Conway Scenic Railroad

Conway Scenic Railroad
Conway Scenic Railroad
Reporting mark CSRX
Locale White Mountains region of New Hampshire
Dates of operation August 4, 1974–
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) (standard gauge)
Headquarters North Conway, New Hampshire
North Conway Depot and Railroad Yard
Conway Scenic Railroad is located in New Hampshire
Location: Norcross Circle
North Conway, New Hampshire
Coordinates: 44°3′6″N 71°7′44″W / 44.05167°N 71.12889°W / 44.05167; -71.12889Coordinates: 44°3′6″N 71°7′44″W / 44.05167°N 71.12889°W / 44.05167; -71.12889
Built: 1874
Architect: Nathaniel J. Bradlee
Governing body: State of New Hampshire, Conway Scenic Railroad; Private
NRHP Reference#: 79003792
Added to NRHP: August 10, 1979

The Conway Scenic Railroad (reporting mark CSRX)[1] is a heritage railway in North Conway, New Hampshire. The railroad operates over two historic railway routes: a line from North Conway to Conway that was formerly part of the Conway Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad, and a line from North Conway through Crawford Notch to Fabyan that was once part of the Mountain Division of the Maine Central Railroad. The Conway line is owned by Conway Scenic and the Mountain Division is owned by the State of New Hampshire. Russ Seybold is owner and president of the Conway Scenic.

The railroad's main terminal is located in historic downtown North Conway in the Mount Washington valley. The station complex has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.[2]

Contents

Operations

The Dorothea Mae dome car.

The railroad operates excursions of varying duration under two banners - the “Valley Train” which runs either south to Conway (55 minute round trip) or north to Bartlett (1¾ hour round trip), and the “Notch Train” covering the line through Crawford Notch. The Valley Train excursions include the dining car Chocorua, the open-deck Pullman observation car Gertrude Emma, an open-air car, and several heavyweight coaches. The Notch Train service is typically a 5 hour round trip to Crawford Depot (located at the height of land in Crawford Notch), but is extended to 5½ hours during the fall foliage season when the train travels all the way to Fabyan Station, located near Bretton Woods in the town of Carroll. The Notch Train includes an open-air car (Silver Cascade), a vista dome car (Dorthea Mae), a first-class car (Carroll P. Reed), and commuter coaches retired from the Montreal commuter pool. There are two cars undergoing restoration for this train. One is a regular coach and the other is a dining car named Hattie Evans. The dining car is planned to be ready for use in 2010.[3] Annual special events at the railroad include Day out with Thomas, a Railfan Weekend in late September, Polar Express-themed trips during December, and a “Steam in the Snow” photographer’s special in early January sponsored by the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts.[4]

Special freight operation

On June 20, 2009, a 20-axle Schnabel car was brought down through Crawford Notch carrying a 227-ton transformer for Public Service of New Hampshire, an electrical utility company. It was the first scheduled freight train through Crawford Notch since September 3, 1983 and the first and only revenue freight move for the Conway Scenic to date.[5]

Locomotive roster

Active units

Number Builder Type Build Date Status Notes
7470 Grand Trunk Railway Point St. Charles Shops Steam, 0-6-0, CN O-18-a 1921 Operational 7470 is the only active coal-fired standard gauge steam locomotive in New Hampshire. This engine was originally built in 1921 by the Grand Trunk Railway as #1795, which was absorbed by the Canadian National Railways two years later as #7470. 7470 began operation on the Conway Scenic with the railroad’s inception in 1974. Until the early 1990s its number was abbreviated as 47. Today, 7470 is used primarily to power the Conway-bound Valley Trains during the autumn seasons, as well as special excursions such as Steam in the Snow. 7470 used to run during the summer months as well but hadn't done so since 2007. In early 2010 it was decided to only operate it mid-September to mid-October and reserve the summer for special excursions only.
573 EMD GP7 1950 Operational Ex-Maine Central unit acquired from Guilford Rail System. Typically referred to as "Mr. Miller's Engine", 573 was the preferred power for the Maine Central business train by the president of the Maine Central Railroad, E. Spencer Miller. 573 led the last business train through Crawford Notch (St. Johnsbury to Portland) shortly before Guilford closed the line in 1984. When Guilford acquired the Delaware and Hudson Railway in 1984, 573 became Delaware & Hudson 573. In 1988 when Guilford sold the D&H, they kept 573 and assigned it to Springfield Terminal and renumbered it 27. 573's first season at the Conway Scenic (1996) was operated as number 27. Today 573 is the typical motive power for Valley Train excursions.
4266 EMD F7A 1949 Operational An ex-Boston & Maine unit leased from the 470 Railroad Club of Portland, Maine. This locomotive was the last "F unit" to operate on the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1976. Today the engine serves as backup power for both the Valley Train and the Notch Train.
23 Budd Company RDC-1 1952 Operational AKA "Millie"; the only fully operational RDC in New Hampshire. Originally built for the New Haven Railroad. Purchased from the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway in the summer of 2008; used to provide Valley Train services during the off-peak season and private charters. 23 is slated to become an additional coach car on the notch train during the foliage seasons.
252 EMD GP38 1966 Operational Acquired in a trade from Pan Am Railways in March 2010. An ex-Boston and Maine, exx-Maine Central unit, 252 was the leading unit that pulled the last regularly scheduled freight train through Crawford Notch on September 3, 1983. In the late 1980s 252 was put into storage until 1995 when it was taken out, refurbished and assigned to the B&M. 252 was retired by Pan Am in December 2009. On June 23, 2010, 252 was delivered to the Conway Scenic at which time Conway Scenic personnel brought the engine to North Conway from Whitefield under its own power. To keep with Maine Central tradition, management has nicknamed 252 and 216 the "Yellow Birds". On July 13, 2010, Kurt Ward, a resident of Conway and a former Conway Scenic employee (2000) was killed in a railroad accident while working at the Pan Am Railways East Deerfield Yard in East Deerfield, Massachusetts. Because Kurt Ward worked extensively with this engine, on July 28, 2010 the Conway Scenic named 252 in his honor.
216 EMD GP35 1965 Operational Acquired in a trade from Pan Am Railways in March 2010. Ex-Springfield Terminal 216, Exx-Norfolk Southern 1328, Exxx-Norfolk and Western 1328. 216 has been assigned to the notch train along with 252 and is expected to operate on a rotating schedule with 252. The engine has dual controls in the cab and can be operated from either side. 216 was delivered on May 14, 2010 and made its inaugural run June 22, 2010. To keep with Maine Central tradition, management has nicknamed 216 and 252 the "Yellow Birds".

Inoperable units

Number Builder Type Build Date Status Notes
501 Alco Steam, 2-8-0 1910 Display; inoperable Originally built for the Maine Central Railroad, 501 is currently owned by the 470 Railroad Club.[6] This locomotive was at one time under restoration for operation on the Conway Scenic, but since 2009 that plan was stopped. 501 is on display next to the turntable in North Conway and has undergone a cosmetic restoration.
4268 EMD F7A 1949 Display; inoperable An ex-Boston and Maine unit exx-EMD Demonstration unit #930 now owned by the 470 Railroad Club, 4268 is currently on display near the freight house in North Conway. This engine at one time was going to become a Cabbage Car/Control unit. The engine is currently undergoing a cosmetic restoration.
1943 General Electric B23-7 1978 Pending Trade Originally owned by Conrail, this locomotive was slotted to take over regular Notch Train duties from the Sisters when its overhaul was complete. Although the engine made many test runs, it never made it into regular service due to ongoing electrical issues. Since the addition of 216 and 252 the future of this engine became uncertain. Currently sitting on display near the turntable.
2820 General Electric U23B 1975 Pending Trade Originally owned by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, this locomotive ran briefly in 2006 and 2007 before suffering a broken crankshaft. Currently stored in the north end of the rail yard behind the roundhouse in North Conway. Since the addition of 216 and 252 the future of this engine is uncertain.
360 General Electric 44-tonner Display Owned by the State of New Hampshire; lettered for New Hampshire Central. This engine, which arrived on property in June 2005, is for sale. 360 has never been in operation for the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Former units

Number Builder Type Build Date Notes
6505/6516 GMD FP9s 1954/1957 A pair of ex-Canadian National units, nicknamed "the Sisters". These locomotives were acquired from Via Rail and were delivered to the Conway Scenic on August 14, 1995. The locomotives were the primary motive power for Notch Train excursions starting on September 16, 1995, with 6516 entering into service working the notch with ex-B&M 4266. 6505 entered service a year later and would remain like that until August 2006 when service was taken over by 2820. The Sisters worked the last few weeks of the 2006 notch train season but would not turn a wheel again till September 2007 when the 2820 suffered a broken crank shaft. From that point on the Sisters remained the primary power through the 2009 season. In March 2010, the locomotives were traded to Pan Am Railways for 252 and 216 to become the motive power for Pan Am's business train. 6505, which last operated on October 18, 2009, was shipped out on May 14, 2010 and had its inaugural run with Pan Am Railways on July 1, 2010 under its new number "PAR 1". 6516, which last operated on May 31, 2010, was shipped out on July 7, 2010, running the engine under its own power for the final time through Crawford Notch. 6516 rejoined "PAR 1" and became "PAR 2", having its inaugural run with Pan Am Railways on August 1, 2010. The sisters were seen together for the ceremonial kick-off for the Downeaster track work extension in Brunswick, Maine on August 2, 2010.
1055 Alco S-4 1950 An ex-Portland Terminal Company unit. This locomotive provided backup power for Valley Train excursions and was the railroad's main engine for the Valley excursions until the arrival of 573 in 1996. 1055 was sold to the Downeast Scenic Railroad (DSRX) on April 9, 2010 and was shipped out on May 14, 2010.
15 General Electric 44-tonner 1945 An ex-Maine Central unit,[7] this engine last operated in October 2005 during Railfan's Weekend. 15 used to serve as the primary engine for the MOW crew and was the first diesel engine to operate on the Conway Scenic. The unit was sold in December 2010 to the Southern Prairie Railway in Ogema, Saskatchewan and was shipped out on a flatbed truck on June 14, 2011. The engine arrived at its new home 7 days later.
108 Baldwin Steam, 2-6-2 1920 Originally "San Augustine County Lumber Company" #108 and later became Angelina and Neches River Railroad #108 until 1954 when it was sold to the Reader Railroad. Acquired from the Reader Railroad, 108 operated on the Conway Scenic from 1976 to 1986, when it was retired due to mechanical issues and the engine not being powerful enough to pull on steep grades. The engine was sold shortly after and sat on display in North Conway unprotected from the elements going through different ownership until 1999, when it was sold to Rannoch Corporation who moved it back to its home state of Texas, where it was stored on the Blacklands Railroad and disassembled.[8][9] One of the last times 108 was seen in operation was when it pulled ex-MEC 501 out of the round house on Railfan's Weekend in September 1986. Now owned by Robbins Rail Museum of Alabama, 108 still resides in Texas in pieces.

Hattie Evans Dining Car grease fire

On Wednesday, July 13, 2011 the Hattie Evans Dining Car sustained a small grease fire while in route to Crawford's Station.[10] The fire was contained in the kitchen with little to no damage and no one was harmed during the incident. The Hattie Evans was cleared for service 2 days later after cleaning and inspection of the kitchen area.

See also

References

External links


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