Due to final scheduling issues, the slate of speakers for both the August 30th Annual Slideshow and the September 1st Banquet have been changed as described below.
Thursday Night, August 30
We will kick off the convention with our Annual Slideshow at the Omni Parker House Hotel. Doors open at 7:30 pm and the slideshow begins at 8:00 PM Our speaker will be David Barker, manager of operations technology for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) instead of Bradley Clarke, president of the BSRA, as originally scheduled. The MBTA operates one of the nation’s most comprehensive mix of transit services: commuter rail and heavy rail, light rail trolleys and electric trolley-buses, local bus and bus rapid transit, ferry service and paratransit. The MBTA runs America’s oldest subway and is also on the cutting edge of transit technology. In his presentation Dave will talk about the Agency’s history, service, infrastructure, initiatives, challenges, and future.
Friday, August 31
We will leave our hotel at 8:00 am and enjoy an escorted tour of the Green Line and Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed Line trolleys. At this flyer’s press time, we have requested a chartered Green Line train. We will leave from Government Center Station on a two-car train and start with the Green Line’s scenic Beacon Street line (line “C”) and travel the length of the line past Brookline’s Town Center to the Cleveland Circle terminus. Beacon Street was the first electric trolley line in Boston, started by Henry M. Whitney of the West End Street Railway in 1889, and was the pilot operation for the first large scale conversion to trolley cars in the U.S. Participants will have an opportunity to photograph equipment in the adjacent Reservoir Yard before boarding outbound Riverside Line (“D”) cars to the end of the line at Riverside. After a brief stop at the Riverside terminal, we will return inbound to Reservoir Yard, and head up Chestnut Hill Avenue, west to the Boston College terminal of the “B” Boston College line. We will then head inbound to Park Street on the “B” line for our lunch stop.
After lunch, we will travel roundtrip on the Heath Street “E” line. We will transfer to the Red Line subway traveling to Ashmont. Here we will ride the Mattapan-Ashmont High Speed line, one of the nation’s two remaining trolley lines operating with iconic PCC cars in regular service. These cars are the last air brake PCCs in revenue operation in North America. Participants will be able to photograph equipment at Mattapan Yard before traveling back to Ashmont and then Park Street ending this all-day trip at around 6:00 pm.
Evening activities are on your own. Outstanding dining opportunities abound in nearby Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Italian North End districts, all within several blocks walk of the Omni Parker House. For really classic New England cooking, try Durgin Park at Faneuil Hall. Food is served family style, and special tickets get you past the long waiting lines if you first have a drink at the downstairs bar.
Saturday, September 1
We will leave the Omni Parker House at 8:00 am and travel by chartered coach to two museums, the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum and the Lowell National Historical Park. The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum preserves and operates Shelburne Falls & Colrain Street Railway trolley car No. 10, built by Wason Manufacturing Co. in Springfield, Mass. in 1896. It was delivered new to Shelburne Falls and has never left the valley. For 30 years it served its namesake towns, ending up as a storage shed before finally being brought back to life by the museum. Participants will be able to ride and photograph the operating line and enjoy the visitors’ center with historic photographs of the valley and gift shop.
We will have a lunch stop enroute to Lowell. In the afternoon, we will visit the Lowell National Historical Park, an immaculately restored collection of mill buildings from the mid-19th Century, Lowell’s contribution to America’s Industrial Revolution. We will ride Lowell’s collection of trolley cars, which transport visitors on the nearly two miles of track operated by the National Park Service. The cars in the National Streetcar Museum roster include New Orleans Public Service Perley Thomas No. 966 as well as one closed and two open replicas of J.G. Brill trolleys operated by the Eastern Massachusetts Street Railway Company. Also included is a satellite exhibit from the Seashore Trolley Museum exploring the history of urban rail transportation in Lowell within the broader context of American transit history and how the rebirth of the streetcar is helping to revitalize U.S. cities. Our coach will return to the Omni Parker House at approximately 6 PM Those who are interested can return to the Omni Parker House on their own using the “T”’s Lowell-North Station commuter rail line and then travel two stops on the Green Line to Government Center Station.
Saturday Night, September 1
ERA’s Annual Banquet will be held in a private room at the Omni Parker House Hotel. An hour-long informal reception and cash bar will begin at 7:00 pm, and dinner will follow promptly at 8:00 PM James Schantz, chairman of the Seashore Trolley Museum, will present the past, current and future directions of one of the world’s museums dealing with historic electric transit operations instead of the MBTA representative as originally scheduled. In addition to its longtime Kennebunkport, Maine operation, STM also operates the National Streetcar Museum in Lowell, Mass., co-located with the Lowell National Historic Park and its heritage trolley operation. This satellite museum’s exhibits trace the history of urban rail transportation and its current role in the rebirth of American cities.
Sunday, September 2
We will leave the Omni Parker House at 9 am for a single destination, the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. This museum, founded in 1939, houses a collection of more than 250 historic transit vehicles from all over the U.S., Canada and many other countries around the world on its 330-acre campus. The Seashore collection is the oldest and largest of its kind in the world. Its national collection of streetcars captures a vehicle from almost every major U.S. city that operated streetcar service, from the northern woods of Maine to the pristine coast of California, from the city streets of Detroit to Dallas, and focusing on Boston. Streetcars from every corner of the globe are also exhibited as well as a growing collection of buses and trackless trolleys.
Sufficient time will be allowed for participants to experience all aspects of Seashore, including the permanent exhibit History in Motion: Public Transportation Connecting Maine Communities, exploring the 330-acre museum grounds, seeing the bus and trolley collection, shopping at the world-class gift shop, observing work being performed at the Town House Restoration Shop, touring the three exhibit car barns containing a sample of Seashore’s worldwide streetcar collection, and taking unlimited rides on authentically restored streetcars. Seashore has always gone all out to bring out extra equipment for railfan enthusiast groups such as the ERA. Limited lunch and snack facilities are available on-site. A dinner stop at the Weathervane Seafood Restaurant in Kittery, Maine will be made on the return to Boston. We anticipate a late return for this trip (9 pm to 10 pm).
Monday, September 3
We will leave the Omni Parker House at 8:30 am to visit one of New England’s other pre-eminent trolley museums, the Connecticut Trolley Museum at Warehouse Point. The Connecticut Trolley Museum features over 70 pieces of rail equipment dating back to 1869. During your visit, you can view and photograph historic passenger and freight street “trolley” cars, interurban cars, elevated railway cars, passenger and freight railroad cars, service cars, locomotives, and a variety of other equipment from railways around Connecticut. You will also find examples from Brooklyn, Boston, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Springfield, Lynchburg, Montreal, and even Rio de Janeiro. While smaller in scope than Seashore, the operating right-of-way is one of the most impressive and bucolic of all North American trolley museums.
Limited lunch facilities are available on-site. Sufficient time will be allowed for participants to visit car barns, ride cars and make purchases at the gift shop or eat lunch. We will depart the museum around 3:30 PM Those wishing to make an immediate return trip to New York can request drop-off at the nearby Windsor Locks Station, three miles away, for the 4:23 pm Amtrak departure for New York’s Penn Station.
Tuesday, September 4
Our last day features a wide variety of visits and inspection trips. We will leave the Omni Parker House at 8 am, with your T pass (mailed to you when you register for tickets), and travel on the Blue Line to the Orient Heights Blue Line shop. At Orient Heights we will be given a tour by MBTA maintenance personnel and permitted to photograph both the current new equipment and recently retired equipment in publicly accessible areas. We will then return by Blue Line train to the Airport Station and transfer to Massport Shuttle buses to Logan Airport. At Logan Airport we will take the unique Silver Line dual-mode articulated coaches to South Station for our lunch stop. After lunch, we’ll board the Red Line and travel to Harvard Square. At Harvard Square we will tour at least two of the MBTA’s trackless trolley lines. Photo stops will be made throughout the day. Our last tour of this convention is expected to end by 4:00 pm.