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November 2017

The Wheel Report Archives

Our warm weather operating season has come to a close as the last leaves of autumn are falling from the trees. We had strong ridership during the foliage season and ran our last Notch Train on Saturday, October 28 along with a Murder Mystery Train to Frankenstein Trestle that same evening. At this point we are running weekend service to Conway only with trips departing at 11:30 and 1:30.

Journey to the North Pole starts the day after Thanksgiving and will run most Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec 23. These are evening trains departing at 4:30 and 7 pm. Also starting the day after Thanksgiving we will be operating our Santa’s Holiday Express Trains to Conway at 11:30 and 1:30 with an added 2:45 departure on Saturday, November 25. These trains run through December 23. We will be open daily starting the day after Christmas with two departures at 11:30 and 1:30. Our last day of the 2017 season will be Sunday, December 31.

It’s that time of year when Conway Scenic hosts an end of the summer operating season dinner for our employees and it seems like a good time to review what was accomplished in the previous twelve months. The following is a partial list of what we have been up to:

  • We attended the Amherst Railway Society’s Big Railroad & Hobby show in Massachusetts.
  • Rapido made a run of HO RDC’s for us decorated like our RDC 1 the MILLIE.
  • We released a new DVD, called WORKING ON THE RAILROAD (copies still available in our gift shop!)
  • We went to Boothbay Railway Village to help form a new door sheet for steam locomotive #7470’s firebox.
  • We did body work on, and completely repainted, Notch Coach #6743 MOUNT WILLEY.
  • GERTRUDE EMMA was in the shop for sanding, varnishing and truck work.
  • We sent a contingent to the American Bus Association convention in order to keep those motor coaches coming to North Conway.
  • We discovered that the old turntable the Maine Central used in North Conway was a transplant from Brunswick, Maine. (This was the table across town and has long since be removed).
  • We had so much snow last February that we felt it prudent to shovel the snow off the overhangs of the North Conway Station. It was the first time we had done that in several years.
  • We installed Public Address system upgrades on the Valley Train in Gertrude Emma and Chocorua.
  • For the first time in about 5 years we had to use the big Russell Snow Plow to help clear the line to Bartlett in order to be ready for opening day in April.
  • Frankenstein Trestle and George Smalls pump car were used in a TV Network production that we are told “will be seen by millions”. Still haven’t seen it yet, but I hope to someday!
  • We hired a contractor with an excavator that has hy-rail gear on it and a cutting head mounted where the bucket would normally be to cut brush along the line. He made a huge improvement.
  • GP35 #216 received a lot of new low voltage wiring.
  • We hosted two, 3 day weekends of a DAY OUT WITH THOMAS.
  • In August we went to Whitefield with 1751 and picked up two freight cars. An old Boston & Maine box car and a Maine Central pulp rack car. The box car was prepped, painted and used on Railfans’ Day. The pulp rack is currently in Bartlett, awaiting restoration.
  • On the way back from Whitefield we cut a large number of overhanging branches using the box car as a platform to work from.
  • On Saturday, September 2nd we held our annual Railfans’ Day which was completely new this year and was a great success.
  • On Sunday, September 3rd we ran a 9 car train from North Conway to the Whitefield diamond. This involved running on another railroad (The New Hampshire Central) and was the first passenger train to run over the diamond in about 3 decades.

MP 64 in Glen, near the North Pole

In more current news you may have heard that the recent wind and rain storm has caused several serious washouts along the Crawford Notch Line. The damage was not as severe as what we received from Tropical Storm Irene a few years back but it is still very significant. No bridges were affected this time around but we have a lot of roadbed to replace and there is a discussion about adding some box culverts to help alleviate a repeat situation.  At least the timing was good for this storm as we had operated our last scheduled Notch Trains just two days before the line had to be taken out of service. By the time you read this repairs will be well under way. See our Facebook page for more photos of the damage.

Waiting for the Pumpkin Patch Express – Dennis Adams Photo

We recently made some big improvements to the area around the Conway Freight House. Our company has acquired some land adjacent to the Freight house on the west side of the track. We took the short siding that had the bumping post out and replaced it with a platform. Trees were removed, grass was planted, a split rail fence was installed and all of a sudden we had a new place to go for our Pumpkin Patch runs! We used a tent for the festivities this year but a more permanent structure is being planned for the future. By the way, we saved the bumping post and will use it in the North Conway Yard at some point. Next time you are in the area, drive by the Conway Freight house – you will be amazed by the change!

As always we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Keep it safe!

Paul Hallett