I regret that I only had a few hours to visit Conway Scenic Railroad in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. It was the middle of a three day photo charter but due to distance and some major traffic delays from the first day’s location, I showed up late one October Saturday to catch only part of the last trip behind steam locomotive 7470 pulling the Conway Valley Train between North Conway and Conway.
Conway Scenic Railroad 7470
7470 is a smaller 0-6-0 coal-fired locomotive built in 1921 by the Grand Trunk Railroad’s shops. It was originally numbered 1795 until the Grand Trunk was absorbed by Canadian National Railways two years later and renumbered 7470. The locomotive has been at Conway Scenic Railroad since the operation began in 1974. Today it has a limited operating schedule from mid-September to mid-October during the fall color season, a special snow excursion in winter, and occasional charters.
My short visit to the Conway Scenic Railroad culminated in a night photo session with 7470 as the subject, attached to a short freight train. The train was spotted in front of the beautiful and unique North Conway station, which was constructed in 1874. I must admit that night photography is not my strong suit, with most of my results hit or miss….well, mostly miss to be honest. I love seeing the work of other people, who seem to have more skills for night photography than I do.
The Conway Scenic Railroad highlight for me was, after 7470 brought the Conway Valley passenger train in, the locomotive moved down into the yard to get the freight cars. There was a nice collection of various cars from fallen flags, which looked like they might have been attached to 7470 or her sisters back in the 1950’s. I set up my video camera and watched as she first backed the train, and then switched to a track that would lead the consist past me and to the station. There was nothing modern in my field of vision, so the scene could indeed have been from the 1950’s. It made for a great piece of footage.
Later I hiked to the station and recorded the last of the day’s visitors taking pictures of each other in front of the locomotive and the depot. I focused on some of the people and had fun with two men having an animated conversation in front of the North Conway sign. In spite of the short visit, Conway Scenic Railroad made a powerful impression on me, and I will absolutely go back and spend a much longer time there.
Visit the Conway Scenic Railroad
Had I had more time, like a few days, there would have been much more to see and do. The Conway Scenic Railroad has a hefty schedule of diesel train rides as well as trips in a self propelled “Budd Car” built by the Budd Company in 1952. When I was there in late 2008 they still had two FP9 diesels operating, but they have since been sold to Pan Am railways.
Conway Scenic Railroad offers a variety of trips to different locations with varying lengths to allow visitors to plan just how much “train time” to enjoy. All of the trips travel through beautiful scenery in this spectacular part of New Hampshire. If possible, take all of them to get the full experience.
There is much more about Conway Scenic Railroad on their website.
My video story about visiting Conway Scenic Railroad is on the Steam in the Mountains Volume 1 DVD.
This DVD also features chapters of Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad, Durango & Silverton Photo Freight, and the Black Hills Central Railroad.
There’s more information about the DVD and previews here.
Steve Mitchell, Yard Goat Images