Saturday & Sunday, October 2-3 10 AM to 4 PM
Boxboro Regency Hotel
242 Adams Place
Boxborough MA 01719
Admission is $8 for age 13 and up and is valid for both days. Children under 12 and Scouts in uniform are free.
Attractions include model railroad displays, layouts, exhibits, a new Kids Caboose Junction containing all sorts of fun for families, and dealers. According to Peter D'Olimpio, a director of the Nashua Valley Railroad Association (NVRRA), "We have expanded floor space this year by almost 75% this year to include our new 'Kids Caboose Junction' which will offer a variety of hands-on exhibits for children." The Junction will include, among other activities, a Disneyland monorail layout complete with many characters, two large interactive modular layouts where children can activate various scenes on selected modules, "Operation Lifesaver" which promotes railroad safety, and other famous kids' trains and exhibits.
The event is geared towards families with children, model railroaders (new and experienced), and anyone who enjoys trains or model railroading. “We will have many exhibitors such as the Amherst Belt Lines, the National Model Railroad Association’s Hub Division, and the European Train Enthusiasts Clubs who will operate their huge and spectacular modular train layouts with a variety of running trains. Many other displays showing various railroad exhibits (both operating and stationary) will be on hand also. Over 35 model railroad dealers will be on hand to sell, buy, or trade all sorts of model railroad items. It will be a fun day for all attendees!” says D’Olimpio.
The hobby of model railroading is alive and well in central Massachusetts due to the efforts of The Nashua Valley Model Railroad Association (NVRRA) of Shirley, MA. The NVRRA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the hobby since 1952. The NVRRA currently operates a state-of-the-art model train museum which has over 2,000 linear feet of mainline track and over 3,000 feet of track, including the yards and sidings. The layout is modelled after the Boston and Maine Railroad during the early 1980s, which ran from Portland, ME to Mechanicville, NY. “It contains most major cities and towns between Portland and Mechanicville and the buildings and scenery around each location is fairly representative of the actual locations back in the day” says D’Olimpio. “Once you enter our museum, the enormity of the layout immediately strikes you. You will see 4 levels of track in some places, enormous freight yards, scenery, and a helix measuring 8 feet in diameter which connects lower and upper tracks.” The layout is a work in progress but the association has made a lot of progress since moving to their current location. Members and guests regularly attend operating sessions of the layout, and private tours may be scheduled by calling call 978-225-0650 or submitting a request at https://nvrra.com/.
Members enjoy building as well as operating the many different sections of the layout. “Given the size of the layout, we can simultaneously run as many trains as we want and some of the trains can each be hauling over 65 cars” D’Olimpio explains. “When we run 15 or so different trains doing different things at the same time, it can get confusing! We use a dispatcher to dispatch trains between locations and keep trains from having problems. We haven’t had any major collisions, but we sure have had some traffic jams and foul ups just like the real railroads!!”
The NVRRA has been featured in Model Railroader magazine, Model Railroad News and other hobby publications. Members have a passion for model railroading and share their passion at local train shows and open houses throughout New England. One of their most memorable efforts was providing a model train layout to a 7-year-old boy through the Make a Wish Foundation. The NVRRA has a mix of beginners and veterans with many years of experience. “The camaraderie we have is special and amazing. We work together so well with each of us having complementary skills. Some of us have been friends 20 or more years.”
Membership information is available on their website, https://nvrra.com/.
The Nashua Valley Rail Road Association, Inc.
2 Shaker Rd, Suite E205
Shirley MA 01464