Eight & Sand
Amherst Railway Society news...

Eight & Sand is regularly updated with news and information about upcoming Amherst Railway Society meetings, the Railroad Hobby Show, our two model railroad clubs, the organizations we support, and other railroad-related topics.


Amherst at the Hancock Holiday Nights

During December, the oldest Shaker Village in New England will be hosting a new multi-sensory experience called Hancock Holiday Nights. The holiday exhibit will feature art-light projections, a 19th century village with festive decorations, farm animals, Shaker miniatures, and holiday cocktails by the fire.

An important part of the event is a holiday model railroad built from scratch by Dwight Sturtevant and John Sacerdote, and donated by the Amherst Railway Society. The 4×6 layout features lighted buildings, mountain scenery, and a wintery theme. The “Sleighbell Express” was donated by Bachman Trains.

The Hancock Shaker Village covers 750 acres, includes 20 historic Shaker buildings, and 22,000 Shaker artifacts. It is the most comprehensively interpreted Shaker site in the world, and the oldest working farm in the Berkshires.


2022 Railroad Hobby Show – pre-show

On December 8, 2021, the 2022 Railroad Hobby Show( RHS) kicked off with a “pre-show” of key exhibitors and events coming up in January,

Conductor John (John Sacerdote) took us on a tour of the 2022 Railroad Hobby Show including the show layout, ideas on how to organize your visit, and best places to stay. John also gave us a glimpse of some of the new products that will be available at the show, as well as a run-down on the clinics, demonstrations, and other educational opportunities at the show.

Watch the “pre-show” at:   https://youtu.be/ePD49BhnTDM

The Railroad Hobby Show “pre-show” is a joint production of the Amherst Railway Society and VirtualRailfan.com

Springfield Union Station Rail-Cam – up and running…

The Amherst Railway Society in partnership with Virtual Railfan and the Springfield Redevelopment Authority is sponsoring a 24/7 live stream of rail activity at Springfield Union Station.

The roof-mounted camera is a train window for Springfield, Massachusetts – Amtrak passenger trains, CTrail commuter trains, as well as Connecticut Southern and CSX freight movements.

The live stream can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWINReOteBw.

The Amherst Railway Society and Virtual Railfan also worked together to live stream the society’s annual Railroad Hobby Show in January.


Our Growing Relationship With Springfield Union Station

The bond between the Amherst Railway Society and Springfield Union Station is strengthening.

A few years back, the Amherst Belt Lines set up a modular model railroad in the station’s main concourse to help celebrate the grand re-opening of the station.

During the holidays in 2020, the Amherst Railway Society constructed an operating O-scale train set that circled the station’s Christmas tree – at eye level.

Appreciating our efforts, the station has given us a currently empty 12’x12’ rental car space to use as we see fit – promote Amherst, promote model railroading, promote the Railroad Hobby Show, whatever we choose.

For starters, Amherst member Dwight Sturtevant has set up an operating N-scale layout in the booth space. As always, operating model railroads attract visitors.

Still to come – the Amherst Railway Society is sponsoring a station rail-cam. Installation and maintenance of the camera equipment is being handled by Virtual Railfan. Live feeds of trains in and out of the station will be broadcast on the Virtual Railfan website – virtualrailfan.com.