We made history twice in the last couple weeks here at Conway Scenic! On Monday, September 29, 2014, new table car #6749 was added to the consist of the Notch Train and made its first trip to Crawford Notch and Fabyan Station. I have not personally had a chance to ride in it yet, but our train crews report that it is a smooth riding car, and it is being very well received by the traveling public. So far we have been assigning motor coach groups to ride in the car, usually groups that are railroad themed such as “America by Rail” and “Great Train Escapes.“
This car began life in 1952 when it was built by Canadian Car & Foundry Company for the Canadian National Railroad’s Montreal commuter service. It was retired from that service in the early 1990s and was sold to Conway Scenic Railroad as part of a group of four cars; those being numbered 6739, 6743, 6745 and 6749. The first three were put into service on the Mountain almost immediately, but the 6749 languished in the North Yard for many years, being used as a parts supply for miscellaneous pieces of hardware that were needed by the other cars.
Over a year ago now our Group Sales Manager (she really is responsible for way more than group sales) went to the General Manager and told him that we needed another car for the Notch Train. She said if we could provide another car, she could fill the seats! The challenge had been made and the company responded! You can see the results in our new Table Car #6749, the “Mt. Webster.” This project was a major team effort and everyone who was involved is to be congratulated on a JOB WELL DONE!
Oh yes – the second part of history in the making? On Friday, October 3, 2014, we assembled our first 9 car Notch Train and ran it to Fabyans! I just happened to be the scheduled engineer for that day so the honor fell to me. I can tell you that the 216 and the 252 had no problems handling the train as far as power goes. The two units hustled those nine cars right up the hill just as you would expect a combined 4,500 HP to do!
On the other hand, the dynamic brakes are now just about at their limit for holding back all those cars on the 2.2% grades up there. It’s not a problem, though, because just a touch of train air keeps the train well within the speed limit. I have to say that I enjoyed that day immensely and look forward to many more. The day I ran was sunny, relatively warm and bright. The next day brought light rain and wind which resulted in lots of leaves down on the rails; Courtney had some issues with traction as is the case in the Fall on all railroads here in the Northeast, but he had plenty of sand and made it through to Fabyans on time!
If you get over to North Conway soon, be sure to take a look in the south courtyard of the Station. It seems that three pumpkin-headed hobos have set up a track-side camp there! It’s our entry into this year’s Pumpkin People contest, and our thanks go to Reuven Grehan and Derek Palmieri for coming up with the idea and then executing it. There are lots of little ‘Hooverville’ details in the scene. Check it out if you get a chance.
Steam will be out this weekend, October 11 & 12 and then again for a final STEAM in the SNOW train sponsored once again by the Mass Bay Railroad enthusiasts on January 3, 2015. Get your tickets early for that train.
THANK YOU for your interest and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Keep it Safe,