Current Waybill: December 2017- February 2018  Click here to download!


*February 1, 2018*


 Lines from Ireland

Riding the Rails



The RoundHouse


International News

   Letter from the Editor

The Waybill is for you the members and our friends to enjoy. If there is something you would like to see in the Waybill then please contact us by email at or by mail.

We are always looking for stories to include, as we have many members who are no longer able to go on any trips and they get great enjoyment out of reading about them.

So if you have ever wanted to be a Newspaper reporter now is your chance…

Group Sales Policy: 10 or more tickets purchased in ADVANCE by the SAME PERSON will be entitled to a 10% DISCOUNT subject to availability.

BLOCK SPACE may be arranged on any non-restricted event with Ticket Coordinator or Tour Director (when assigned) at least 50 days prior to departure. For further information, please contact the Mystic Valley Railway Society, 617-361-4445 or e-mail at


 From the President

by Theresa E. Rylko

As we head into the Holiday Season, I want to say thank you to all for helping keep the MVRS on track. If you wish to share any interesting stories or pictures of yourself on the trips, please send them in care of Member-o-Gram. Remember that Saturday February 3rd is our election meeting at the Mt Vernon Restaurant in Somerville MA. This is your chance to nominate your favorite member to run for director or officer for the upcoming year. It is also when we can all judge the entries for the 2019 calendar, and sit with old and new friends to build and share memories.


From the Vice President

by Jeff Costello 


Happy Holidays! It doesn’t seem possible but it’s that time again – the end of one year, and soon the start of another. MVRS will finish the year celebrating fall with visits to Salem Cross Inn and the Log Cabin for Thanksgiving – enjoying traditional New England feasts. Winter brings Christmas cheer and spectacular lights. There is still room to come with us. In 2018 we look forward to old favorites, sleigh rides, maple syrup, and more. If you have any favorite places to visit, let the MVRS trip team know and they can plan a visit there. In January, for the train lovers, MVRS will be at the Amherst Train Show, promoting the society and our educational activities. If you have any train-related items that need a new home and you wish to donate them, contact MVRS for more information. We would appreciate hearing from our members with articles for the Waybill. It is your society and you are the ones that make it enjoyable. So, climb on board and volunteer your thoughts or time. The Russell Rylko Grant Committee will soon present the final check to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont and will be gearing up for another award to another group. As you see MVRS is still busy and we appreciate our volunteers that keep us chugging along. Join us as a volunteer or enjoy our activities as passengers or participants. Welcome Aboard!


From the Membership Chairman

by Nancy Jeanne Martin


I have been on a number of trips this Fall. I think my favorite was the one to Essex CT. I have been there before but always enjoy the train and the boat ride. I have not been leading trips but helping other board members. I hope to continue going on trips with the organization in November and December. I am off to the Salem Cross Inn and the Breezeland Orchards. I look forward to this repeat visit. For Thanksgiving I will be “training” it to my son’s house in PA. If you are going to be alone at this time, consider joining MVRS and travel “West for Thanksgiving” to Holyoke MA. I will also be on the trip “Yuletime in Newport”. I thoroughly enjoy the mansions in Newport and look forward to seeing the Elms and La Salette Shrine again. Anything to do with Christmas and the lights and gift shops is always a treat. We have moved our bimonthly board meeting to the Mt. Vernon in Somerville. I can get there on the Orange Line with my electric scooter or, as I say to little boys and girls, my electric car. For the trips I take The Ride to Wellington and then arrange for a ride home following the trip. I usually bring my rollator or, as it is also known, my walker-on-wheels. As the bus drivers are always helpful storing it under the bus, if you need a rollator feel free to bring it along. Remember you can call the club at any time with questions or if you want to reach me leave a message at 617-361-4445.


From the Waybill Editor

by Roma Hertel

Who to ask when an urgent need arises? While putting together the September-November Waybill, I was unexpectedly called away on family business. My thoughts immediately turned to Sally Avjian. After a quick email exchange, she agreed to take over the Waybill editorial process at short notice, and I knew the edition was in safe hands. As my predecessor, every task and step would be familiar – after all, she’d taught me. It was arranged so quickly and at such a late stage that there was no opportunity to credit her contribution. She saw it through the proofing stages, and dealt with the printer. Which is where this column comes in: it is my opportunity to thank Sally for lending a hand during my hour of need. So, what does being Waybill editor involve? Though I provide a reminder about a week before the published deadline, most items arrive under their own steam from the board, Trip Team, the regular columnists, and beyond. My name is at the top of this column, but each contribution requires hard work well away from the limelight. I’m most familiar with Trip Team activities as this was one of my earlier roles with the MVRS. These volunteers put together a schedule they hope will be popular and achievable: are there enough volunteers to staff all the trips? Then the individual planner fleshes out each trip. This involves juggling departures, arrivals, meal times, and attraction schedules. Some may be at a fixed time: the boat leaves when the boat leaves. Will a leg-stretch break be needed before reaching the first destination? Everything needs to be in place long before the trip: a July trip goes into the March-May Waybill to allow plenty of time for ticket sales. That means it is planned in January and February, before many attractions open for the season. Comfortable motor coaches don’t appear out of thin air: someone submits a slate of trips to the different bus companies for quotes. A lot of skill and dedication brings everything together. I have no experience of how the Russ Rylko Memorial Grant team goes about its work, but can’t you just imagine them poring over submissions from different groups around New England, considering their activities and equipment, and weighing the significance of what a MVRS check could help each of them achieve? For a certain sort of person this window into the region’s railroad preservation movement must be a dream job. And may I mention that while most columnists write of their own free will, Dirk agrees to be volunteered? That puts him in a category of his own! However, once he gets started and his inner researcher gets going, there’s no holding him back. The bottom line is that The Waybill is a team effort. Every contributor, member and reader belongs to something we hope is greater than its individual parts: the Mystic Valley Railway Society.

Want to order the new calendar?  Click Here!

Sugaring in Vermont

by Gerard Sevigny  

On Saturday April 2nd, 2016 I joined a group tour. We went to the Weathervane restaurant in Lebanon NH. The restaurant inside had a lot of pinewood on the walls. Many boats on the walls and ceiling. I looked around this place. After our lunch, we headed to Vermont. We saw a gold dome at the Vermont State House in Montpelier.

We arrived at the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks. I liked to breathe fresh air, which is better than in Boston. We saw their real woodshed theater. This place was very beautiful. People can sit on tree stumps and watch the video. There are lots of maple syrup products and soft ice cream cones. We watched how maple syrup was being made in the building.

We saw two cute goats that were white and black in a cage in a farm. I fed them some popcorn. They ate fast because they were hungry. They looked me. I stared at them. We walked around, it was beautiful. I saw some snow on the ground.

We went to the gift shop that sold Vermont maple syrup products and Vermont cheeses and home baked good for such as fruit pies. We saw two rainbows, the first rainbow in Vermont and another rainbow in New Hampshire. We went there for one day. We had a nice time there. The weather was a little cold. I liked it so much.

Editor’s note: as we enter winter, this description of a previous year’s maple sugaring trip might get you in the mood for spring: see page 8 for an our next sugaring opportunity.

Norway by Train

by Dirk Hertel

The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) chose a rather unusual venue in 2017 for their annual Color Imaging Conference: not the Southwest or Silicon Valley but the small city of Lillehammer, Norway. Located north of the capital Oslo in the country’s mountainous heart, Lillehammer gained international recognition for hosting the 1994 Winter Olympics. Reading the conference invitation, I noticed that the organizers recommended train travel: “Lillehammer is 145 km (90 miles) from the airport and may be reached via train. There is frequent, direct train service from Oslo Airport Gardermoen (OSL) to Lillehammer every hour, depending on the time and day. Travel time is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes. Trains generally leave from Spor (platform) 1. Train information can be found at www.nsb. no/en”, the website of the Norwegian State Railways (Norges Statsbaner, NSB). The NSB was founded in 1996 after the government split the state-owned railways into several governmental agencies responsible for track maintenance and construction, passenger trains, buses to cover regions not served by rail, and freight. NSB’s first large construction project was the 1998 high-speed rail link from Oslo to the newly built Oslo Gardermoen Airport. The opportunity to combine work (attending a technical conference) with pleasure (traveling by train in a foreign country) was too good to pass up, so in early September Roma and I were on our way. After landing at OSL, we followed signs within the airport to “Trains”. The tracks are conveniently located below the main terminal, with tickets available from automated machines or a staffed kiosk on the main level. Single fares from Oslo airport to Lillehammer were about $30 or $40. The cheaper fare requires booking at least 24 hours in advance for a specific train and cannot be transferred to a different one.

Our train pulled into track 1 on schedule. It was a streamlined electric EMU Class 74, also known as FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Train). Built by Stadler Rail of Switzerland, the articulated trainset consisted of six cars. As Norway generates more than 95% of its electricity from hydropower, its trains are powered by Norway’s swiftly flowing mountain streams. Trains are popular and this one arrived quite full. Although we didn’t have reservations the conductor let us on saying we could sit in the café car. Being seated at a table allowed us to “telecommute” to our jobs back home, thanks to the train’s free and fast internet access. However, it was hard work to resist the ever-present distraction of glorious scenery framed by large picture windows. The line to Lillehammer is part of the 344-mile long Dovre Railway, Norway’s trunk line connecting Oslo with the historic city of Trondheim via the picturesque Gudbrandsdalen valley and across the Dovrefjell mountain range. After a brief stop at Eidsvold, once the northern terminus of Norway’s first public railway that opened in 1854, we followed the course of the river Vorma on a high bank, crossed it on an impressive steel viaduct then continued along the shore of Mjøsa, Norway’s longest lake (73 miles) and also one of its deepest (down to 1500 feet). Until the conversion in 1921, the section between Eidsvold and Trondheim was narrow gauge, which was cheaper to build in difficult mountain terrain but resulted in many tight curves. Now standard gauge, these curves no longer slow down rail journeys as tilting technology allows a train to lean into the curves, almost like a motorcycle, and traverse them at speed. On a siding at the next station stop in Hamar, I noticed a large German-made steam locomotive, a leftover artefact of the WW2 German occupation of Norway. A cluster of antique railway buildings and equipment piqued my interest, and a quick internet search revealed that these belonged to the Norwegian Railway Museum. Established in 1896 as a private collection, it has expanded into a large “open-air park containing tracks, signals, authentically furnished station buildings, and a narrow-gauge steam railway” (http://jernbanemuseet. no). Although this conference trip did not have time for a stop at the museum, I marked it for inclusion in a future trip. Our train continued north with the lake becoming narrower and, at its northern end, we pulled into Lillehammer station. This is a beautifully preserved 19th century brick edifice complemented by 21st century amenities such as highlevel platforms, elevators, and a tourist information center. Equipped with maps we made our way up the steep hill through Lillehammer’s pedestrian city center with many 19th century wooden houses to our hotel overlooking the valley and Lake Mjøsa. The conference venue was Maihaugen, an open-air museum with more than 200 relocated buildings ranging from the Middle Ages to the 20th century (https://eng.maihaugen. no). To my delight, the 19th century “town” featured a railway station with steam train, headed by a 0-6-0 tank locomotive No 443, built in 1923 by Thune’s Mechanic Workshops in Kristiania (now Oslo). It hauled a wood-sided Traveling Post Office (TPO) No 18107 and combine car No 18100 of matching design, each from the early 1920s. The interior of the TPO was fitted out with sorting tables and pigeon holes since sacks of mail would be dropped off and picked up at each station.

After the conference, we returned to the airport by train, and a pleasant visit came to an end. Back home, I did some research, and found that Norway has largely been spared from major closures or cutbacks in passenger rail service. Instead, existing rail lines, some dating back to the 1850s, have been regularly upgraded, for example by electrification, conversion to double lines, and tunneling projects, especially in the area around Oslo. Older rolling stock makes way for the latest in train technology to improve passenger comfort and safety. These large public investments are fueled by recognition that rail travel is popularized by offering comfortable, clean, fast, and frequent trains, with convenient connections to other trains and the long-distance buses serving those areas of Norway not reached by rail.


April 1, 2017 – March 31, 2018

President - Theresa E. Rylko (Tracey)
Vice President - Jeffrey Costello (Jeff)
Treasurer - Judy Berson-Hoyt
Recording Secretary - Nancy Roney
Lillian Garvey
Eleanor Manning
William Manning
Nancy Martin
Joseph McDonough
Marcia Pennington

Positions They Fill:
Roma Hertel - Button Maker
Dr. Dirk Hertel - Photography/Calendar
Billy Manning - Mailing Chairperson
Nancy Jeanne Martin - Membership Chairperson
Sally Avjian & Ellie Manning-
Trip Team (Planning Trips and Social Event Co-Chairs)
Roma Hertel – Waybill Editor
Dan Ouellette - Web Master/Computer
Joe McDonough & Jeff Costello – Trade Show Coordinators
Jeff Costello – Communications Radios/Defibrillators
Marcia Pennington & Jeff Costello – Boutique
Mary & Jay Verner – Waybill Mailing Coordinators
Albert W. Avjian - Treasurer, Emeritus
Sally M. Avjian - Recording Secretary, Emeritus


You will see many of these volunteers as tour leaders on your trips.

It takes a team effort to have a successful volunteer organization. Please share your talents as a volunteer with MVRS and be

rewarded by seeing your work in action.  Call 617-361-4445 and a volunteer form will be sent to you.



Previous Waybills:  Fall 2017    Summer 2017    Spring 2017    Fall 2016   Summer 2016    Spring 2016    

Winter 2015   Summer 2015     Spring 2015     

Winter 2014     Fall 2014





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Revised: Dec, 2017