We are having a real old fashioned New England winter this year, just like I remember when I was a kid! It’s been very cold with the temperatures down below zero many nights with lots of snow and ice. It’s not the kind of weather you want for taking a scenic train ride. It is, however, a good time of year for us to be working on many different projects around the railroad. People often ask us “What do you do all winter long?” The truth is it’s a really busy time of year for us with lots to do!
We have been working diligently on this year’s brochure, which for the first time in many years has been completely revamped. In celebration of our fortieth anniversary, we came up with something new. The brochure is more of a booklet this year and has a fold out ‘gate’ for a first page. There is a very interesting message from the President of the company in it as well as current information about 7470, company history, and a new way of presenting our schedules and fares. We think you will like it!
Over at the roundhouse our work continues on the building and floor along with our regular winter maintenance work on locomotives and rolling stock. The roundhouse itself has just received brand new thermo-pane windows on the parking lot side of the building to replace original windows that were badly in need of repair. The appearance of the new windows is similar to the originals except that they are one piece units and can’t be opened. The best of the old windows that came out will be used to replace some of the worst ones on the back side of the building.
All of the rail has been installed inside with just a couple of sticks left to be put in outside the rear of the building. Putting them in will reconnect the house to the back track. This past week the new radiant heating system was fired up for the first time and the floor began to get warm. That’s quite an amazing sensation in such an old building as our roundhouse!
On Track number II, the Hattie Evans has already been cycled through for some maintenance items. We repainted her roof and replaced the reflective striping along both bottom edges of the car. Replacing the striping necessitated repainting the black bottom edge under the stripes. We did some maintenance on her furnace, too, and worked on the underside of the tables in the dining section of the car. We also installed a new diaphragm on the east end of the car to give it a more finished look. Then we moved the Hattie out and put in the Carroll P Reed. The Reed is in for a number of items, not the least of which is to replace the bottom eight inches of exterior carbody with new steel. This is being done along one side of the car. For years we had been addressing this problem with plastic body filler, but the long term results were less than satisfactory. We are also replacing the drip edge over the windows with stainless steel pieces which we plan to leave unpainted. This will give the car a kind of a ‘chrome’ highlight which should present a nice appearance. All of this work will most likely mean that the car will receive a partial repaint before we are done. One wheel set is scheduled for change out with a brand new one that we have in stock, too. That will be done with a crane out in the parking lot.
Currently on Track number I is the east end truck from Gertrude Emma. This truck is in for tramming; a process which insures that all of the axles are running ‘square’ within the truck frame. A truck that is ‘out of tram’ will wear out its wheels faster than one which is perfectly square. The tramming process involves the installation of shims of various thicknesses to achieve the desired results. We are also improving the brake rods and doing some work on the center plate.
We had a good time at the big show in West Springfield, MA, at the end of January. About 21,000 people came through the doors over the course of the two day show. It was great to see so many of you there. We sold some FP9s, some coaches and 252s but mainly it was about talking to folks about coming to North Conway to ride on the railroad. We will be open again before you know it!
Keep it Safe.