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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, April 19, 6:00 PM at the Pearl Street Restaurant, 53 Summer Street, Malden, MA:

‘Dinner in the Depot’ with guest speaker J.W. Swanberg
'Rails in America and Beyond'

Noted rail historian and photographer J.W. Swanberg is our featured speaker, bringing us an insider's look at American railroading over half a century, plus “world-wide coverage of almost every conceivable overseas rail operation.”

Roger Williams & GG-1Mr. Swanberg's talk is a photographic review of his career as a railroad official, photographer and historian. New England rail fans are well acquainted with his definitive book, New Haven Power, 1838-1968, published by Alvin F Staufer in 1988. Less familiar are his photographs of the end of steam on the Central Vermont, the Pennsy, and other roads. We’ll see color slides showing DL-109s, PA-1s, FA-1s, RS-3s and FL-9s in service, as well as some nice shots inside the coaches they are pulling. The show then moves on to the New York Central and other roads, foreign and domestic, and finally, on to Amtrak. Mr. Swanberg is not only a master railroad photographer, but he was also present at many unique moments in railroad history. This is truly a talk not to be missed!

J.W. SwanbergJ.W. Swanberg was born in 1939 and brought up near New Haven rails in Darien and Newtown, Conn. Aided by “incredibly supportive parents,” Jack was interested in railroads from his earliest years. He graduated from Hartford's Trinity College in 1961, and later became a New Haven locomotive fireman. In 1966 he joined the New York Central Railroad as an Operating Management trainee, later moving through supervisory positions with Penn Central, Conrail and Metro-North Commuter Railroad. He retired from the Naval Reserve in 1993 as a Captain, and retired from Metro-North in 2000 as Lead Trainmaster at New Haven, CT. He now lives in Guilford, CT, which is near the ex-New Haven Shore Line route to Boston.

Cocktails 6:00 PM ✧ Buffet Dinner 7:00 PM ✧ Program Starts at 8:00 PM
Garage parking is available just north of the restaurant on Summer Street.
Pearl Street Restaurant is just a short walk from the MBTA Orange Line & Commuter Rail Malden Center stop.

RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY! Dinner reservations are now SOLD OUT! Additional seating will be available at no charge for guests who wish to attend Mr. Swanberg’s program without attending the buffet dinner. Reserve program seats (recommended but not required) by calling 978-470-2066.

Guests who are not attending the buffet dinner are welcome to join us for the cocktail hour before dinner and may have dinner off the regular Pearl Street Menu in the restaurant before returning for Mr. Swanberg's program.

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

Robert Joseph Belletzkie presents “Depots by the Number”
The Legacy of Lewis Herbert Benton and Irving Newell Drake, 1910-1936

Groton CT stationIn 1910 Lewis Herbert Benton, a NYNH&H billing clerk, began photographing railroad stations in Southern New England. In the late 1920s he teamed up with Irving Drake and greatly expanded his range. While both Benton and Drake took photos on their trips, the fastidious Benton numbered his with captions on the negatives that appear to be ordered in one continuous sequence as they came off the film rolls. Due likely to personal reticence, there are only a few on which the caption includes “Photo by Benton” and, if we are lucky, a date. Not surprisingly then, Benton is often overlooked as the photographer, and he is even confused with the guy in his photos, who was Drake, seen with his car and often playing the foil for the camera. (Right: L. H. Benton photo of the Groton CT station, 8-23-1917 -- Collection of Robert Belletzkie)

The purpose of this talk is to give Benton the credit that has long been denied. Of the 4,000 or so photos he took until ca. 1935, the vast majority being railroad stations, the speaker has assembled a collection of about 1,000 images and is always seeking more. The presentation intends to display and reinforce Benton's guiding sentiment that historical railroad-station images were important and worth preserving as the depot was the focal point of business, communication and transportation in the community.

Robert Joseph Belletzkie retired in 2010 as a 30-year veteran of reference service in various public and academic libraries. In 2015 he facilitated the donation of the Ramsdell Transportation Collection to the East Thompson (CT) Historical Society and has served as curator ever since. Bob is a long-time member of the New Haven Railroad Historical and Technical Association, and also belongs to other railroad organizations and state and local historical societies.

Thursday, June 21, 8:00 PM at the Union Church in Waban:

Donald Nevin takes us “Across Canada on the Route of the Super Continental

VIA #3 EdmondonRetired merchant mariner and inveterate world traveller Donald Nevin returns in June with a slide program that chronicles his rail trip across Canada in March of 1988.

The journey starts with a ride on Amtrak’s Adirondack from Albany-Rensselaer, NY along the scenic west shore of Lake Champlain to Montreal. There we board Via Rail’s westbound train number 1, The Canadian. In Ottawa we alight to view our train and others in the station. The journey continues westward along the north shore of Lake Superior to Thunder Bay, Ontario, where we again alight to view the trains there.

From Thunder Bay our train continues west to Winnipeg, where we leave the Canadian Pacific and continue west over the Canadian National route to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Edmonton, Alberta.

In Edmonton we take a break from transcontinental travel to spend a day riding the then-new Light Rail Line, as well as some trolley coaches. We then continue west on Train No. 3 (above, at Edmonton), the Super Continental (or what was left of it) through the Canadian Rockies via Jasper and the down through the canyons of the Thompson and Frazier Rivers to Vancouver, BC. In Vancouver we’ll take a ride on the Skytrain before continuing west via bus and ferry to Victoria, where the show and our journey concludes.

Meeting speakers always wanted! Brad Harding, Mass Bay RRE's Program Coordinator, is now developing our Summer/Fall 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, May 1, 2018:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; 8:00 PM: MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome.
Tuesday, June 5, 2018:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; Board Meeting at 8:00 PM. No program.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018:   7:00 PM: Callboy mailing; 8:00 PM: MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome.

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 April 8, 2018