Here at North Conway and all along our railroad the rails are beginning to get rusty! We prefer a nice high gloss sheen, but I am afraid that the rust will continue to encroach until April 13 when our first trains of the year will once again ply the rails between Conway & Bartlett.

Last year we had just a dusting of snow for the STEAM IN THE SNOW train. This year we had LOTS of snow for the trip. Once again we took over 300 members of the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts for a steam-powered excursion out to Notchland and back. As we have done in the past, #573 took the train west from North Conway, and #7470 made the east bound move. On the way back to North Conway, we made a series of run-bys at various locations along the line. Like last year, because of the size of the crowd, most run-bys were done in two sections so that only half of the passengers were out taking photos at one time; this procedure makes for more elbow room on the photo line. Mass Bay will be running the trip again next year! STEAM IN THE SNOW VII will run on Saturday, January 4, 2014.

Valley coach/snack bar/kitchen car #1133 has already been cycled through the shop for sealing and painting of the roof and for some other work. After #1133 came out, we put Parlor Car Gertrude Emma in for some work. We have to take advantage of the time during the off-season to work on this car because when we are running, it is always on the go! Gertrude Emma is receiving some repairs to the clerestory area of the roof as well as having all of her window sashes sanded and polyurethaned. One of the end sills was replaced with a new piece of oak, and a brass trim piece that had been missing off the railing around the observation deck was replaced too. Finally, the top of the service bar has been sanded and refinished. Dining Car Chocorua will be the next car into the shop.

In stall one of the roundhouse Locomotive #216 has just had all four wheels in the front truck machined to an “as new” profile and has had all of her periodic air brake and other work done. By the time you read this, #216 should be out of the shop and #252 will be in. Later on #573 will come in for four new power assemblies to add to the two that we did last year. #4266 and #1751 will be cycled through the shop too.

Sandy J. and Susan L. spent a week last month in Charlotte, North Carolina, where they represented us at the American Bus Association National Convention (ABA). This is a venue for visiting with our established tour partners and also a chance to talk with other operators about what they are missing and encourage them to bring their groups to ride our trains.

Russ and Paul staffed the CSRR booth at the Amherst Railway Society Show in West Springfield, Massachusetts, on January 26th and 27th. The show continues to add new exhibitors and vendors each year. Show attendance was a healthy 20,557 paid admissions and, as always, our crew had a good time meeting new people and talking with old friends. The HO version of our GP38 #252 is now available with Digital Command Control (DCC), and we had our first DCC equipped units at the show where they were very well received. We also had pre-production samples of the Notch Coaches available for inspection. All three coaches – 6739, 6743 & 6745 – were represented. 6739 is our HO offering for 2013, but you will be able to purchase all 3 cars at the same time for a special discounted price. The color reproduction on the cars is pretty close to the prototype and they have Kaydee™ couplers.

This year’s DAY OUT WITH THOMAS™ event is called the “Go Go Thomas Tour.” Tickets for this event went on sale in mid-January and are selling well. This year’s dates are, July 12, 13, 14 and the 19, 20, 21.

2013 should be a good year for operations here. We have five good operating diesels, 7470 is in service, and we have the 470 club’s GP9 #1757 to work on. Most of the rolling stock is being rotated through the shop for routine maintenance, and our track is in good shape. Please plan to come and see us sometime this season!

THANK YOU for your continued interest in and support of Conway Scenic Railroad.

Keep it safe.

Paul Hallett