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

Sam Berliner III presents "Railroading at Naval Ammunition Piers"

Old friend Sam Berliner, III returns with his program, rescheduled from September, that examines some railroad facilities that are rarely seen, even by railfans. There was, and in some cases still is, very significant railroad action at Naval Weapons Stations (NWS) and Military Ocean Terminals (MOT). Ammunition (bombs, shells, torpedoes, and other explosives) heading out of the country are delivered by rail to specialized port facilities for storage and off-loading onto warships or freighters.

NWS EarleThe NWSs and MOTs had elaborate RR facilities and were located in isolated areas all along both coasts. We will focus primarily on the extant NWS Earle in northern New Jersey and NWS Concord in the Bay area of California, as well as several other major facilities, and touch on catastrophic disasters at these stations such as Black Tom in New York harbor and Port Chicago in the Bay area. We'll dwell on the complex trackage, see the highly-specialized white Navy boxcars that carried and stored ammo, the locos that hauled them, the shops that repaired them, and touch briefly on modeling possibilities.

Sam, a native Manhattanite, spent half of his early summers on Long Island and was a permanent resident there from 1945 until moving to West Medford in 2010. He has been interested in heavy equipment and especially railroads since early childhood. Sam's huge web site (over 500 pages, dating back to 1996) primarily covers railroads, old autos, the 1908-38 Long Island Motor Parkway, and ultrasonics.

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

'The Great East Thompson Four-Train Wreck'

East Thompson train wreckThe Great East Thompson Four-Train Wreck of 1891 is still renowned in local history. Not many wrecks have involved so many trains. Early on the dark, cold, foggy morning of December 4, 1891, the dispatcher in Putnam, Connecticut put the Boston Freight on the westbound main line, so that the eastbound Long Island and Eastern States Express could pass without delay. In East Thompson, the Boston Freight collided with the Southbridge Local, spewing wreckage all over the two main lines. The Express collided with the wreckage. It was being closely followed by the Long Island Boat Train, which ran into the rear Pullman car of the Express. Wreckage everywhere!

While a lot of the facts are indisputable, there are still areas where we are looking for definitive answers. Mass Bay RRE Director Tom Chase will tell the story of the wreck, showing all the pictures we have. He’ll mention areas of controversy, and point to directions for future research.

Tom Chase grew up in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, near the Highland Branch of the Boston & Albany, which he regularly rode during his early years. One of his favorite activities was going over to the B & A mainline in Newton and watching whatever was going through, including the last steam in 1951. He majored in conservation of art at Oberlin College, did graduate work at New York University's Institute of Fine Art, and had a distinguished career in conservation and restoration of Oriental Art at the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery. Since retirement to Woodstock, Connecticut he has gone back to trains, and is now a member of many railfan organizations, and Curator of the Ramsdell Transportation Collection of the Thompson (CT) Historical Society.

Thursday, April 18, 7:00 PM at the Pearl Street Restaurant, 53 Summer Street, Malden, MA:

Dinner in the Depot:
'The Future of Maine Narrow-Gauge Railroading'
Presented by the Wiscasset, Waterville Farmington Railway Museum and the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad

Parlor car RangeleyThe face of 2-foot narrow-gauge railroading in Maine changed dramatically in late January with the announcement that the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum and the Wiscasset Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum will collaborate on an exhibition to be called the “Narrow Gauge Railway Collection.”

The collaboration will see the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad's core collection, including the Rangeley, the only two-foot gauge parlor car ever built (right), moved to the WW&F's Sheepscot Station campus in Alna. There, an enhanced exhibition facility will include enhancements to existing structures to provide additional exhibition and display space and better visitor facilities.

The Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad will continue to operate its vintage 2-foot gauge trains along the Portland waterfront, with a track lease that has been extended to 2039.

WWF end of trackIn addition, the WW&F is pressing forward with its ‘Mountain Extension’ project, a multi-year effort to re-lay track on three-quarters of a mile of the original WW&F Railway's grade (Left: end of track laid in 2018). The extension is a scenic descent of a mountainside that brings the railway to the former Boston & Maine Railroad Howe pony truss bridge, installed by the museum over Trout Brook in 2018, and beyond to a new station adjacent to Maine Route 218. To support this effort, the WW&F is the 2019 recipient of the $10,000 H. Albert Webb Memorial Railroad Preservation Award.

Dave Buczkowski and Ed Lecuyer of the WW&F, along with Wesley Heinz and Jerry Angier from the MNG, will give us an update on these exciting developments, how they came about, and what the future holds for these two pillars of Maine narrow gauge railroad preservation. We look forward to seeing you in Malden!

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 limited to 56 guests! Additional seating will be available (reserve on form below) for guests who wish to attend the program without attending the buffet dinner. Mass Bay RRE members will be given preference for dinner & seating reservations through March 23, 2019.

Mass Bay RRE Members $35. Non-members $40.

Order Dinner reservations on line with Visa, MasterCard, Discover or AMEX.

Download a printable, mail-in order form.

Don't delay - order today! Seats are selling fast!

Meeting speakers always wanted! We are now developing our Spring & Summer 2019 program of speakers. To offer or suggest a program, contact us at info@massbayrre.org or call us at 978-470-2066.

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

Tuesday, March 5, 2019:  7:00 PM: MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome. (No Callboy mailing in September!)
Tuesday, April 2, 2019:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing session; Board Meeting at 8:00 PM. No program.
Tuesday, May 7, 2019:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing session; 7:00 PM: MEMBERS NIGHT - Member slides and videos welcome.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019:  7:00 PM: Callboy mailing session; 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 February 19, 2019