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RECENT Third Thursday Program Meetings

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.

Kate Jurow learns 'Firing on the Cumbres & Toltec'

Kate in loco cabCan a mild-mannered senior lady with back and knee issues shovel enough coal to keep a steam engine chugging up a 4 percent grade, at an altitude of over 10,000 feet? Find out as Kate Jurow describes her experience in Fireman School on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, a 4-day program for steam enthusiasts. (Right: Kate Jurow in the cab of S&TS 484.)

The Cumbres & Toltec, voted "Best Scenic Train Ride" by USA Today readers, runs 64 magnificent miles through the San Juan mountains of New Mexico and Colorado. Fireman and Engineer students in the program spend their days firing and running the Cumbres & Toltec's fleet of historic Mikado engines.

Kate will describe her experiences in the cab, caboose, gondola cars and classroom, using photos and videos. As only the second woman ever to take the course, she has a unique perspective on the program, and on the physical and mental challenges of firing a steam locomotive on a complex and demanding route.

This program was presented on January 21, 2021. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

Jean Fox presents an update on the South Coast Rail Project

Arriva trainThe South Coast Rail project will restore commuter rail service between Boston and southeastern Massachusetts. Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford are the only major cities within 50 miles of Boston that do not currently have commuter rail access to Boston. After decades of false starts and planning, Phase 1 construction began earlier this year and has been proceeding in earnest through the summer and fall. Service to the region is expected to resume by the end of 2023.

Jean Fox, Director of Community Engagement for South Coast Rail, reviewed of the project's progress to date, and what we can look forward to in the coming months and years. As a bonus, Ryan Colohan, Chief Railroad Officer for the MBTA, showed photos of the late-October track collapse on the Mass Coastal RR in East Sandwich and the construction activity to restore the line to service.

This program was presented on November 19, 2020. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.


Dan Howard explores 'The Short Lines of Western New York'

SoNo TowerMany of us were disappointed when the weekend of rare mileage excursions planned for summer 2020 on the Falls Road Railroad, the New York & Lake Erie Railroad, and the Arcade & Attica were cancelled due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Dan Howard's program let us to experience these short lines virtually. We started off with a rainy day mixed train on the Falls Road between Brockport & Lockport, a visit to the New York & Lake Erie, and the Arcade & Attica's steam train. We also poked around the Buffalo area for museum pieces in Hamburg and WN&P Alcos in the yard in Olean. To the east, we visited the Adirondack Scenic, including a May, 2011, rare mileage trip to Lyons Falls, and slipped across the NY/PA border for a look at the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad.

This program was presented on October 21, 2020. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

(Above: New York & Lake Erie passenger train at South Dayton, NY behind a pair of Alco FPA’s, on May 28, 2016.)

Derek Carter presents: 'UK Rails in 2017'

Arriva trainIn August of 2017 Derek Carter took a trip to the UK, starting in Manchester. In addition to taking in the constant activity at Manchester Piccadilly Station, he used that as the base for day trips to Blackpool, where he rode much of the historic tram line, Conwy, where the ruins of a medieval castle provide overhead views of trains passing through the world's only surviving tubular bridge, and Crewe, where the heavy action on the West Coast Main Line can be enjoyed from both the station platform and the balcony on the former signal box, now part of the Crew heritage Centre. (Right: An Arriva train departs Conwy and passes through an arch cut into the city's medieval wall when the line was built in 1847.)

This program was presented on September 17, 2020. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

'Railfanning with Matt Betzner'

Matt Betznern the decade, more or less, since Matt Betzner first joined the RRE, we've watched as his enthusiasm for the hobby has developed and matured. With Mass Bay, Matt has been a car host, a key member of our Show Crew, and a frequent contributor to Callboy and meeting programs. Matt's railroad interests are broad, encompassing train riding (he's been a Train Host on the Downeaster since 2011), modeling, virtual railroading and photography. Matt's photographic skills have developed considerably since he first offered photos for Callboy many years ago, and he's also accomplished at video editing and production.

611 & 382Matt's presentation took us to the Strasburg Railroad in Pennsylvania, and checked out Norfolk Southern action at Rockville Bridge, CSX and Amtrak trains in Florida, then returned north to Cape Cod for Fs, the Cape Flyer and the trash train. Finally, Matt took us back to Strasburg for the N&W 611's visit in October of 2019.

Matt's program was presented on July 16, 2020. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.


The Shambhala Express: Train T 164 Shanghai to Lhasa, Tibet
Presented by Susanne Gänsicke

Piers in ChangtangA few years ago a work gig in Shanghai presented a rare opportunity for Susanne Gänsicketo make a side trip to Tibet, the roof of the world. The undertaking took a bit of fine footwork and strong nerves. (Right: Pilings of the train tracks are set deeply into permafrost in the Changtang.)

Train T 164 left Shanghai on an October evening. The 54-hour journey first took a path via Xian, and continued along the muddy Wei River, tributary to the Yellow River. Eventually the train turned south and after a second night, the sun rose in Golmund in Qinghai province. Through peaks, perhaps 6000 meter and higher, the train moved onto the vast and barren Tibetan plateau. Arriving in Lhasa, Susanne was met by two Tibetan guides who became her travel companions for the next seven days, venturing deeply into monasteries, fortresses, and the past of Tibet. The PowerPoint slide show revisits this voyage, telling from a layman's perspective the lessons of the railroad, and revealing a few of Tibet's mysteries.

Susanne Gänsicke is a conservator of archaeological artifacts. Originally trained in Germany, she came to the US more than thirty years ago, worked at the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and is currently Head of Antiquities Conservation at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles.

Susanne's's program was presented on Thursday, August 20, 2020. You can view the program on the Mass Bay RRE YouTube channel or on our Facebook page.

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Page created on February 13, 2021