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Boston Street Railway Association facts for kids

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The Boston Street Railway Association (BSRA) is a non-profit organization in Boston, Massachusetts, whose central objective is preserving transportation history in Boston and throughout New England. They host monthly membership meetings, publish a bimonthly transit news magazine, and are restoring an ex-Boston Type 5 streetcar. They also regularly publish their own books and materials, as well as organize fan trips on Boston's MBTA and to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Funding for the organization is provided primarily through tax-deductible member and individual donations, as well as through grants and donations from other organizations and groups.

The BSRA maintains a website at The site displays upcoming monthly meeting topics, information about the Association, and a mail-order and online bookstore.


The BSRA was founded in 1959 by ten railfans – nine in their twenties, and one teenager. That year, they purchased 1924-built Type 5 streetcar #5706 – one of only four such cars that remained – from a junkyard for $500 for future use on charter trips. The organization has since become known for its publications, which have covered various aspects of public transportation history in New England and the Boston area, its occasional fan trips on the Boston MBTA's system and other places, as well as for its bimonthly magazine, Rollsign.

Monthly meetings

For many years, monthly membership meetings were held in the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts at the corner of Tremont and Boylston streets in Boston, but after that building was renovated and repurposed, BSRA gatherings have been relocated to the Midtown Hotel on Huntington Avenue. These are open to all members as well as the general public, and typically consist of a short business meeting followed by a longer entertainment presentation. Entertainment at the meetings typically consists of photo slides and videos on various topics in public transit, modern and historical, and often covers systems around the country and around the world. Any member or officer is allowed to make a presentation of their materials, provided it is scheduled in advance with the Entertainment Chairman.

Streetcar restoration

The BSRA funds and manages the restoration of a historic "Type 5" Boston streetcar, No. 5706, which was built for the Boston Elevated Railway by J.G. Brill Co. in 1924. It was acquired by the BSRA's founding members in 1959, and the BSRA has been actively preserving and restoring the car ever since.

Fan trips

The BSRA charters occasional fan trips on Boston's transportation system and other railroad and transit-related locations. For example, a fan trip occurred on June 14, 2009, when the BSRA chartered a bus to visit their streetcar (#5706), and the Shore Line Trolley Museum in East Haven, Connecticut.

Board of Directors

BSRA Elected Board of Directors as of 2018
Bradley H. Clarke President
Thomas Athearn Vice President
Thaddeus S. Anderson Secretary
Charles Bahne Jr. Treasurer
Michael R. Prescott Publications Director
Nicholas Tomkavage RollSign Director & Editor
David F. Harling Director of Car Restoration
Jonathan Belcher Director at Large
Daniel Cohen Director at Large
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