Thanks to El Niño, we have had a mild winter so far this year. It’s very unusual to be able to see bare ground around this neck of the woods this time of the year, but never-the-less there it is.
We have just returned from our annual trek to West Springfield, MA, where we attended the Amherst Railway Society’s big railroad hobby show. It was great to see so many old friends and to talk with new people and families who have never been to our railroad. When I have a free moment there, I walk around the show to see if I can find any items that might be of use to us in North Conway. I like to look for EMD cab keys and B&M switch locks and keys of the type that we still use daily here during the operating season. This year the pickings were kind of sparse, but I did find a nice red glass lens that will be used to repair an old Adlake rear end marker that we have had in the ticket office for a long time now. Many thanks to Pete Davis, Dennis Adams, Steve Nickless and Deidre Logan for their help staffing the tables for two fun-filled days at the show!
Over at the roundhouse, we have been busy working on the Notch Train’s open car, #1308 Silver Cascade, and a Notch coach, #6745 Mount Willard. #1308 was built as a coach for the Central Railroad of New Jersey in 1931 which makes it 85 years old this month! We are working on the floor of this car as well as making some significant repairs to the steel work on the lower edges of the car body. In fact, we are replacing the lower 10” of steel with new material for the entire length of the car body which is about 140 linear feet when you include both sides. That is a lot of work! #6745 is in for upgrades to the electrical system, and it will receive new oak interior accents like the other coaches in this series have.
We have been working on steam locomotive #7470 as well. At this time, a good size portion of the firebox door sheet has been cut out and removed. Under the direction of Brian Fanslau from Boothbay Railway village, a new piece will be formed from the correct material and then welded into place. This piece is complicated because instead of just being a flat sheet, it has to have a raised flare around the fire door opening and also has to have the actual door opening with the necessary curvature formed into it. This curvature and flare will have to be formed by heating the new steel to the proper temperature and then placing it over a form. At that point special long handled hammers will be used to hammer the sheet into the proper shape. This process is commonly referred to as the ‘heat and beat’ method of sheet forming! We plan to do the actual heating and beating right here in our own roundhouse. That should be an interesting day.
Our 2016 brochure is at the printer’s now, and we expect delivery by February 11. The online version should be up on our website by February 9. That’s about all for now. As always we thank you for your continued interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Keep it Safe!