We recently made up the summer Valley Train, which is to say that the Notch Train cars are now off the train and the Valley red cars are on. We just finished up some work on open car #1557 including roof work and touch up painting which allowed us to put it in the consist at the same time. Dining car CHOCORUA was put on, too, and lunch is now being offered daily on the 11:30 and 1:30 trips. Dinner is available at 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays only until July 2nd, when our full dining car schedule begins.
At this time, deluxe first class car CARROLL P REED is receiving its brand new generator (which is tier 4 compliant), and we are cleaning and preparing all of the other Notch equipment for Notch Train service which begins this month.
We had to change out a starting battery in GP-35 #216. Over the winter it developed a ‘dead cell’ in one of its batteries. The 216 has ‘unitized’ batteries which means that, instead of having eight individual batteries that are 8 volts each, it has two really big batteries (one on each side) that are 32 volts each. The batteries are connected in series for a total of 64 volts and 500 amps for starting purposes. Each one of the two unitized batteries is approximately 34″ wide, 27″ deep and 21″ high and weighs about 1500 lbs. They are much larger than your car battery! The problem with a unitized battery is that, when you lose one of the 16 cells, the whole thing has to be replaced. Technically, you can replace a dead cell, but it is specialized work that requires the proper training, equipment and safety gear to complete.
We recently had a group of about 70 fourth & fifth graders from the CONVAL school district (Contoocook Valley, in the Peterborough area) ride the train and a take a tour of the Station and yard facilities in North Conway. Since it was such a large group, we split them into two groups, and I had the honor of leading one of them on a tour. The kids were very well behaved and interested in how things related to the railroad over a hundred years ago. I am not sure if they could really grasp the idea of a time when there were no cars and trucks but only unpaved roads that were used by horse and buggy! I tried to stress how momentous the coming of the railroad really was. Up until that time, people could go no faster than a horse could gallop. In addition, unless the kids had already been to Conway Scenic, they had never seen a ball signal or a hand-operated crossing gate or a Roundhouse with its accompanying turntable. They didn’t know that a caboose was only used on freight trains and that it was the Conductor’s office on wheels. History is all around us here at Conway Scenic; come and enjoy some of it for yourself!
On June 8th, we ran an RDC trip for members of the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts and the Boston & Maine Historical Society. The MILLIE (our 1952 ex- New Haven RR Budd built RDC-1) was sold out for the trip. We started off by running down to Conway where we ran right to the extreme end of operable track at North Road. We then reversed direction back to the trestle at Moat Brook where we did our first photo run-by. Then we ran up to Mountain Junction and reversed direction to Redstone. At Pudding Pond we had to pull up our pant legs and wade through a stretch of high water (caused by beaver dams) before we made it down to Bolton Hill Road. At this point we did something new! We crossed over the road and ran about another 250 feet toward Portand! Those of you who are mileage collectors can appreciate this best, and those of you who aren’t are probably saying what’s the big deal? Anyway we did it, and it was fun. We then headed west again, meeting the Valley train at Mountain Junction at 1:05. We ran out to Notchland, then returned to North Conway, and a great time was had by all.
Notch service starts this month!
As always, we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Keep it safe.