Current Waybill: Spring 2019  Click here to download!


*May 1, 2020*


 Lines from Ireland


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 once again pass from winter towards spring it is time to plan your attendance at the AnnualMeeting on Saturday May 2ndat Pearl Street Station in Malden. There you can tell us of any ideas for or concerns about the coming year. This April is the start of our 50th year. Please share your stories of adventures with the MVRS and bring the memories alive for your fellow members. Come support your team in their effort to give you interesting tripsand events. As you travel along you may see an area which others might enjoy. If you frequent a favorite restaurant and think it could handle a bus load of hungry travelers,then let us know.We are always looking for new dining places to mix in with old favorites.Feel free to send literature forTrip Team to review when planning future visits. If we are travellingnear you,then meet up and say “hi”. It is always a pleasure to see a familiar face.



From the Vice President

by Jeff Costello 



2020: new year,new decade. We wish all members a healthy and happy new year.Mystic Valley Railway Society celebratesits 50th Anniversary on Saturday September 12th, 2020. Social Chair Ellie Manning has organized a special event at The Steaming Tender Restaurant in Palmer MA. The restaurant is in an1884 train depot, the original Palmer Union Station, and still has the look of by-gone years with lots of railroad artifacts – a step back in time. Mark that day,September 12, on your calendar and join us.We will enjoy a luncheon buffet and special souvenir surprises.

 As always, Trip Team is hard at work planning new trips.Your suggestions of restaurants and places of interest where the group could enjoy a train ride or take part in cultural activitieswould be appreciated. Help them plan trips so others canshare in what you enjoy.


Joe McDonough, co-chair of the Russell Rylko Grant Committee, received an update from the Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum that they have completed the project that MVRS helped fund through the 2019 memorial grant. The Trout Brook Bridge project extends the rail line. Unfortunately, this year MVRS chose not to participate in the Amherst Railway Society’s train show and will not offer the Russell Rylko Memorial Grant. Things change but we will offer many trips and of course our anniversary celebration.

From the Membership Chairman

by Nancy Jeanne Martin


If you are cold and wrapped up in your home -think spring! We have a number of new and interesting
MVRS trips to get you out of the house. And don’t forget the Annual Appreciation Meeting on
Saturday May 2nd.
Remember that it is time for membership renewals. If you’d like to follow the easy path then
become a Life Member, as I did, and you’ll never have to renew again. Imagine how much postage
you can save!


From the MVRS Legal Counsel

by Brad Pinta

Real Estate Purchase Contracts in Massachusetts

 Purchasing real estate in Massachusetts is quite different than in many other states in our country simply because it generally involves the parties' entering into a series of two(2) different contracts. In most instances, after a Buyer finds either a residential or commercial property that theyare interested in purchasing, they submit what is known as an Offer to Purchase ("OTP") document. The standard OTP contains, among other provisions, a description of the property, the price to be paid, the deposit requirements, the limited title requirements, and the time and place for the actual closing event. An OTP also includes provisions requiring a specified time frame in which the parties are obligated to execute a second document called the Purchase and Sale Agreement ("P&S"). The P&S is intended to be a much more comprehensive document and not only expands upon the terms and conditions of the OTP, but also addresses other potential scenarios between the parties involving the subject property both prior and subsequent to the actual closing.


Over the years, I have received countless numbers of communications from both potential Buyers and Sellers on issues relating to the enforceability of either or both of the OTP and P&S documents. A typical call from a potential client is as follows: "I just signed an OTP and left a deposit. Can I simply walk away from this deal without losing my deposit?" And on the other side of these inquiries, the Seller's question is generally whether or not they can keep a deposit previously remitted in a failed transaction by the Buyer. In most instances, the deposit monies in these types of deals are not insignificant, and this generally leads to litigation of differing varieties.


The groundbreaking case in this area of the law was issued by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1999 and is entitled McCarthy v. Tobin. In that case (in which I represented John J. McCarthy), the parties had executed the standard form OTP which provided that the transaction was subject to the parties' signing a subsequent P&S. However, between the signing of these documents, the Seller decided to sell the real estate to a third-party at a higher price. McCarthy, as the previous Buyer, insisted that the parties be bound by the OTP. After several years of litigation, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of McCarthy and determined that "the controlling fact is the intention of the parties to be bound" and that the "OTP contained all the material terms of the deal and that the P&S was merely to serve as 'a polished memorandum' of a binding contract." Therefore, in most instances, of course depending on its content, the OTP can be held to be an enforceable contract.


In Massachusetts, the McCarthy v. Tobin line of cases is still considered to be "good law," and its principles have been extended well beyond the world of real estate transactions. For example, in a situation where a proposed Buyer is looking to purchase a business entity, the parties in that type of a transaction preliminarily enter into a Letter of Intent, which generally serves as a prelude to the eventual Asset Purchase Agreement. And here again, where the parties agree to the material terms of a transaction and reflect an intent to be bound in the earlier document, in Massachusetts, courts will not hesitate to enforce such an agreement, even absent the execution of the anticipated formal second contract.


So, what does all this mean? If a Buyer decides to purchase a residential or commercial property, a business enterprise, or virtually any other asset, and both the Buyer and Seller sign a document addressing the specific terms of the parties' arrangement, even when contemplating the eventual execution of a subsequent, more comprehensive contract, in the right conditions the parties could be held to the compliance of the original signed document. In my experience, there is no such thing as an "informal" signed contract.

Want to order the new 2020 calendar?  Click Here!

From the MVRS Waybill Editor


by Roma Hertel

The Mystic Valley Railway Society is a non-profit educational corporation that was incorporated on Monday July 27, 1970with ten founding members and the goal of educating the public about transportation with an emphasis on railroads.The Rylko family has been its bedrock, and their stories intertwine.


Current President Tracey met Russ when, as a passenger on the Saturday January 19, 1974 Snowflake Special,she answered his call for volunteers to shovel snow.Their future moved onto a new track. A proposal was made during that July’s Block Island trip, and the result was their marriage on Wednesday November 27, 1974 – the day before Thanksgiving.


The club used to take the regular commuter trains to the end of the line, then transfer to charter buses. Sometimes an entire Boston and Maine commuter train would be chartered to MA destinations such as Gardner, Hyannis and North Adams (through the Hoosac Tunnel), or further afield to Weirs Beach NH, Portland ME, or Brattleboro VT. After Amtrak began operations Saturday May 1, 1971 their trains were chartered to Springfield MA, Albany and Saratoga NY – see the photos on page 3. The most popular trip was the Christmas season 34th Street Express to see the Rockettes in New York City. Many times, an Amtrak train was chartered across the international border to Montreal. Other times groups went cross-country, touring extensively on the West Coast and visiting destinations such as the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone.The first MVRS Rail-a-Rama model train show with layouts and dealers took place on Sunday February 4, 1979 at Malden’s Summerside Lodge. Admission was 50 cents for an adult or just 25 centsfor a child.The MVRS New England Railroading Calendar was introduced in 1980.


Tracey now carries the President’s torch beyond this golden anniversary.Society and the society have changed in the last half a century and what happens next depends on how we meet various challenges.As the pace of modern life seems to pick up, it feels as if there are more options to squeeze into less time.Finding volunteers to run trips and events has long been a challenge. We are all getting older and even though interesting and fun, the work is still demanding. Much has changed in the last fifty years but, personally speaking, I’m glad I hopped aboard this train.

ChesterMA: still on the tracks of Whistler’s mountain railway

By Dirk Hertel

In spring 1998, Roma planned a spring tripto Western Massachusetts. Crossing the Connecticut Riveron the Lake Shore Limited was impressive, andthen we werein a deep, narrow valley alongsidethe rushing Westfield Riverand below towering rocky cliffs. Darkness was falling but I noticed a pretty building, a picture-book American station,and could make out thename "Chester". Then the train slowed to climb an increasingly narrow gorge, screeching around tight curves. As the light faded,I wasamazed to see first one then another tall, arched, dark granite bridge over the foaming river in the middle of a wilderness.But soon we reached Pittsfield and I was caught up in our weekend away.

I learned the significance of those arches later in 1998 onan MVRS daytrip “Fall in the Berkshires”. After lunchingin that very Chester station,we visited the Keystone Arches, a double-arched bridge that still carries the Boston-Albany mainline railway across the Westfield River.Thoseseen in the spring from the train hadnotbeen used for almost a century. I was even more impressed to learn all dated from 1841, without showing the obvious signs of decay that often befall concrete bridges.

What is this mountain railway’s history? Its roots go back to when the Erie Canalopened in 1825 and siphonedcommerce away from Boston to New York City and the Hudson Valley. Plans in 1819 for a canal linking Boston toUpstate New York via the Deerfield and HoosicRivers went nowhere because of the need for a tunnel through the Hoosac Range.The Berkshires effectively cut off Boston from points west.The latest technology, railroads, was seen as the wayto access Midwestern markets. The Boston & Worcester RR was chartered in 1831, and plans for the Western RR, an extension to Upstate New York, followed in 1833. Although reaching Worcester in 1835 and Springfield in 1839, the Western Division faced two formidable barriers: the Connecticut River and the Berkshires.Under the leadership of Major George Washington Whistler, success was achieved in only 2½ years, ahead of schedule and under budget.


















This West Point graduate had studied railroad engineering in Great Britain, learning bridge building, locomotive design, and route surveying from experts such as George Stephenson and Thomas Telford. By the mid-1830s he had settledin Lowell MA where,while making his name as a locomotive designer and builder,he fathered renowned artist James McNeilWhistler[Editor’s note: think back to the Sat. 6-22-19 daytrip “Different Faces of Lowell”]. His were the first North Americanlocomotives equipped with steam whistles.His designs progressed from the light single-driver 2-2-0 engines he had seen in England to heavier 2-4-0 configurations with four driving wheels.In 1835 he had designed the Boston & Providence Railroad’s stone viaduct in Canton MA, still in use today.

The Western RR hired Whistler in 1839 as chief engineer, and he soon setworld records inrailroad engineering.At 1264 feet, his bridge over the Connecticut River was the world’s longest to date. His Berkshires route was the firstmainline mountain railway to rely solely on adhesion rather than the inclined planes which other companies such as the Baltimore & Ohioused to winch trains over mountains. The serious climb started at Chester, asthe line went up the Westfield River West Branch to the 1458-foot Washington Summit,over 1300 feet above Springfield and the highest elevation yet reached by a mainline railway.

Whistler’s Western RR was solidly built to specifications that anticipated future traffic. It was not another of those railroads built quickly, cheaply and shoddily to satisfy investorswithout consideration ofsubsequent maintenance costs. Even on the steepest section from Chester to the summit, the railroad grade of 1.65% was not excessive nor the 52% curvature too tight.Althoughdenied double trackage, the grade was defiantly built to the specifications of a double line.It was also supported by solid stone walls, culverts and stone arch bridges across the wild Westfield River, rather thanthe cheaperoption of wooden trestles.

In fact, Whistler made clever use of the emerging local stone industry. Early settlers had cleared the primeval forests,but now the soil had become depleted.Not wanting their parents’ hardscrabble existence, the new generation headed for the cities or the fertile lands of the Midwest. Those who stayed found work locally in mineral extraction. The area’s dark Chester Bluegranitewas a sought-after building material,with several quarries in neighboring Becket and two finishing mills in Chester. The arched bridges are Whistler’slasting legacy:some are still in use today; others stand idle after the 1912 mainline realignment.

Tsar Nicholas I then invited Whistler to Russia to build the Moscow – St. Petersburg Railway, and he stayed there until his death. His proposed 5-foot gauge was accepted, and his pioneering use of Howe’s truss design to cross the Connecticut became the blueprint for bridges built in Russia.

The Western RR line, opened in 1842, instantly became the trunk line connecting Boston to Upstate New York and beyond: Boston was back on the map. It took just one day forthe 200 miles between Boston and Albany. Chester’s location at the bottom of the climb gave thetown unanticipated importance. Pusher locomotives to assist the through trains were stabled in aroundhouse. The steam locomotives created work andsoon as many as 150 families were supported by someone working on the railroad.

The station, a simple Italianate wooden structure from the early 1850s, is a surviving example of the Boston & Albany Railroad’s first rural stations. Decades later, when the New York Central took over the B&A, many wooden stations were replaced by magnificent stone structures designed byH. H. Richardson and his disciples (for example the one in Palmer MA). Chester station remains, perhaps because it was mostly used by railroad employees and their familiesrather than being a destination. This year will be the 29th that this picture-book station has been at the center of Chester on Trackhosted by the Chester Foundation, and the MVRS can take you there – see page 5 for the Spring in the Berkshires trip.

(Edited from The Chester Railway Station Museum; Friends of the Keystone Arches; K. Bolduc, A Monumental History: Stories of the Berkshires; K. Nizamiev, D. Gasparini, The Howe Bridges on the Nikolayev Railway)




April 1, 2019 – March 31, 2020

President - - Theresa E. Rylko (Tracey)
Vice President - Jeffrey Costello (Jeff)
Treasurer - Judy Berson-Hoyt
Recording Secretary - Nancy Roney
Lilllian Garvey, Nancy Juskin,
Eleanor Manning (Ellie), William Manning (Billy), Nancy Jeanne Martin,
Joseph McDonough (Joe),Marcia Pennington

Positions They Fill
Boutique - Marcia Pennington
Communications/Radios/Defibrillators - Jeff Costello
Mailing Chair - Billy Manning
Membership Chairs - Ellie Manning & Nancy Jeanne Martin
Photography/Calendar - Dirk Hertel
Social Event Chair - Ellie Manning
Trade Show Coordinators - Joe McDonough
Treasurer, Emeritus - Albert W. Avjian
Trip Team - Judy Berson-Hoyt,
Ellie Manning, Tracey Rylko
W Russell Rylko Grant Committee Chair - Jeff Costello
Web Master/Computer - Dan Ouellette
Waybill Mailing Coordinator - Tracey Rylko
Waybill Editor/Button Maker - Roma Hertel


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: 

Winter 2019-2020  Fall 2019    Summer 2019   Spring 2019

 Winter 2018   Fall 2018   Summer 2018   Spring 2018

 Winter 2017   Fall 2017   Summer 2017    Spring 2017   

Winter 2016 Fall 2016   Summer 2016    Spring 2016    

Winter 2015   Fall 2015   Summer 2015     Spring 2015     

Winter 2014     Fall 2014





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Revised: Nov 2019