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Recent Third Thursday program meetings may be viewed at any time on the Mass Bay RRE Facebook page
or the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel.

This page lists Mass Bay RRE Third Thursday programs for 2022.
For programs presented in 2020 & 2021, go to: MBRRE Past Meetings 2020-2021

Dan Howard tours "Southwest Rails"

Verde Canyon Railroad locoDan Howard presents photos and video from his spring 2022 trip to the southwest US. Stops along the way include the Sky Railway (the former Santa Fe Southern between Santa Fe and Lamy, NM) and New Mexico Rail Runner Express commuter service in Santa Fe.

Right: The Verde Canyon Railway's two FP7s sport a distinctive eagle livery.

Dan also visits the iconic architect Mary Colter's southwest masterpiece La Posada in Winslow AZ – Fred Harvey's last great railroad hotel – on the BNSF transcontinental route . Also featured are steam on the Grand Canyon Railway, the Verde Canyon Railroad, and Amtrak's Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle from Tucson to St. Louis MO.

This program was presented on August 18, 2022. You can view the full meeting video on Mass Bay RRE's Facebook page, or just Dan's presentation on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel.

Carl Fowler presents: "Lessons from the Vermonter"

With the long-anticipated extension of Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express to Burlington, VT scheduled to begin service in July, what better time to look back at what passenger rail service in Vermont has been and where it's going in the future. "Lessons from the Vermonter" is a brief history of passenger rail after WWII in Vermont and an analysis of what we've hopefully learned from both the successes and shortcomings of Vermont's Amtrak services.

Ethan Allen ExpressCarl Fowler made the original written proposal for the replacement of the overnight Montrealer with a state-supported day service in 1994, when Amtrak announced that it was dropping the overnight service to Montreal. The Howard Dean administration in Vermont adopted this framework and Vermont became the smallest state to support an Amtrak regional service. Indeed, it continues to hold that distinction--but now supports two daily trains on two distinct routes, plus a new dedicated Ambus service as well. (Right: Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express at Rutland, VT)

The program will review the last years of the once extensive private passenger train network in Vermont (and adjacent states) and looks at the Vermont Amtrak experience in depth. We'll also look at other even more successful Amtrak routes like the Downeaster and see what Vermont and Amtrak could both learn from that remarkably successful service. Future expansions are reviewed as well. Finally the program looks at potential new services region wide, including the possible return of RDC cars (or new DMUs) to enhance passenger train options in Vermont and New England.

Carl Fowler worked full time selling passenger rail service for 34 years as General Manager, Vice President and finally President of Rail Travel Center/Rail Travel Adventures. He was able to travel over 350,000 miles by train during his life and can share perspectives both as a devoted train buff and as a rail travel professional. He is a 50-year member of the Rail Passengers Association (aka NARP) and served as a past Vice Chair of the RPA, as well as a long-term member of its Council and Board. This program, however, reflects Carl's own views.

This program was presented on July 17, 2022. You can view the full meeting video on Mass Bay RRE's Facebook page, or just Carl's presentation on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel.

"Tracking the Restoration of Maine Central 470" with Peter Violette

MEC 470On June 15, 1954, the New England Division of The Railroad Enthusiasts (forerunner of today's Mass Bay RRE) sponsored an excursion from Portland to Waterville, Maine, powered by Maine Central 4-6-2 locomotive 470 (Schenectady, 1924). The event was notable in several respects. It was the last RRE trip with MEC steam power, and the very last run for the 30-year-old steam loco. And, riding on the rear of the train, a group of railfans made plans that led to the founding of the 470 Railroad Club, named after the venerable locomotive.

Days later, following its retirement, the 470 was placed on static display in front of the Waterville station, ending the age of American steam in Maine. It remained in Waterville, its condition deteriorating, until 2016 when, having been acquired by the newly-formed New England Steam Corp., it was moved to the Downeast Scenic Railroad's shop area in Ellsworth, Maine. NESCo then began the lengthy process of restoring the locomotive to operating condition.

The presentation will include a history of the locomotive from its purchase date in 1924 to modern times when New England Steam Corporation purchased her. Peter will be going in depth on what has already been restored on the locomotive, and what is in the pipeline to get the locomotive operating. The presentation will include high quality photos from throughout the locomotive's life and footage from the last run.

Peter Violette has been with New England Steam Corp. since 2012. He grew up in Waterville, Maine, where the locomotive was on display from its retirement in 1954 until it was acquired by NESCo. He currently lives in Boston, working as a rail engineer for an engineering consultant firm on various projects throughout New England.

This program was presented on June 16, 2022. You can view the full meeting video on Mass Bay RRE's Facebook page, or just Peter's presentation on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel.

Members' Night: 'Chasing U.S. Sugar 148'US Sugar 148

Mass Bay member Greg Guimond shows photos and videos from his trip to southern Florida, when he chased U.S. Sugar 4-6-2 No. 148 as it led an AAPRCO special in late April.

This program was presented on May 19, 2022. You can view the full meeting video on Mass Bay RRE's Facebook page, or just Greg's Florida show on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel.

"Blasts from the Past"

Peru Canadian Atlantic trainMass Bay RRE President Dave Brown shows pictures from two classic two-day excursions that were NOT run by the RRE.

First up is the Steamtown-sponsored October 1973 trip with Nickel Plate 759 from Boston to Montpelier, VT, possibly the last steam-powered trip to operate out of Boston's North Station. The program features photos from several people who either rode or chased the train on its two-day round trip, including many images that did not appear the story published in the April/May Callboy.

The second part of the program is Dave's slides from the 470 Railroad Club's June, 1990 excursion from Brownville Junction, Maine to St. Andrews, New Brunswick on the Canadian Atlantic Railway. (Right: photo runby on the Canadian Atlantic at McAdam, NB, photo by Dave Brown)

This program was presented on April 21, 2022. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

"Ultimate Peruvian Railway Experience" - videos by Bill Siebert

Peru Rail Adventure trainIn September 2017, Mass Bay RRE member Bill Siebert experienced trips over several freight lines of Ferrocarril Central Andino (FCCA) between Lima and Huancayo, Peru. The four-day private group tour was sponsored by Trains Magazine in cooperation with Special Interest Tours. Accompanying the group was Henry Posner III, a former Conrail executive and present-day Chairman of the Railroad Development Corporation (owner of FCCA), and FCCA chairman Juan Olaechea. For those four days the group had exclusive use of the railroad, so they had time to tour the shops at Chosica, attend a locomotive dedication (to James Hagen, former Conrail head), spin the locomotive on an "armstrong" turntable at San Bartolome, and stop at multiple places for photo run-bys. The connection between Conrail and FCCA is the guidance given by Conrail while FCCA made the transition from being a state-supported entity to a private railroad.

Bill's program includes four videos, one for each day of the tour:
Day 1 - September 26 from Lima to San Bartolome.
Day 2 - September 27 from San Bartolome to La Oroya.
Day 3 - September 28 from La Oroya to Cerro de Pasco.
Day 4 - September 29 from La Oroya to Huancayo.

This program was presented on March 17, 2022. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

Carl Fowler presents 'Trains of Memory'

Rio Grande Zephyr"Trains of Memory" tells the story of the end of the private carrier services in the USA and Canada, and argues that amazingly, fifty years on from 1971, many of the routes are "Living Ghosts", still providing real services every day. The program includes Mr. Fowler's photography from over 50 years, including last run coverage of such famed trains as the true Santa Fe Chief, the Rio Grande's Prospector and Yampa Valley Mail, the final Texas Zephyr and survivors like the California Zephyr (and the Rio Grande Zephyr). Pre-Amtrak pictures are contrasted with contemporary shots and, because Mr. Fowler served as an agent for both Amtrak and VIA, he will show some superb advertising work that was rarely if ever seen. The great trains live on in memory – but also reality, more than we might realize. (Right: The last Rio Grande Zephyr train 18 at Salt Lake City on April 12 1983, just before its departure for Denver. The mudslide at Thistle, Utah closed the line the next day. Photo by Carl Fowler)

Carl Fowler spent most of his adult life running Rail Travel Center/Rail Travel Adventures, a passenger train specialist travel and tour service. As a result he was able to accumulate over 350,000 miles of rail travel all over the world. He has been a member of the Rail Passengers Association/NARP for 50 years, was an RPA Vice Chair, and serves on the Vermont Rail Advisory Council, which helps VTRANS with its Amtrak and freight rail programs. Mr. Fowler made the original proposal to create the daylight Vermonter when Amtrak announced it would cancel the Montrealer in 1995. He attended college in Colorado in the 1960s and worked in Denver through 1981, using his indestructible VW Beetle to chase trains both standard and narrow gauge. He rode the private passenger services pre-Amtrak (including far too many "last runs"), and since 1971 has ridden virtually every Amtrak route, including some that are no more.

This program was presented on February 17, 2022. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

Bill Deen presents 'Colorado Steam Adventure 2021'

Glenbrook & EurekaAfter a year and a half at home enforced by the pandemic, Bill Deen was able to get away for ten days of rail photography in Colorado in late August and early September 2021. The central event was a two-day Trains magazine photo charter on the Durango & Silverton involving D&RGW 2-8-2 493 and visiting (from California) SP 4-6-0 18.

Before that he was able to catch some of the Victorian Steam Roundup, organized by the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic as part of its (delayed) 50th Anniversary celebration. Featured were 4-4-0 Eureka and 2-6-0 Glenbrook from Nevada, locally based 2-8-0 425, and the C&TS's own 4-6-0 168, the latter two painted as they were in their 1890s D&RG days. (Right: Glenbrook and Eureka in front of the old roundhouse at Chama on August 28, 2021. Bill Deen photo)

Moving up in gauge and engine size, Bill spent the last day chasing Big Boy 4014 from Sharon Springs, Kansas, to Denver. In between, there was time to ride or chase some regular C&TS and D&S trains and see what was new in Chama and Durango. In all, Bill saw eleven operating steam locomotives in ten days!

Bill Deen is a retired engineering professor who for many years has photographed steam in the US, Canada, and overseas. He is also a model railroader, focusing on steam-era Pacific Northwest logging in HO scale. He is an officer and director of the Friends of Bedford Depot Park (Bedford, Mass.) and has recently completed a book about the Boston and Maine's Lexington Branch, to be published later this year.

This program was presented on January 20, 2022. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

Site maintenance by members of Mass Bay RRE.
Page updated on September 8, 2022