November 2020 Wheel Report
Conway Scenic Railroad’s Pumpkin Patch event was very popular. We operated three trains per day over eight days in the last three weekends in October. Free pumpkins were available for every child, donuts, cider and hot drinks were on sale at the Conway freight house. A variety of equipment was on display including our company fire engine. The weather was unseasonably warm during most of the event and ridership was robust. Many of our trains were sold to the limit of capacity and our 2020 Pumpkin Patch ridership exceeded 2019’s event.
November 1st Conway Scenic introduced a new timetable to reflect lower demand for excursions. However, unlike previous years, we continued to offer daily Valley trains to both Conway and Bartlett through the Thanksgiving holidays, with the 11:15am and 12:45 trains operating every day. Monday to Thursday we assigned RDC 23 Millie, while Friday through Sunday and Veterans Day we operated a locomotive-hauled consist to accommodate greater numbers of guests. In addition to Valley Trains, on November 7th and 14th, we operated two late-season Mountaineers to Crawford Notch. The lack of foliage along the line opened up numerous vistas and gave our guests stunning views of the scenery in the Mount Washington Valley. November is a special time of year on the former Maine Central Mountain Division, and these late season trains were a rare treat for our guests and lineside photographers. Following Thanksgiving, the railroad was gearing up for Christmas season trains, including our Santa’s Holiday Express and the Believe in Books Literacy Foundation’s popular Journey to the North Pole that we host every year.
Employee Special Mountaineer
On November 9, 2020, Conway Scenic Railroad operated a special Mountaineer for the benefit of its employees and their guests. This used a foreshortened train, consisting of Budd Vista domes Rhonda Lee and Dorthea Mae, dining car Hattie Evans and first-class coach C.P. Reed. Locomotive 216 did the honors. The train departed earlier than normal under clear sunny skies and proceeded to Bartlett where it paused for passengers and to collect catered meals. Upon arrival at Crawford Station, the locomotive ran around while passengers had the opportunity to stretch their legs. After a short stop, the special then proceeded eastbound and made a second stop at the site of the Mount Willard Section House-onetime home to the famous Evans Family. Here passengers were served lunch on board the train and were able to walk around the historic site and learn more about this famous place and its connections to the modern-day Conway Scenic Railroad.
Working on the Railroad
Conway Scenic continues to maintain and repair its lines. On several occasions, the railroad called work extras to assist with maintenance. Most of these trains were operated with locomotive 1751. On the week of November 9th, the railroad attended to crucial maintenance of the West Side Road grade crossing on the Conway Branch. As we head into the colder season when fewer excursions are scheduled, there will be numerous opportunities to perform maintenance along the railroad, including brush cutting, track repair, and other important jobs.
Recruiting for 2021
The railroad has ambitious plans for the 2021 operating season, which will commence early in January with the operation of the annual MassBay RRE Steam in the Snow special and will continue with Snow Trains to Attitash and our Valentine’s trains. We will be recruiting and training employees for most departments with special emphasis on operations, track, roundhouse, and culinary departments. If you are interested in working for Conway Scenic, or would like to recommend someone to work with us, please contact: [email protected]