Amherst Railway Society

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Amherst Railway Society
Formation 1963 (Inc. 1963)
Sudro Brown

The Amherst Railway Society is a society of railway enthusiasts in the Amherst, Massachusetts area. The society puts on an annual "Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show" at the Eastern States Exposition Fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts in late January or February every year. The attendance at the two day show, which has over 7 acres of displays, usually averages twenty five thousand people, making it one of the largest two day train shows in North America.

The Amherst Railway Society has about 446 members who share some aspect of railroading as a common interest. Monthly meetings cover current topics in railroad news and offer slide shows, movies or a prominent speaker on a railroading topic.

According to written minutes, the Amherst Railway Society came into existence on October 15, 1963 in Goessman Laboratory, Room 151 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Present at that meeting were Harvey Allen, Maurice Bates, Robert Johnston, William Becker, Michael Cann, Ned Chase, Stowell Goding, Adrian Lindsey, Everett Turner, and Al Wynne. The decision was made to meet at 8:00 P.M. on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, and to have members present programs. The program on October 15, 1963 was "Mexican Steam" by Everett Turner, "American Diesels" by Al Wynne, and some steam shots from around Amherst by Harvey Allen.[1] Many of the people attending the first meeting had been active in a previous UMass railroad group that was organized by students. That group ceased to exist by 1963. The Amherst Railway Society quickly grew and five years later, the organization put on its own Train Show that is now held every year in West Springfield.

The annual "Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show" has become the biggest railroad show in the country. In 1993 and 1994 the Amherst Railway Society received the Walthers Showmanship Award for sponsoring the event. As a member of the Society you are entitled to receive a free admission ticket for one day of the show. (Members who work at the show can come both days, as well as Thursday and Friday to set up.)

Proceeds from the show are used to promote interest in railroads. Donations have been made to various railroad museums, historical societies, restoration projects and scholarship funds. Organizations that have received donations include: the Fall River and Old Colony Museum, the 470 Club's Boston and Maine diesel locomotive restoration project, the Boston and Maine Historical Society, the Chester Foundation Station Project, the Wiscasset Waterville and Farmington Building and Car Fund as well as trolley museums in Shelburne Falls, MA, Warehouse Point, CT, Branford, CT and Kennebunk, ME.

Founders Grants (one award of $10,000.)[edit]

2013 - Lookpark Northampton MA - Replace Track and Ties for narrow gauge railroad.
2012 - Railway Museum of New England; Thomaston CT

Heritage Grants[edit]

The ARS has given away over $750,000 in grants to railroad related 501(c)(3) organizations. The most recent grants include:

Year Requesting Organization Location Project ARS Grant
2013 Alco Heritage Museum Schenectady NY ALCO RS-3 exhibit $2,000
2013 Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Club Bartlet NH Snow Plow 68 Restoration Project $1,500
2013 Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum, Inc. Lenox MA Caboose Preservation Project $1,750
2013 Boston Street Railway Association, Inc. Guilford CT Boston Type 5 Streetcar No 5706 Restoration $1,500
2013 Branford Electric Railway Association/Shoreline Trolley Museum East Haven CT Connecticut Car 865 $2,000
2013 Brooks Preservation Society/Locomotive 'Top End' Maintenance Belfast ME Locomotive service and rebuild of injectors and fuel pumps for GE 70 Ton $2,500
2013 Central Vermont Railway Historical Society St Albans and Colchester, VT Collection Preservation $2,500
2013 Chester Foundation Chester, MA Paint two freight cars $500
2013 Connecticut Electric Railway Association East Windsor CT Theft protection $3,200
2013 Danbury Railway Museum / Restoration Rutland box car 8085 Danbury CT Rutland Wooden Box Car Restoration $2,000
2013 Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc. Albuquerque, NM Car Rebuild $1,800
2013 Friends of the Keystone Arches, Inc. Middlefield - Chester, MA raise stones from river $1,000.
2013 Friends of the Valley Railroad Essex CT PRR Cabin Car Cosmetic repairs $3,500
2013 New York Central System Historical Society Mentor, OH Photo Digitization $1,250
2013 NRHS - Cape Cod Chapter West Barnstable MA Asbestos floor tile work $1,000
2013 NRHS - Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley Chapter Scranton PA Repair rear truck frame $2,000
2013 NRHS - Washington DC Chapter Savage MD Replace Desk Chair for Pullman car Dovor Harbor $950
2013 Old Colony & Fall River Railroad Museum Fall River MA RDC Engince & Generator repairs $750
2013 Old Colony & Newport Railway (National RR Foundation& Museum) Middletown RI Window Sills on Parlor Car and BM Coach $1000
2013 Railroad Museum of New England, Inc. Thomaston CT Canadian Nation Coach Restoration $1,000
2013 Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum Rush NY Repaint GE110 ton $2,318
2013 Rowe Historical Society Rowe MA Preservation of Hoosac Tunnel $1,160
2013 Rutland Railroad Museum Rutland VT Rutland Depot Storm Windows $3,000
2013 Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum Buckland, MA Carbarn Site Prep $3,000
2013 Windham Rail Trail Alliance Windham NH B&M Caboose Maintenance $1,500
2013 Wiscassset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum Alna ME Restroom Construction $3,000


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