We were off and running on weekends as of April 11, and patronage has been excellent. All indicators are for a good 2015 season. Bookings are strong for Thomas in July, and we have at least three couples who are planning to be married and/or have their wedding receptions on board the Gertrude Emma this month and next. Not a bad way to get started in matrimonial bliss, if you ask me!

Even at this late date, snow conditions in the Notch have prevented us from hy-railing through the Gateway. Nathan and Wendell were able to walk down to Willey Brook Bridge from the Gateway however, and they reported some new minor rockfalls but nothing that has impacted the track in any way. We have been over the line as far as Notchland on the other end, so we still don’t know how things look between Notchland and Willey Brook.

We are making our plans to install about 500 ties on the Conway Line and around 1200 on the Crawford Notch Line. We use 6″ x 8″ x 8′ 6″ ties on our lines, and they are in very short supply this year. It seems that the sawmills want to turn out 7″ x 9″ x 8′ 6″ ties because they can use the same log as the smaller ties and get more money for them. The first tie company I tried had a six month backlog for orders, and the second one was 90 days. I went with the ninety days, and those ties will be coming out of West Virginia. It could be mid-June or later this year before we begin our tie program.

RDC #23 has just spent a week in the shop undergoing its first 92 day inspection of the season. In addition to the usual inspection items, we replaced the glazing in the “A” end windshield. The existing glazing had been badly scratched at some point in the past, and having the new one is a huge improvement. When #23 came out of the shop, GP 35 #216 went in for her 92 day inspection. We have changed a number of worn packing cups in her brake cylinders as well as some worn pedestal liners. We are doing some work on contactors in the electrical cabinet as well as all of the regular 92 day inspection items. It won’t be long now before #216 starts making her four times weekly trips to Crawford Depot!

It came to my attention recently that there were two pieces of broken stained glass in the clestory section of the Gertrude Emma. I googled ‘stained glass’ for the Conway area and came up with the ‘Stained Glass Shack’ on West Main Street in Conway. Rose did a great job repairing those 117 year old windows! It turns out that her shop is right by the Conway Freight House, and I just know that coal smoke from 7470 has drifted into her shop many, many times after we have run around the train there and are preparing to return to North Conway. I am glad we could do business with her!

Out in the yard, Bob Marshall finally had the opportunity to tie in the crossing flashers that are located beside the B&M shanty. They now operate with the same switch that controls the wig-wag signal. Check them out the next time you are on the property.

That’s about it for now. Don’t forget to get your tickets for our ‘Day Out with Thomas’ event coming up in July. Thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Keep it Safe

Paul Hallett