We managed to get both the Bartlett and the Conway lines open in time for our opening day which was April 12 this year, but it was a struggle. We called upon the services of the Bartlett Snowmobile club and asked them to use their groomer to open the line between Albany Ave in Bartlett Village and Bear Peak at Attitash. That was necessary due to the deep snow that had built up along that area of the line during the winter. The best way to keep a railroad clear in snow conditions is to operate it frequently; that way you keep up with each accumulation. Our last operation had been on January 4th for Steam in the Snow. As a result, there was a long period of inactivity which allowed layer upon layer of snow and ice to build up over the track.
We have been operating on weekends since April 12, and as I write this we are beginning daily operations. The regular spring consist will be operating weekends (with GP7 #573), and the Budd Car (RDC-1 #23) is covering the weekday schedule. Trains leave daily from North Conway at 11:30 for Bartlett and at 1:30 for Conway. We will follow this schedule until Memorial Day Weekend when additional trains will be added. Check our schedule here.
Currently at the roundhouse, RDC #23 is in Stall 1 and has just undergone an FRA 92 day inspection. One end of the car had a lot of body filler under the engineer’s window which had cracked some time ago. We have repaired that by removing the old filler and pulling the dent out. A skim coat of body filler was applied, and we primed and painted it and applied another one of our New Haven railroad-styled Conway Scenic logos. It looks like new now. The pilot heights were adjusted on the car, and a lot of work around the engines and drive trains was done such as filter change outs and greasing of the drive shafts. Next into stall one will be GP38 #252 for a 92 FRA inspection. The new longer inspection pit is really helping us to get these inspections done in a timely manner.
Stall 2 holds car #6749, which is the new table car. Work is progressing on that pretty well, but there is an awful lot to do. All of the formed steel for the window openings is at least tacked in place, and we are fabricating the window frames. All of these features need to be welded up solid, and that is going to require miles of welding! The type and color of the flooring and the upholstery for the seating has been picked out, so we are coming along.
Stall 3 is the holding area for the new booths for the #6749 car, and F7 #4266 is in stall four. She has just received a 92-day inspection and is ready for the road. At this moment, only the #4266 and the #573 are fully operational and ready to run. Pretty soon we will water up GP 35 #216 and then she will be ready to go too.
We received a complete set of new switch timbers, 136 regular ties, and 3 custom bridge timbers for the Conway Line from a tie plant in West Virginia late last month and have already installed some of the switch timbers in the switch near the Golf Course in the North Conway yard. We will get to the bridge timbers in the next couple of weeks and will fog the 136 regular ties into the line during the course of the summer.
Steam locomotive #7470 is scheduled to run a Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts’ charter on Saturday, May 31, called “The 7470 Photo Special.” There are only 120 seats available in coach on this train and 36 seats in first class. The train will carry the following equipment: 3 ex-Central of New Jersey coaches (built by Standard Steel Car in the 1920s), ex-B&M wooden open car #1557 (1911 Laconia) and Parlor Observation Car Gertrude Emma (1898 Pullman Palace Car). This will be one of the last times 7470 runs before it goes out of service for its federally mandated overhaul unless our waiver request is granted. Tickets are available at www.massbayrre.org. This train will run from North Conway to Notchland including side trips to Conway & Redstone.
That’s all for now. Many thanks for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad!
Keep it Safe,