July 3, 2014, was the 87th anniversary of the explosion of Maine Central locomotive #505. The locomotive was being used as a mid-train helper on a westbound move up through Crawford Notch. The engineer that day was Robert B. Morse and his fireman was Oscar W. Clemons. Both men died as a result of the accident.
I mention this because on July 5th Bob Morse’s son Stephen rode the Notch Train along with his family, and I had a chance to meet and speak with him at Crawford Depot. Stephen was only four years old when he lost his Dad in 1927; he is a spry 91 years old today and was enjoying his time on the Notch Train.
Our engineer slowed the train to a crawl when he passed the 505 monument west of Avalanche brook at Mile Post 81 so that Mr. Morse could get a good look at it. I run the Notch Train from time to time myself, and I always blow the horn twice each time I pass the memorial for 505. I do this in
tribute not only to the crew of Maine Central #505 but for all of the railroaders who have come before us, both living and dead, who have worked so hard to make it possible for us to operate trains on the Mountain today. This line is truly rich in its own history. Please refer to the history section of our website for more details of the 1927 wreck.
This has been a great year for black bear sightings along the railroad! They seem to be everywhere, and I have also seen fox and Peregrine Falcon up in the area of Frankenstein Trestle. Often you will see this kind of wildlife from the train, but I have the advantage of going out on ‘track patrol’ from time to time in one of our hy-rail trucks, and that’s when you have the best chance of seeing these animals close-up.
Thomas the Tank Engine™ is here this month, and we are very glad to have the opportunity to host him. It will be six days of fun activities for kids of all ages! This year, the locomotive tour engine will be our own steam locomotive #7470. We have built special steps to the cab to allow safe access to the locomotive, and we have tried to clean her up a bit but don’t be surprised if a bit of pin grease and coal dust clings to you after your visit!
Seriously, this is a great chance to introduce kids to a working steam locomotive. There are tons of other activities, too, such as motor car rides, mini golf, Imagination Station, musical entertainment, and you can even meet Sir Topham Hatt™! It is a fun-filled day, and I especially like this event because it brings young families to the railroad that might never have been here for a visit before. That’s good for business and for keeping this awesome property operating far into the future.
Speaking of 7470, we still don’t know what the status of our waiver request is, but we expect to hear any day now. As soon as we know what her status is, good or bad, we will let you know via our Facebook page.
As always we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad. Have a good summer and make it a SAFE one.