The 2012 season has come to an official close with the safe and successful operation of the Sixth Annual Steam in the Snow train on Saturday, January 5. This year for the first time in a few years, we actually had a pretty decent amount of snow which made it nice for the photographers who were on board. 7470 ran well and, if the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts want, she will be available to run the Seventh Annual Steam in the Snow train next year before she comes due for her 15 year boiler work. The trip was sold out again this year. Perhaps because of that, and the fact that there was a goodly amount of snow on the ground, there were more ‘chasers’ than ever before. I observed about 50 automobiles following the train at various locations along the route. Thanks to Mass Bay for sponsoring this train!

As we enter the winter maintenance period this year, the idea is to rotate almost the entire fleet of 14 operating cars through the shops for routine mechanical attention as well as any other work that is required to keep them running and looking good. All of the seats will be inspected for worn, torn or cut upholstery, and any items will be replaced as necessary. A couple of the cars that are almost always on the move need some roof work done so this will give us a chance to do that. Gertrude Emma will receive quite a bit of attention this off season. We plan to do a fair amount of mechanical work on her, as well as to varnish the window sashes and redo her gold leaf pin stripes and lettering. There aren’t too many wooden 1898-built cars left that are still in daily service! We are glad to have a chance to put her in the shop for a while to give her the attention that she needs and deserves.

All of the active motive power will be rotated through the shop for attention too. As examples, #216 will be coming in for wheel profiling and some minor electrical work. 573 will be receiving 4 more rebuilt power assemblies. 1751 needs her coupler height adjusted, etc. This process will give us a chance to make sure that we are in the best shape we can be for the coming season.

We are looking forward to seeing many of you at the Amherst Railway Society Show in West Springfield at the end of the month. This year our HO offering will be one of the Notch Train coaches and we expect to have a sample in hand for your inspection at the show. This continues the idea of offering as many of the Notch Train cars as we can so you can make an actual notch train set. We are also talking with a supplier about making sound available in the few remaining 252 model locomotives that we have left for sale. With luck we will have a sound-equipped sample 252 at the show.

I’d like to take a minute to thank you all for coming to see and ride our trains this past year. Without your patronage we go nowhere fast! Thank you to all of our employees who do an excellent job. We get good letters and emails about you! Many of our employees work long hours in difficult conditions, and a few work short hours in easy conditions, but it takes all of us working together to make this railroad run right. I also want to thank our top management for having the clear vision and the intestinal fortitude that is necessary to keep our company thriving through difficult economic times.

Thank you all for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad. Keep it Safe.

Paul Hallett