It’s mid-summer already! July was a busy month at Conway Scenic Railroad. Our Conway to North Conway shuttle trains for the fourth of July festivities were very well received by the traveling public. In fact, we had to replace one of the Budd Car runs with conventional equipment because of the demand for service. 84 seats on the Budd weren’t enough to satisfy the demand, so we took the Notch Train equipment down to Conway for the 7 PM shuttle pick up. We staffed the Conway Freight House for the day with ticket agents, and we had a couple of people helping to park cars in the lot there.
In addition to the regular Valley Trains which picked people up at 2 PM and 5 PM, we ran two extras. The RDC picked up at 6 PM and the Notch Equipment picked people up at 7 PM. All were delivered to Schouler Park which is across the street from the North Conway Station. After the fireworks at about 10:30 PM, we returned everyone to Conway using an 8 car consist that had locomotives at each end. More than 500 people took advantage of the service, and a good time was had by all. It was really nice and very enjoyable to have a night run to Conway. Happy Birthday, Uncle Sam!
The other big event for July was our annual DAY OUT WITH THOMAS™. This year, locomotive #6 (Percy) joined locomotive #1 (Thomas) for the event. Each locomotive had its own train, and this enabled us to offer a departing train every half hour. Thomas departed on the hour, and Percy departed on the half hour. We had near record-breaking crowds for the event. The North Conway Model Railroad Club was open each day of the event, and the Cotton Valley Rail Trail members provided rides on their motor cars. The Children’s Museum provided staffing for the ‘Imagination Station’ tent where the kids created craft items and enjoyed a multitude of fun activities. Of course, there also was plenty of good food provided by ‘Sugar Shakers’ and a large retail tent for those special Thomas the Tank Engine gift items. Percy was a big hit and especially so, it seemed to me, with the girls in the crowd! It was nice to have an outside connected 0-4-0 on the property for a while. That kind of brought me back to my roots in the tourist railroad business.
At this point we don’t know if we will do July fourth shuttle service again or if Percy will return next year. Time will tell.
We had to take #216 out of service for about a week because of a failing coupling on the shaft that drives the auxiliary generator. With some ‘second day air’ parts from one of our suppliers and the excellent work of our shop staff, #216 is again ready for service. During the time that #216 was down, we lost the dynamic brake capability on the #252. This is not a big issue as we always have the use of the conventional air brakes. What did happen, though, was that we held both #216 and #252 out of service on the same day and #1751 made the trip to the Notch with the 5 car train. #1751 has turned out to be an excellent locomotive for us. It is well suited for the need that we have here, and it is a welcomed addition to the fleet. I am getting used to having those New York Central lightning stripes around here!
Railfans’ Day is on Saturday, September 5th this year; come and join us for an interesting day of heritage railroading with a free night photo session.
As always, we thank you for your interest in and your support of the Conway Scenic Railroad. I hope to see you on the North Conway platform soon!
Keep it Safe,