Conway Scenic RR
Railfans Weekend 2014
September is a great time to return to my hometown of North Conway, NH. Not only is the weather fantastic and the tourists have thinned out a bit, it's also time for Railfans' Weekend on the Conway Scenic RR. We were last here in 2008 and it was interesting to note all the changes in the railroad equipment-wise.
Things are starting to get busy in the North Conway yard. Here sit #252-216 awaiting to make up their train for the Crawford Notch run.
Acquired in a trade from Pan Am Railways in March 2010. An ex-Maine Central unit, GP38 #252 was the leading unit that pulled the last regularly scheduled freight train through Crawford Notch on September 3, 1983.
GP35 #216 was acquired in a trade from Pan Am Railways in March 2010. Ex-Springfield Terminal 216, Exx-Norfolk Southern 1328, Exxx-Norfolk and Western 1328.
#7470 is getting ready for her first run to Conway. The locomotive was built in 1921 by the Grand Trunk Railway as a class O-18-a 0-6-0.
On her way south to Conway.
While #7470 makes her run south, GP9 #1751 prepares a freight for a run to Conway. This unit was acquired in a trade from the Finger Lakes Railway in November 2011.
A little later #7470 returns, heading up-grade towards the North Conway Country Club.
As soon as the passenger train is back in the yard, #1751 heads south with its consist.
The Conway freight run left just before lunch, so we decided to await its return by having lunch at the Country Club. Its large deck provided a great panorama of the Moat Mountain range....and also of $1751 when she returned.
#1751 pulls up beside observation car Gertrude Emma. The Gertrude Emma was built by the Pullman Palace Car Company in 1898 as a sleeper-parlor-observation car for service on the new “Pennsylvania Limited” between New York and Chicago.
What a beautiful ceiling over the observation deck!
As #7470 prepares for its second run to Conway, Dwight Smith stops by to check out his "baby". Dwight bought the locomotive in 1968 and it became the first locomotive to run on the new Conway Scenic RR in 1974. #7470 is out of service for the 2016 season, undergoing a major federally-mandated inspection and overhaul.
Off she goes again to Conway, crossing the first tee of the country club.
Next up on the schedule is The Millie, a Budd Rail Diesel Car (RDC) run to Conway. We decided to get tickets for this ride. Back when I was a kid in the 1950's, I used to ride similar RDC's from Intervale down to Boston to visit my grandparents.
Conway Scenic Railroad’s car is an RDC-1 which was built for the New Haven Railroad in 1952 as their #23. It became Penn Central #68, then Amtrak #18, then Metro North #18 and was then sold to the NYSW where it was numbered M-5. As is the Conway Scenic tradition, the car reverted to its original number and became CSRR #23.
In Conway the engineer pulled the train to very end of serviceable track.
Across the road the well-grown-over track heads south to Madison and beyond.
On the way back north, the train paused for a photo runby.
After her second Conway run, #7470 is ready to back into her roundhouse stall for the night.
The next morning dawned sunny and clear yet again -a great day for our ride on the Crawford Notch train. #216 is putting our train together.
Intervale Junction - pretty snazzy, eh? We're now on the former Maine Central Mountain Division. Curving off to the right is the former Boston & Maine line back down to North Conway.
Ah, home sweet home! I grew up here in Intervale about a mile and a half north of here. Here we are passing the former Intervale Post Office. Just beyond the crossing signal the former station and freight house were in that grassy area.
We're well up into Crawford Notch now, crossing Frankenstein Trestle.
That line across the mountain just below the cliff is the railroad; we'll be up there in a few minutes.
And here we are. I waited and waited for this lady to pull her head back inside for a minute,but no such luck.
We have passed through the Gateway to the Notch and have paused at the Crawford station.
The stained-glass transom window over the station door.
As we head further north we pass the Mt Washington Hotel and the Presidential Range, ruled over by Mount Washington toward the right.
The north terminus for our ride is at Fabyans. #216 has cut off and is running around our train to prepare for the return trip back to North Conway.
At the end of the day things have quieted down in North Conway.
Although not original to the North Conway yard, this old ball signal is quite interesting.
Since our last vist, ex-MEC ten-wheeler #501 has been repainted.
#409 is a beautiful old Maine Central combine.
Another former Maine Central car is Instruction Car #2001.
#10439 is a vintage Boston & Maine caboose.