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January 2018

The Wheel Report Archives

Derek Palmieri (Photo: Dennis Adams)

The December 2017 edition of The Wheel Report saw the end of an era, 13 years to be exact, as Paul Hallett penned his last report as Operations Manager of Conway Scenic Railroad. Paul is a mentor and friend to many, not just at Conway Scenic Railroad, but in the railroad industry as a whole. I consider myself lucky to be within those ranks. While Paul will be dearly missed from the daily operations at Conway Scenic, he will always have an open invitation to lay his hand on the throttle.

It seems an appropriate time with new leadership taking over this publication that we look back at its origins before looking at the future. General Manager Russ Seybold, recalls its inception in early 2000 as a collaborative effort between himself and Gary Webster, who at the time was the Operations Manager. The intention of the publication was always to give our friends, fans, and followers a “behind the scenes” look into the operations and events that made Conway Scenic the unique operation that it still is today. The publication was handed over to Paul Hallett in 2005, in a most unceremonious way (as recalled by Hallett), and thus began a 12 years single authorship of “The Wheel Report.” This brings us to the present.

As a formal introduction, my name is Derek Palmieri, and I have been with Conway Scenic Railroad since August 4th, 2009. To our dedicated fans this date may be of significance as August 4th is also the Railroad’s birthday. I was hired on as a narrator in the Valley, and over the next nine years I worked in almost all departments, and began year round work with the company as Assistant Operations Manager in April 2016. I now find myself with large shoes to fill, and I look forward to continuing the mission of Conway Scenic Railroad to actively and safely preserve New Hampshire railroad history through live operations for all to enjoy.

After another successful season in 2017, the stars of the operation now become the hard working roundhouse crew. Many large and involved projects are scheduled for the winter season, most notably, the repainting of the Dorthea Mae Dome Car, and the interior restoration and repair of Coaches 1140 and 1109. The interior work includes repainting of the ceiling and floors, as well as seat assemblies. All the woodwork will be varnished, and much needed improvements will be made to the windows and their latches.

It is not just the roundhouse that is a hive of activity this time of year, it is also very busy upstairs in the Main Station where our new Reservations and Groups Sales Manager, Rick Krystof, is overseeing the roll-out of our new reservations’ platform. In development since mid-November, this system went live earlier this month, and we have been extremely pleased with its functionality, especially with its ease of operation for our customers.

Marketing Manager Susan is busy with our 2018 brochure, which is in production, and we expect delivery here by February 12th.  She’s also updating photos and copy for our new website.

As always, Conway Scenic Railroad will be attending the Amherst Railway Society Hobby Show. This year’s show takes place January 27th and 28th. Please note that our booth location is the same as in previous years: the Better Living Center, Booth 55.

CSRR’s 2018 Box Car (Walthers)

For those of you who are fans of our yearly released HO scale model, the 2018 model will be available for the first time at the show. This year we offer a miniature version of the newest edition to our freight fleet, a 40-foot center door, B&M themed, blue box car produced by the team at Walthers. These cars will be available for purchase at $30 each.

In an effort to better serve the fans of Conway Scenic Railroad, I am introducing, “Ask North Tower.” If you have a question about the operation of the railroad or are looking for a more in-depth insight to some of our equipment, please submit your question, along with your name, and where you read “The Wheel Report” to [email protected], for a chance to have your question answered in a future publication of “The Wheel Report.”

See you on the High Iron,

Derek Palmieri