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V1 – North Conway

B&M 1220 entering the roundhouseNothing to me says railroad more than the iconic station in North Conway, NH.  While paint and maintenance were not up to historical standards in the 1960s, this unique and beautiful station are essential to modelling North Conway. I have not yet spent time taking current day photographs of the area, but many pictures are available at and elsewhere spanning the years of the station, tracks, and roundhouse.  Here are a couple great photos by Ted Houghton(1) from showing the station in 1967:

Locomotives: BM 1220(SW9)

Locomotives: BM 1220(SW9) Rolling Stock: BM Roundhouse (Other/Not Listed) BM station (Other/Not Listed)

I have read that passenger service from Boston to North Conway ended in 1961, and that the “snow trains” to Conway ended in 1950.  But there is photographic evidence of special excursion trains composed of Rail Diesel Cars being run to North Conway at least until the 1970s, and the very last snow train headed by diesel power GP18s n front of the RDCs was photographed in Conway on February 26th, 1972.

B&M Last Snow Train 1972

Here is an earlier poster from 1956 advertising the snow trains for ski season at that time:

Snow Train Poster 1956

Here is a photo of an excursion train bound for Crawford Notch from the beginning of October of 1965, during the height of fall foliage season.

Passenger Excursion

The timing could not be better for my railroad, which I had previously decided would be set in late September in the mi-1960s.  This makes my small fleet of RDCs an apt addition and gives it a legitimate place in future operations. Here we see two photos of RDCs during ski season, one taken in 1969 and the other in 1970.

B&M Snow Train 1969

B&M Snow Train 1970

B&M Snow Train 1970

Freight service from the south also continued until 1972, when the tracks from Ossipee to Conway become abandoned.  After that point, freight service continued north of Conway locally, but no longer to the south.  This marks the very latest point in time during which my layout could be operated given the dominance of the main level by the route from Dover to North Conway and then through to Bartlett. 

In addition to the impressive station, the other main structure to be modelled is the roundhouse.  In the mid-1960s, the roundhouse and accompanying turntable appear to have been in fairly poor states of repair, though the turntable was still in operation at least through 1967 as seen in this series of photos by Ted Houghton(1) from dated from 1964 to 1967.

Roundhouse 1964

B&M 1220 on the Turntable

B&M 1223 on the Turntable in front of the roundhouse

B&M 1220 in front of the Roundhouse

(1) Note:  Photos attributed to Ted Houghton are copyright Ted Houghton and are inline-linked here by express permission.