The New Year has arrived and we are well into the planning process for the upcoming season. We will be hosting a number of events this year which include extra service on the 4th of July and the return of “A Day Out with Thomas” on the last two weekends in July. We are planning some changes to the way this year’s Railfans’ weekend will work. The event takes place on Labor Day weekend, September 2nd and 3rd. This year there will be no Notch Train on the Saturday of the event so that participants can more fully enjoy all of the regular and extra trains that will be running between Conway and Sawyer’s River. There will be plenty of activity around the North Conway Station, including motor car and pump car rides as well as the railroad themed flea market (you can order tables now by the way!) On Sunday the “DAY WHITE MOUNTAINS EXTRA” will leave from North Conway at 0930. This train will travel east to Redstone to include that mileage and then will travel west to Hazen’s in Whitefield. We are planning to do at least two photo run-bys in exotic locations and perhaps more if time allows. Return to North Conway is planned for 5pm. The Valley Train will operate on its regular schedule on Sunday.
There will be a full slate of fall foliage trains with service to Fabyan’s starting on Sept 16 and running through Oct 14 which is the date of the 470 Railroad Club’s annual special train. After that, the train will turn at Crawford’s. There will be one last train to Fabyan’s for the season on Saturday October 21. This will be an exciting trip because by then most of the leaves are off the trees, and you can see some great views that you can’t see during the summer and early fall. The last notch trip of the season will be a trip to Crawford Depot on Saturday, Oct 28.
In November, we run weekend service which will include the option to purchase cider and donuts on many of our trips. Then we go into holiday mode with Santa on board and numerous runs to the North Pole. The season ends with old fashioned train rides from the day after Christmas until New Year’s Day.
GERTRUDE EMMA, our 1898 built Pullman Parlor car is in stall #1 of the roundhouse for some attention. Part of the work includes sanding and sealing all of the window sashes. Gertrude is 119 years old this year and is one of the crown jewels in our fleet. Notch coach 6739 is in stall #2 at the moment for work to its air brake system. We have eliminated a lot of piping and appurtenances that were related to the cab control equipment in this car. GP7 #573 is in stall 3 at this time and is the ‘shop switcher.’ It is active and can be used as needed. 7470 is in stall 4 where the work continues on it from time to time.
Right now it looks like coach 6743 will be the next car in. This car will be the last of the Notch Cars to go through the shop for bodywork and paint, so it will be in for a while.
As I write this, we are about to receive bridge timbers for 10 bridges on the Crawford Notch Line. These include the bridge over the Ellis River in Glen and the famous ‘Girders’ bridge up in the Notch near the Gateway. Maine Track Maintenance won the bid to install them and most likely do the work in the spring as soon as the snow has melted out. The timbers will be stored in North Conway until called for.
Court Gregg has decided to retire after a 40+ year career with Conway Scenic. Court ran the roundhouse here for many years and was a highly qualified steam locomotive and diesel mechanic. Of course he was a superb locomotive engineer, and he was a great teacher and instructor. Court ran the very first Conway Scenic train through the Notch to Crawford Station on September 1, 1995. Among many other things, Court taught me a lot about the safe handling of passenger trains in mountainous territory. It simply won’t be the same around here without him. He will be missed. Thank you, Court, for your service.
We will have our usual tables at Amherst Railway Society’s big show in West Springfield, MA, on January 28th and 29th. We expect to have our new DVD for sale there which is called “Working on the Railroad” and we may just possibly have some HO scale RDC-1’s from Rapido in our paint scheme available. Please stop by our tables and say ‘hello’!
KEEP IT SAFE