The busy operating season has come to a close just in time for us to catch a breath! We are currently operating weekend service only until Christmas vacation week. This includes service on the day after Thanksgiving. In addition we will be operating “Journey to the North Pole” trains; these run mostly Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings with one Thursday evening added right before Christmas.
The season ended on a high note with many 9 car trains running to Crawford Depot and Fabyan Station this season. It was interesting to me that we had exceptional patronage on October 22 when we ran one last train to Fabyan for the season. Because of a 3:00 pm “Pumpkin Patch” train running to Glen on that day, we ran the Notch Train to Fabyan. Regular service to Fabyan had ended on October 9th. If the Notch Train had run on its regular Crawford Depot schedule, the Valley Train would still be in Glen when the Notch Train was due, so the problem was solved by using the additional time that it takes the Notch Train to run to Fabyan and back. That last train to Fabyan was packed with passengers! Foliage was mostly gone but, with the leaves off the trees, you could see deep into the woods and, when we had traveled beyond Frankenstein Trestle, the views of Crawford Notch were wicked impressive!
Each year around this time, Conway Scenic hosts an end of the operating season dinner for our employees, and I generally talk about what we did in the previous twelve months. The following is a partial list of what was accomplished:
- Notch Coach #6745 went through the shop for bodywork & Paint.
- Notch Open coach #1308 went through the shop for an extensive rebuild, including repairs to the concrete floor, the addition of 10” of new steel along the entire length of the bottom edge of the car body on both sides, new stainless steel panels under the window openings on the inside plus other body work and paint.
- Locomotive #252 received a new oil cooler and a new governor.
- Locomotive #4266 received a ½ set of starting batteries to join the ½ set that we put in last year.
- Four out of five of our locomotives had extensive periodic air brake work done.
- The work continued on Steam Locomotive 7470 with most of the new firebox steel ready for installation.
- We purchased and put into service our first hy-rail truck that has hydraulically-operated rail gear.
- The North Conway Station E. Howard Clock was repaired and returned to service after it failed.
- 1500 ties were installed between Conway and Fabyan.
- Approximately 50 rails were turned end for end to bring in the gauge and equalize rail wear up in the Notch.
- Maine Central RPO #409, built by Osgood-Bradly in 1912, was repaired and painted. It came out really nice!