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Conway Scenic Railroad

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Conway Scenic Railroad
EMD F7 No. 4268 on display beside the 1874 North Conway freight depot with GP7 No. 573
LocaleWhite Mountains region of New Hampshire
ConnectionsNew Hampshire Central Railroad
Commercial operations
Built byConway Branch: Portsmouth, Great Falls and Conway Railroad;
Mountain Division: Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad
Original gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Preserved operations
Owned byProfile Mountain Holdings Corp; Mountain Division right-of-way owned by the State of New Hampshire
Operated byConway Scenic Railroad
Reporting markCSRX
Length51 miles (82 km)
Preserved gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Commercial history
Opened1872
1875Mountain Division is completed and connected
1890Boston and Maine Corporation acquires the Conway Branch
1972Conway Branch abandoned north of Ossipee
1983Crawford Notch regular service ends in September
1984Last Crawford Notch train (October)
1992Mountain Division abandoned east of Whitefield
ClosedN. Conway Station 1961
Preservation history
August 4, 1974Started
1994Mountain Division operations begin
HeadquartersNorth Conway
Website
conwayscenic.com

The Conway Scenic Railroad (reporting mark CSRX)[1] is a heritage railroad in North Conway, New Hampshire, owned by Profile Mountain Holdings Corp. The railroad operates over two historic railway routes: a line from North Conway to Conway that was formerly part of the Conway Branch of the Boston and Maine Railroad, and a line from North Conway through Crawford Notch to Fabyan that was once part of the Mountain Division of the Maine Central Railroad. The Conway line is owned by Conway Scenic, and the Mountain Division is owned by the State of New Hampshire.

The railroad's main terminal is located in historic downtown North Conway in the Mount Washington valley. The station complex has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979.[2]

History

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The Conway Scenic Railroad was formed by Dwight Smith, who was an employee of the Boston and Maine Railroad in the late 1960s. After years of negotiations, Smith was able to convince his employer to sell a portion of the Conway Branch, which it planned to abandon, to him and two local businessmen in 1974, and the Conway Scenic Railroad began that year.[3] In 1999, the original owners were bought out by husband and wife Russ and Dot Seybold and on January 30, 2018, the railroad was sold again to Profile Mountain Holdings Corp.[4][5]

Operations

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The Dorthea Mae dome car

The railroad operates passenger trains out of its station in North Conway Village from April to December each year.[6]

Special freight operation

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On June 20, 2009, a 20-axle Schnabel car was brought down through Crawford Notch carrying a 227-ton transformer for Public Service of New Hampshire, an electrical utility company. The train was led by locomotives No. 573, No. 6505 and No. 6516. It was the first scheduled freight train through Crawford Notch since September 3, 1983, and the first freight train of any kind since October 1984. The empty cars were shipped out nine days later, led by No. 6505 and No. 4266. This shipment completed the first and only revenue freight move for the Conway Scenic to date.[7]

Equipment

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Locomotives

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Locomotive details[8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15]
Number Images Builder Type Wheel Arrangement Build date Serial Number Status
23 Budd Company RDC-1 RDC-1 1952 5504 Operational
216 EMD GP35 (B-B) 1965 30297 Operational
252 EMD GP38 (B-B) 1966 32661 Operational
255 EMD GP38 (B-B) 1966 32664 Operational
360 General Electric 44-tonner (B-B) 1942 Unknown Display
501 Alco Steam 2-8-0 1910 47732 Undergoing restoration
573 EMD GP7 (B-B) 1950 12369 Operational
1741 EMD GP9 (B-B) 1957 23239 Display, awaiting possible restoration
1751 EMD GP9 (B-B) 1965 22036 Operational
4266 EMD F7A (B-B) 1949 8476 Operational
4268 EMD F7A (B-B) 1949 9932 Operational
7470 Grand Trunk Railway Steam 0-6-0 1921 22/1500 Operational

No. 7470 is a former Canadian National Railway locomotive, named in honor of Dwight Smith, who purchased it in 1968.[8] It is New Hampshire's only active coal-fired standard-gauge steam locomotive, and has been operating at the Conway Scenic since the railroad's inception.[9]

No. 501 is a former Maine Central Unit. It was purchased from the 470 Railroad Club in early 2019. Having arrived in November 1983, it has been on display for several years. It is undergoing restoration inside the railroad’s roundhouse, as of November 2022.[10][16]

No. 573 is a former Maine Central unit. It arrived on property in 1995 from the Springfield Terminal. It was named in honor of longtime engineer Gordon Lang in 2021. This unit is typically assigned to the Heritage Excursions.[11]

No. 4266 is a former Boston and Maine Railroad unit. It arrived on property in the early 1980's after being purchased by the 470 railroad club of Portland, Maine. This locomotive is not owned by Conway Scenic. The engine sees limited service, including an annual 470 railroad club special in the fall.[17]

No. 4268 is another former Boston & Maine Railroad unit. It arrived at the Conway Scenic in 1992 were it sat on static display for twenty years. It returned to active service in April 2022.

No. 216 was acquired from Pan Am Railways in March 2010 along with No. 252, and it arrived in May 2010. The locomotive is usually seen in service on the Mountaineer.[13]

No. 252 is a former Maine Central unit. It was acquired in a trade from Pan Am Railways in March 2010.[8] Named in honor of Kurt Ward, it is primarily used in rotation to pull the Mountaineer trains.

No. 255 is another former Maine Central unit. It was acquired from the Vermont Railway in 2021.[12]

No. 1751 was acquired in 2012 in a trade with Finger Lakes Railway. It arrived on property in September 2012. Today, 1751 sees usage on the Mountaineer, Heritage Excursions, and occasional work extras.[14]

No. 23 was originally built for the New Haven Railroad. It arrived on property in 2008 from the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway. The RDC sees limited service on the railroad, typically reserved for charters or special events.

No. 360 is owned by the State of New Hampshire. This engine arrived on property in June 2005 from the New Hampshire Central Railroad and has since been on static display. It is the only unit that has never been in operation for the Conway Scenic Railroad and, as of 2017, there are no plans of restoring this unit back to full operation.[18]

No. 1741 is another former Boston & Maine Railroad unit. It is owned by the 470 Railroad Club. It arrived in October 2020 and is inoperable as of December 2020.[15]

Former units

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Locomotive details[19][20][21][22]
Number Builder Type Build date Wheel Arrangement Serial Number
15 General Electric 44-tonner 1945 (B-B) 27975
108 Baldwin Steam 1920 2-6-2 52820
1055 Alco S-4 1950 (B-B) 78416
1757 EMD GP9 1956 (B-B) 21888

No. 15 is an ex-Maine Central unit. This engine arrived by rail in 1975 and was the first ever diesel engine for the railroad.[19] It was used as the primary power when the railroad was not operating a steam engine. Operated for Conway Scenic Railroad from 1975 to 2005, it last operated during Railfans' Weekend in October 2005. It was later sold to the Southern Prairie Railway in 2011 where it received a full restoration and continues service.[23][24]

No. 108 is an ex-San Augustine County Lumber Company and later ex-Angelina and Neches River Railroad and ex-Reader Railroad. It was acquired from the Reader Railroad in 1976. Operated for Conway Scenic Railroad from 1977 to 1988. In 1999, it was moved back to Texas, where, as of July 2011, it is stored at the Blacklands Railroad in a disassembled state. The engine is now owned by Robbins Rail Museum.[20][25]

An ex-Portland Terminal Company unit. This locomotive arrived by rail in 1981 and immediately became the primary power for the railroad and later the Valley Train excursions, until the arrival of 573 in 1996. From then on the engine was used as backup for the valley trains and special duty only, until the engine was sold to the Downeast Scenic Railroad on April 9, 2010. The engine was shipped out by rail on May 14 of that year and became the primary power for the Downeast Scenic Railroad.[22]

No. 1757 is a former ex-Penn Central, ex-Conrail and ex-New Hampshire North Coast Railroad. It was originally owned by the 470 Railroad Club. This engine arrived in September 2012, and its engine was used to help restore B&M No. 4268. In 2018, the generator, engine, and trucks were transferred over to the No. 4268. In March 2022, the shell of the locomotive was shipped to Hudson, Maine to be cut up for scrap.[21]

2022 accident

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On the morning of January 3, 2022 at 4:44am, a radio inside No. 7470's cab caught fire, and it caused the inside of the locomotive's cab to burn up as well. The fire also damaged the spring in the whistle valve, causing the whistle to continuously blow, which alerted the nearby steam locomotive mechanic, who called 9-1-1.[26] The nearby fire department arrived shortly afterward to put the fire out. Had it not been for the whistle valve blowing itself, the 1874-built roundhouse it was stored in would have received critical fire damage and collapsed onto No. 7470. The cab has since been repaired and the engine returned to service in June 2022.[27]

Appearances in film

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In the 2005 Christmas television film, The 12 Dogs of Christmas, starring Jordan-Claire Green, the museum's depot was filmed in several scenes during the beginning of the film, and the Conway Scenic's passenger cars were also used in the film.[28]

See also

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References

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  1. ^ "Search MARKs". Railinc. Archived from the original on July 15, 2011. Retrieved July 27, 2009.
  2. ^ "NEW HAMPSHIRE - Carroll County". National Register of Historic Places. (District - #79003792)
  3. ^ Amadon, Ron (July 23, 1977). "A Nostalgic Train Ride". The Telegraph. Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  4. ^ "History: Conway Scenic Railroad, Inc". Conway Scenic Railroad. Archived from the original on December 22, 2016. Retrieved December 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Eastman, Tom (January 31, 2018). "Conway Scenic RR sold to Profile Mountain Holdings Corp". The Conway Daily Sun.
  6. ^ "Visit NH: Conway Scenic Railroad, Inc". Visit NH. Archived from the original on October 29, 2021. Retrieved October 11, 2021.
  7. ^ Tucker, Edith (June 24, 2009). "End of line for made in China transformer. 411-ton transformer is hauled on Conway Scenic RR". Coos County Democrat. Retrieved July 17, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c Solomon, Brian (May 2020). "Steam, Stunning Scenery, Ghosts, and a Cat Named Cinders". Trains. pp. 32–39.
  9. ^ a b "Steam Engine #7470". Conway Scenic Railroad. Retrieved April 15, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Eastman, Tom (April 13, 2018). "ALL ABOARD! Conway Scenic's 44th season opens with new owners". The Conway Daily Sun.
  11. ^ a b Solomon, Brian. "April 2021 Wheel Report". Conway Scenic Railroad.
  12. ^ a b "Conway Scenic Acquires Second Maine Central GP38". Railfan & Railroad Magazine. October 19, 2021.
  13. ^ a b Solomon, Brian. "October 2020 Wheel Report". Conway Scenic Railroad.
  14. ^ a b Solomon, Brian. "October 2020 Wheel Report". Conway Scenic Railroad.
  15. ^ a b "Historical Group Saves Boston & Maine GP9". Railfan & Railroad Magazine. December 24, 2020.
  16. ^ Solomon, Brian (September 13, 2022). "Maine Central 501 on the Move!". Tracking the Light. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  17. ^ "4266 and 4268 Updates on July 30 and August 1". The 470 Railroad Club Blog. August 1, 2021.
  18. ^ "New Hampshire Central Diesel Power". The Diesel Shop.
  19. ^ a b "Maine Central 44 Ton Switcher #15". Ozark Mountain Railcar. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
  20. ^ a b "Request for Expressions of Interest in Acquisition of Steam Locomotive #108". Railway Preservation News. July 25, 2005. Retrieved June 28, 2011.
  21. ^ a b "Old CSRR locomotive is dismantled for scrap". The Conway Daily Sun. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  22. ^ a b "Rail Equipment". Retrieved November 1, 2023.
  23. ^ "Maine Central 44 Ton Switcher #15". Ozark Mountain Railcar. Archived from the original on September 27, 2009.
  24. ^ "Conway Scenic Railroad". www.thedieselshop.us. Retrieved October 4, 2021.
  25. ^ "Steam Locomotive #108". The Rannoch Corporation. Archived from the original on February 4, 2005. Retrieved July 27, 2011.
  26. ^ Parsons, Jeff. "Fire in Conway Scenic Railroad Steam Locomotive Causes Whistle to Blow Alerting Staff". Q97.9. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  27. ^ Eastman, Tom. "Minor engine fire cancels special run at CSRR". Q97.9. Retrieved January 3, 2022.
  28. ^ Merrill, Kieth (May 7, 2004). "12 Dogs of Christmas". Meridian Magazine.
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