As I write this, Hy-Rail truck #204 has just traveled through the Gateway in Crawford Notch headed west to the end of our line at Hazen in Whitefield, NH. This is the very first move of the year west of Bartlett, and they have been cutting fallen trees and removing boulders from the tracks as they go along. One fallen boulder was described as being “half the size of a Volkswagen,” but since they were able to roll it into the ditch, I think that may be a bit of an exaggeration! As of May first there is still some snow lying in the shadows of the Gateway, but they were able to make it through all right.
Back at a lower elevation, work started this week on replacing more than 600 ties on the Conway Line. The crew has already replaced a number of ties in the North Conway yard and were seen working on the ‘hill’ just south of the Station yesterday. This morning they were working along the curve at West Side Road, and at this rate they will be down to Conway by the end of the week. As in the past, we have contracted with Maine Track Maintenance of Fairfield, ME, to supply a crew and a tie inserter. Generally our crew uses our own tie inserter to remove the ‘dead’ ties, and MTM uses theirs to install the new ones. It is a system that we have refined over the years, and it works well for us.
Over at the roundhouse, the Hattie Evans received some updates to her generator control system and has since come out of the house. We received a completely rebuilt generator back from STADCO and installed it under coach 1133, the MOUNT WASHINGTON. This rebuilt generator will supply all of the power for the Valley Train and is now in ‘as new’ condition. We have been working on lots of other things, too, such as doing all of the air brake component change out and testing on our rolling stock that is required by Federal regulation. At this point, we’re in good shape and are ready for a busy season!
We have been running weekends with the regular train, and as of Saturday, May 4, we will begin running two trips daily: 11:30 to Bartlett and 1:30 to Conway. Weekday service in May is provided by the MILLIE, which is our 1952 Budd built ex-New Haven Railroad RDC-1. As of Memorial Day Weekend, all service will be provided by our conventional diesel drawn consists. Notch Train Service begins on Tuesday, June 18, this year.
The crew has been working hard all winter to prepare the railroad for your visit! Won’t you come see us this year? As always, we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Keep it safe!