We have begun to experience some cool nights here in the mountains which can only mean that Fall is on the way, and with Fall comes foliage and our busiest time of the year.
Our track crew has been working hard over the course of the summer. They have just completed the work of rebuilding the switch at Willey siding. A large number of new switch timbers were installed there. This switch and siding are located about half way between Frankenstein Trestle and Willey Brook Bridge. The siding there is used mostly to clear up track maintenance equipment so that the Notch Train can pass by, and, for a while, we once used it to store a carload of new ties that we received a few years back. The track crew has also been installing new ties here and there along the line which is an endless job (‘job security’ as the guys would say!). They have been replacing faded signage along the line, too, and cutting ‘clear views’ at the crossings where they are needed. A ‘clear view’ is simply an area at railroad crossings that is opened up (vegetation removed) so that motorists can see clearly up and down the track. These areas tend to grow back in and have to be re-cut periodically. Members of the track crew also inspect all active track twice each week, and they patrol ahead of each and every Notch Train. The work they do is vital to our operations, and they do it well.
In addition to the work that our own crew is doing, we also had a track work contractor on the property working at Crawford Depot for a week in August. Maine Track Maintenance, Inc. had just finished a job at a nearby railroad and was available to come over to line and surface 1000′ of track at the Crawford Depot passing track. They also did some work on one of the curves leading into the gateway and made a substantial improvement there. This work at Crawford yard was the last piece of work that needed to be finished from all the lining and surfacing that was done last year.
Over at the Roundhouse, Steam locomotive #7470 had a successful hydro test and, barring any unforeseen issues, will be in service for about a month from mid-September to mid-October. She will be running from North Conway to Conway at 10:30, 1:30 and 4:30 every day. We look forward to hearing the steam whistle echo through the valley again! Conway Scenic Caboose, ex Grand Trunk #75955, has been in the Roundhouse for about a week for some wood work and mechanical work. The brakes needed some attention, and many pieces of wooden siding had to be replaced. The caboose (aka the van, hack, buggy, crummy, baby carriage, dog house, clown wagon, way car, brain box, etc.) is currently getting a new coat of paint and will be out and about during Railfans’ weekend. This is the one opportunity each year that the public has a chance to ride in a real caboose on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
In the diesel locomotive department, we discovered that one of GP-9 #1751’s cooling fans was kaput. So we replaced it! Problem solved. We are still kicking around ideas for 1751’s paint scheme, but it has pretty much been decided that it should be based on a Boston & Maine scheme and should have lots of maroon in it. The feeling is that we have paid homage to Maine Central with the yellow birds and now need to balance it out with a B&M scheme.
That’s all for now. If you can get a chance to come to North Conway while steam is running, I would do it! As always, we thank you for your interest in and support of the Conway Scenic Railroad.
Keep it Safe.