Rail Station Society Rolls Out Three Events
The Southampton Railroad Station Society members and Board of Directors hope to get their name out to the public by attending and hosting events throughout the year.
Members of the Southampton Railroad Station Society's Board of Directors detailed several upcoming events at a general membership meeting at the Upper Southampton Township Building last week.
The first event, which will take place on Sept. 10, is a showing at the Bristol Model Club event at Tamanend Park at 10 am.
“It’s a big train display,” said Board Member Charlie Liberto. “It’s going to cover the whole inside of the carriage house.”
Liberto said The Model Club will run all sorts of trains as people walk around the display.
Next, the Society plans to mark the 90th anniversary of the Bryn Athyn train wreck.
This tragedy occurred Dec. 5, 1921 when two, wooden passenger trains collided along the Reading Railroad. Twenty-seven people died.
“Right after that, the state banned wooden coaches from being used,” Liberto said. “Everything went up in flames and there were heroics, where people were crawling through the coaches, pulling other people out.”
Expected to attend are officials from Bryn Athyn Borough, representatives from Bryn Athyn College and the post office authority, four politicians and relatives of some of the survivors.
“What makes it a big deal is that it’s the 90th anniversary,” Liberto said. “There are still people that are living that are related to people who were on the train.”
Dave Krewson, a former Northampton Township lawyer and son of a train wreck survivor, will open the memorial ceremony as a speaker.
The memorial ceremony will be held at the Bryn Athyn Post Office on Dec. 5 at 10am.
A third event, the Second Annual Railfest, will take place just five days later, on Dec. 10.
The Railfest will be held at the North and Southampton Reformed Church. The church cemetery is home to the victims of the Bryn Athyn wreck.
“There are actually people from the train wreck buried in the back of the church,” Liberto said. “They have the names [written] down, but they couldn’t identify the bodies because they were charred so bad…so there is a marble or granite marker that says ‘Here lies the people who died at the Infamous Bryn Athyn Train Wreck December 5, 1921.’”
The church auditoriums will host craft vendors, displays, and activities, like running trains for kids, and refreshments will be available.
The proceeds for the event will go to a mission rebuilding poverty stricken homes in the South, for example Hurricane Katrina victims.
“Last year we ended up with about 800 to 900 people. We’re expecting like 1200 or 1300 people this year,” said Liberto.
The SRRSS also hosts a farmer’s market on the second and fourth Saturday of every month from now until October.
Each month, The SRRSS meets at the Southampton Township Municipal Building to discuss the restoration of the iconic Southampton Station.
The station is one of three remaining buildings on the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad’s Newtown line. There are many plans and visions for restoring the property, but the Board and Society are always looking for new ways to raise funds and finance the many projects.
“It’s hard to publicize, but it’s significant,” Board Treasurer Leon Duminiak said.
For more information on how you can get involved in the SRRSS or its events, check the website for volunteer or membership opportunities and more.