We had so much snow in the North Conway area in early February that we thought it would be prudent to shovel the snow load off of the overhangs of the station at North Conway. We also had to remove snow that was about three feet deep from the turntable deck. The station overhangs were shoveled by hand but, for the turntable deck, we used our trusty Craftsman snow blower. It took three men about four hours to get the snow off the table, and then it took more time to shovel out the ring rail in the pit. Both were necessary so that we could get coach 6743 out of the house and turned around so that we could prepare the other side of it for paint. Having deep snow in the turntable pit is a definite drawback, but railroads have been dealing with the problem for years, and we are no exception.
After the turntable was made useable again we started GP7 573 and took it out of stall #3, then through the yard and down the hill so that, when the time comes, we can pull GERTRUDE EMMA out of stall #1 and put it on the main line over by the station. GERTRUDE EMMA will be coming out of the house very soon, then we will begin to do our diesel locomotive maintenance work. All of our diesel locomotives will be receiving 92-day periodic inspections before they are returned to service this year. The RDC still has a significant amount of accrued out of service time since its last 92-day and other inspections, so it will be ready to go to work when called upon.
Derek Palmieri, who is the Assistant Operations Manager here, has been working with a local contractor to research and then install a new public address system on board our Valley Train. This work will include the replacement of our old Radio Shack and Pyramid brand amplifiers with new Bogan amplifiers. New high quality job matched speakers will be installed as well. Six Valley Train cars will be rewired with the P/A wire run in new metal conduit along with the installation of junction boxes and receptacles at the car ends. A new style of heavy duty jumpers will be used to carry the signal from car to car. We looked briefly into wireless technology for doing this job but the older “tried and true” technology seemed to be more appropriate at this time. We expect that this work will significantly enhance the quality of our passenger’s experience as they ride our trains through the Mt. Washington Valley.
I was up to Boothbay Railway Village in Maine recently where I witnessed progress on the forming of the inside fire door sheet for our steam locomotive #7470. The crew up there was just going to form the outside of the sheet enough to tack it with weld to the die but since the piece was hot, and the guys there were ready to go, some great progress was made on forming the sheet. The sheet gets heated red hot and then is struck with a large heavy wooden mallet until the piece of steel has attained the required shape. While it is not rocket science, it is an interesting process to watch. It is estimated that there will be another four to five hours of heating and hammering needed to attain the final shape. We will be sending a crew from North Conway to assist in completing the process before the month is out. After the hammering is done, the piece will be ‘normalized’ in an industrial oven. This will relieve any stress in the material in order to make it safe and suitable for service.
As always we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
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