Conway Scenic Railroad
The Conway Scenic Railroad (reporting mark CSRX) is a heritage railway in North Conway, New Hampshire, United States, owned and operated 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.
Conway Scenic Railroad was founded by local businessmen Bill Levy and Carroll Reed and a Boston and Maine Railroader named Dwight Smith. They purchased the abandoned station and rail line from Conway to Intervale (7 miles) from the Boston and Maine in 1974. Smith bought Canadian National 7470 and the first train was run on August 4, 1974.
In 1984, the Mountain Division was abandoned, and for ten years the Conway Scenic was insulated without a connection to the wider United States rail network, until 1994 when they obtained an operating lease from the state of New Hampshire, who had purchased the line from the Maine Central the year before. On December 17, 1994, the first train to Bartlett was run, with operations through Crawford Notch starting in September 1995. The first train to Fabyan Station was run in September 1996. Expansions east to Redstone (a village in Conway) and west to Hazen Road in Whitefield were added in June 1998, but those two points have only been used for special runs.
The original owners were bought out by husband and wife Russ and Dot Seybold in 1999. On January 30, 2018 Russ and Dot Seybold closed on the sale of the railroad to Profile Mountain Holdings Corp.
The railroad operates excursions of varying duration under two banners - the "Valley Train" which runs either south to Conway (55-minute round trip) or west to Bartlett (1¾-hour round trip), and the "Notch Train" covering the line through Crawford Notch. The Valley Train excursions include the dining car Chocorua, the 1898 open-deck Pullman observation car Gertrude Emma, an open-air car, and several restored heavyweight coaches, some dating back to the 1920s. The Notch Train service is typically a 5-hour round trip to Crawford Depot (located at the height of land in Crawford Notch), but is extended to 5½ hours during the fall foliage season when the train travels all the way to Fabyan Station, located near Bretton Woods in the town of Carroll. The Notch Train includes an open-air car (Silver Cascade No. 1308), a vista dome car (Dorthea Mae), a first-class car (Carroll P. Reed), and commuter coaches retired from the Montreal commuter pool. In 2010, a restored dining car built as N&W Powhatan Arrow 492 in 1950, and now named Hattie Evans, was added to the train. Annual special events at the railroad include Day out with Thomas, a railfan day on the first Saturday of September, Polar Express-themed trips during December, and a "Steam in the Snow" (or "Covered Wagon in the Snow" when the steam locomotive is not available) photographer's special in early January sponsored by the Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts.
Special freight operation
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. It was the first scheduled freight train through Crawford Notch since September 3, 1983, the first freight train of any kind since October 1984, and the first and only revenue freight move for the Conway Scenic to date.
Conway Scenic Railroad Overview
Locale: White Mountains region of New Hampshire
Connections: New Hampshire Central Railroad
Built by: Portland, Great Falls and Conway Railroad; Portland and Ogdensburg Railroad
Original gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Owned by: Profile Mountain Holdings Corp; Mountain Division right-of-way owned by the State of New Hampshire
Operated by: Conway Scenic Railroad
Reporting mark: CSRX
Length: 51 miles (82 km)
Preserved gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Conway Scenic Railroad No. 4266 is an EMD F7A that was built in 1950. It is an ex-Boston and Maine unit leased from the 470 Railroad Club of Portland, Maine. This locomotive serves as backup power for both the Valley Train and the Notch Train. Taken on July 20, 2009.
The Dorthea Mae Dome car. Built by the Budd Company in 1954 for Great Northern Railway Empire Builder service. Later used on Amtrak, Alaska Railroad, and Cape Cod Railroad. Acquired by Conway Scenic Railroad in 1998 and placed into service on the Notch Train in 2001. By Ron Reiring - originally posted to Flickr as Dorthea Mae Dome car, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8790096
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Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.