored and is running at the WW&F Museum in Alna, Maine.

B&A 557While the collection concentrates on the New Haven Railroad, there are 293 items from the Boston and Albany. The program starts with a couple of photographs of the RRE's last steam excursion on the New Haven on April 27, 1952. These were taken at South Station - the B&A connection - and then we'll segue into a short movie of the New Haven excursion.

Then we'll look at predecessor railroads to the B&A: Boston & Worcester, Springfield Athol & Northeastern, and the Western Railroad. Both the Western and the early Boston & Albany had a number of “Eddy clocks” (locomotives built by Wilson Eddy), and we have some nice pictures.
Locomotives through the late 19th century come next. and then post-1900 locomotives by wheel arrangement. These include photographs of engines at the Beacon Yard roundhouse, and one of a B&A Pacific wrecked in somebody's back garden – help identifying this one will be appreciated! A selection of stations follows, and then a nice set showing B&A 557 and the RRE B&A and B&M fantrip of May 26, 1935 up the Athol branch, which was soon to be flooded by the Quabbin Reservoir. We end with some movie footage of a Central Vermont excursion in 1956 with a B&A RS-3 on the diamond at Palmer.

Tom Chase grew up in Newton Centre near the Highland Branch, which he regularly rode during his teenage years. One of his favorite activities was going over to the B&A mainline and watching whatever was going through. In 1958 he boarded the New England States at Worcester Union Station bound for Elyria, Ohio and four years at Oberlin College. He had a distinguished career in conservation and restoration of Oriental Art at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery, but since his retirement to Woodstock, Connecticut he has gone back to trains, and is now a Director of Mass Bay RRE, as well as Assistant Curator of the Ramsdell Transportation Collection of the Thompson Historical Society.

Note earlier 7:30 PM start time for August & September meetings ONLY!

Thursday, October 17, 2017, 8:00 PM at the Union Church in Waban:

‘Loring Lawrence’s Cuban Adventure'

As we all know, there's a certain island 90 miles from U.S. shores, yet for decades it might as well have been 9000 miles or, for that matter, on the far side of the moon! President Obama's easing of restrictions finally placed Cuba within reach of U.S. citizens – provided you meet our government's criteria, namely one of ten accepted categories. For most of us, this category is "people-to-people" which most definitely excludes any thoughts of lounging on beaches and sipping daiquiris under a cabana!

For railway enthusiasts from other nations - Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan for instance - Cuba was a veritable magnet, the chief attraction being the sugar p1antations and their incredible collection of very venerable steam locomotives. I've traveled many times with enthusiast tours organized by (the British) PTG Tours and when they scheduled a comprehensive Cuban tour for February 2017, I wasted no time in sending a deposit. One could also book through Revelation Tours, an arm of Revelation Video of Akron, Ohio whose railway videos are often advertised in railway magazines.

Cuban RDCFor the majority of our group's travel, we enjoyed riding aboard Cuba's sole operable Budd RDC-1, which performed admirably. Gradually we covered numerous branches as well as the entire main line from Havana east to the second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, and from that point we continued east to the pleasant city of Guantanamo. We covered one branch riding in Romanian-built box cars masquerading as passenger “coaches.” One highlight was our visit to the major workshops at Moron, which specialize in Canadian and American-built diesel locomotives – the latter of course, dating from pre-Castro times.

Cuban steam locoThe real gems were, of course, the sugar cane plantations . Two, in particular, have gathered dozens of steam locomotives from closed mills, displaying them in reasonably decent condition. In addition, several closed mills keep steam locomotives for special trains and enthusiasts' excursions, and we enjoyed no less than five steam-hauled excursions, including opportunities for cab rides. The famous electrified Hershey Cuban still operates as well although a derailment a few hours earlier precluded our covering the entire line.

A gentle ambiance pervades the island, its towns and villages; life seems to move at a relaxed pace, accented by the clip-clop of horses' hooves, the sight of four-wheel bicycle taxis; bullock-drawn farm carts; venerable Spanish architecture and the legions of spotless 1950's American automobiles. Come to the program on October 19 and see what it's all about!

Thursday, November, 20 16, 8:00 PM at the Union Church in Waban:

‘Trackside with Justin Winiarz 2014 - 2016'

PanAm heritage lashupJustin Winiarz reprises his April presentation to the B&MRRHS, taking us through the New England states, New York, Pennsylvania and the Carolinas. Featured railroads include Pan Am Railways, the Conway Scenic, Vermont Railway, Central Maine and Quebec, Grafton & Upton and New Hampshire NorthCoast. Add the Norfolk & Southern steam program starring Nos. 611 and 765, along with shortlines and regionals in the Carolinas (operating U-18Bs), and this promises to be a very interesting show.

Photo at right: PanAm Railways heritage locomotive lashup, by Justin Winiarz.

Mass Bay RRE will hold its Annual Meeting and Election of Officers at 7:30 PM on November 16, before the start of the program meeting.

Meeting speakers always wanted! Brad Harding, Mass Bay RRE's Program Coordinator, is now developing our Winter 2018 program of speakers. To offer or suggest a program, email Brad at lbharding@verizon.net

 First Tuesday Callboy Mailing Meetings
(Held at the Union Church in Waban)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; Board Meeting at 8:00 PM. No program.
Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017:  7:00 PM:MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome.
No Callboy mailing in Sept.
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; Board Meeting at 8:00 PM. No program.
Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017:   7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; 8:00 PM: MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome.
Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; Board Meeting at 8:00 PM. No program.

Meeting Location

MBRRE Program Meetings are usually held at the Union Church at 14 Collins Road (corner of Beacon Street), Waban, MA, (near the Waban MBTA stop on the Green Line):

If you are arriving on the T, exit the station onto Beacon St.; the Church is adjacent to the Waban Station.

If you are driving, take Exit 21 East off Route 128 (I-95) onto Rte. 16 (Washington St.). At the first traffic light east of 128 fork right onto Beacon St. and go 0.9 mile. The Union Church is on the right just before Beacon Street jogs to the left over the Green Line. If the church lot is full you may park on the street or in the Waban Station parking lot. CLICK FOR MAP

Check the Callboy or the website to confirm date, time, and location of meetings.


Mass Bay RRE members currently volunteer their time and skills to:
             --Serve as Officers and Directors (we have no paid employees)
             --Organize, prepare for and staff our excursion trains
             --Write for, edit and produce our Callboy newsletter
             --Arrange our program meetings and special events
             --Maintain and constantly improve our website
             --Tell the media and the public about our trips, meetings and events
             --Handle our “back office” financial, legal and corporate administration

We always welcome new volunteers. With today’s expanded e-communications, more RRE members find they can contribute from home or work locations beyond the Boston area. Join us in keeping Mass Bay RRE one of the most active railfan groups in New England!

To Volunteer, Contact Us:

Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts, Inc.
PO Box 4245
Andover, MA 01810-0814, or

Information Line 978-470-2066

Email: info@massbayrre.org or visit our "Contact Us" page.

Site maintenance by members of Mass Bay RRE.
Page updated on September 8, 2017