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New York Chapter National Railway Historical Society

Welcome to the New York Chapter NRHS!

NRHS logo: NRHS letters with lines through them, plus circular logo with steam loco

The New York Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society meets monthly except for July and August. Our regular meeting date is the first Monday of each month, September through June.


Coronavirus restrictions remain in effect in New York City, so our regular meeting venue, St. Margaret's House, remains unavailable.

We have held successful "virtual" meetings in so far this fall using the popular Zoom application, and we will be doing this again for our December 7 meeting.

Details to join the December 7 meeting at 7:30 p.m.:

If you have installed the Zoom application on your computer or mobile device, you should be able to log in by clicking here.

If you do not have the Zoom app installed, it may be necessary to have the Zoom meeting ID and password. If you receive a copy of the New York Chapter newsletter Flashes & Ashes, this information is included in the December issue. If you do not receive the newsletter, email Gary Kazin at to obtain the credentials.

Our meetings are open to all.

Entertainment: Kenneth Lin, Branch Line Japan!

Past New York Chapter President Kenneth Lin takes us to Japan, famed for its Shinkansen high speed trains that started the high-speed train revolution. Ken’s trip to Japan was a race against time! Japan’s network of rural branch and secondary lines is under extreme threat and face an uncertain future.

An aging and shrinking population and rural to city migration is eroding the rural railway ridership base. The railway is under stress as experienced workers retire, and as the rolling stock and physical plant ages. To make matters worse, new highway construction on parallel routes siphons ridership; and highway travel can be faster than the train.

As if that wasn’t enough, Japan is subject to earthquakes, typhoons, landslides and flooding — and these forces have suddenly and permanently closed lines without warning. Many of these rural lines are scenic and offer a view into a part of Japan frequently missed by tourists.

During an intense two-week trip in May 2019, Ken rode and photographed as many of these lines as he could, crisscrossing the country. These will be the subject of our 60-90 minute December presentation.

After Ken’s trip several of these lines suffered weather-induced closures, including one line which had just been rebuilt months earlier from a previous natural disaster.

His planned May 2020 trip to focus on additional rural lines was postponed due to the pandemic.

This page last updated November 24, 2020.