Tag Archives: #Conway Scenic Railroad

Boston & Maine 4268 some uncommon angles.

Sunday, May 22, 2022, Conway Scenic Railroad’s Special Railfan Photographer’s Mountaineer, brought more than 100 guests up to Crawford Notch and enabled them to make photos at various places along the line.

In my capacity as Manager of Marketing & Events, I helped to organize the trip, and traveled on the head-end to work with the crew to select photo stops and spot the train.

A secondary condition of this role was that in several intances I was able to make uncommon views of the train, often in situations I needed to climb down from the lead locomotive ahead of final positioning or during other aspects of the operation.

Among the 400 photos I exposed that day were these views of recently restored Boston & Maine F7A 4268. All of these images were exposed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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F-Units on the Mountain—Maroon & Gold Part 2

Sunday, May 22, 2022, Conway Scenic Railroad operated its Railfan Photographer’s Mountaineer over Crawford Notch, NH.

This was the first time recently restored Boston & Maine F7A 4268 made a trip over the Mountain Division for Conway Scenic Railroad, and the first time that Conway Scenic had the two B&M F7As working in multiple with former Maine Central GP7 573.

All three were painted in the classic EMD-designed maroon & gold scheme.

It is rare that Conway Scenic operates three diesels in multiple.

The weather cooperated nicely.

I helped organize the photo stops and run-bys and traveled on the head-end in both directions.

Conway Scenic advertises boarding times rather than departure times. This train boarded at 9am, and departed 2 minutes ahead of schedule. We performed 8 special photo stops in addition to the normal run around at Crawford Station. The train arrived back at North Conway almost an hour ahead of its target. In other words, it was an extremely successful trip.

I made more than 400 digital images and haven’t had time to look at most of them. Last night, the day had caught up with me before I could go through my images. Today Conway Scenic has another special trip.

More Boston & Maine F7A photos to come in later posts!

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Spring Portraits on Conway Scenic

During the past few weeks, I’ve made portraits of Conway Scenic’s employees at work preparing for the Spring season.

This selection was exposed using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

Many of these photographs have been used to decorate the company’s Facebook Page.

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USA Today Northeast Go Escape

Part of my advertising campaign for Conway Scenic Railroad’s 2022 season includes a full page ad in USA Today’s Northeast Go Escape. The ad features two photos that I made for the railroad.

I exposed the view on Frankenstein Bridge in September 2020. This is now one of my most viewed images having appeared in dozens of ads, as well as billboards and brochures.

I made this image using my FujiFilm XT1 and converted the Fuji camera RAW into DNG format using Iridient before making necessary adjustments in Lightroom.

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Six Lumix Views of Branch Ballast Extra

Yesterday, Thursday May 5, 2022 was a beautiful bright day in Conway, New Hampshire.

I traveled with the ballast train, which was the only train moving over the Conway Scenic Railroad.

Since the train made a number of stops to drop stone, I had ample opportunity to make photographs.

I exposed these views with my Lumix LX7, but also made a few photos of the lads working the train using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera. I’m saving the Z6 photos for a later post.

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Work Extra at Puddin’ Pond

Another in my ballast train series.

Yesterday, April 22, 2022, Conway Scenic Railroad operated a Work Extra on the Redstone Line to Pudding Pond to dump ballast.

I traveled with the train and used my Panasonice Lumix LX7 to document the work.

This was the first time since the railroad acquired former Maine Central GP38 255 that it worked out the Redstone Branch as far east as Pudding Pond.

The significance of this foray east was that old 255 would have routinely worked Maine Central freights on this same section of track between the late 1960s and the early 1980s.

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Opening the Line to Conway

On Wednesday April 6, 2022, I traveled with Train Master Lacey and Conductor Weimer on GP38 255 from North Conway to Conway, New Hampshire and back.

This was the first locomotive over Conway Scenic Railroad’s Conway Branch since the end of the 2021 Holiday season. My last trip over the line was a test run with steam locomotive 7470, where I used the opportunity to videotape the engine crossing the Moat Brook Bridge.

On our April 6th trip, we collected Easter decorations stored in the Conway freight house for distribution along the line as part of the annual Easter Egg hunt for the benefit of children traveling on the Easter Bunny Express.

I assisted with the collection and positioning of the eggs along the line, while documenting the opening move. Rusted rail conditions meant that we approached each highway crossing ‘prepared to stop and flag’.

It was a gorgeous sunny day and well suited to photography with my Nikon Z6 fitted with 24-70mm Z-series zoom!

Conway Scenic Railroad GP38 255 positioned at the old Boston & Maine freight house in Conway, NH. The Easter Eggs have been hung from the handrails in prepartion for distribution along the line.
Conductor Weimer with locomotive 255.
Passing my billboard photo at Conway. I made the image of Conway Scenic’s 573 at Milepost 64 back in the Spring of 2019.
Conductor Weimer flags Highway 16 in Conway village.
The view at Moat Brook.

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Extra 255 at Frankenstein

On Monday, March 28, 2022, Conway Scenic began the process of clearing the former Maine Central over Crawford Notch.

Last year, the railroad reached the summit on March 31st, which was something of a early record for Conway Scenic. In a normal year, the line might remain closed through April.

Former Maine Central 255, a GP38 acquired from the Vermont Rail System late last year, was chosen to make the clearing run West.

Where last year I traveled on engine 573, this year I pursued the first train on the road, and departed about two hours after it left the North Conway yard.

The crew on first movement over the line west of Attitash (the limits of Snow Train operation) expects to find obstructions. During the winter fallen trees, rocks and ice accumulation routinely block the line.

I knew Extra 255 was west of Bartlett, so at various places beyond Bartlett, I inspected the track. Near the Arethusa Falls grade crossing, I contacted the engine crew via train radio to find their location.

They had made it as far as the rock cutting west of the Frankenstein Bridge, where the engine was blocked by a significant ice fall.

I hiked up to the bridge and made photos of the engine returning east.

One of the privileges of working for Conway Scenic is the ability to request a lift back down hill. The brief engine ride saved me another half mile hike in freezing temperatures. When I got back to my car it was just 23F.

This was the first rail movement across Frankenstein of 2022.

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Snow Train at Attitash

On the last weekend of Snow Train, I traveled on the headend of the first Saturday departure with engineer Wayne Duffett.

When we arrived at Attitash, New Hampshire, which is the western terminus of Snow Train, I hopped off Conway Scenic’s GP38 255.

Since Conway Scenic doesn’t normally run west of Attitash until much later in the season, the line was still covered with snow beyond the limits of the railroad’s excursion operation.

I used the opportunity to show the train with the Attitash ski area in the distance to the right.

Exposed Digitally using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Nikkor lens.

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GoPro on the Loco

During the last week I was using a GoPro camera to film the view from New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic Railroad Snow Train.

The railroad had fitted a clamp with the GoPro mounting device in order to attach the camera to the locomotive and cars in order to get unusual visual angles of the train in motion.

On one occasion I traveled with the miniature camera to make sure it was filming and didn’t get knocked from the train during the course of its journey.

In another instance, I was satsified with the camera’s position, and let it make the full round trip to Attitash and back. This even caught me in the act of photographing the train from the ground.

Look closely, the GoPro is attached above the lefthand ditchlight on Conway Scenic Railroad 255. (See below).
Extreme enlargement to show the placement of the GoPro on locomotive 255.

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Frozen Saco at Milepost 64

The other day, I exposed this sequence of digital photos while traveling on Conway Scenic’s Snow Train along New Hampshire’s Saco River on the former Maine Central Mountain Division near milepost 64.

Snow Train has only three more days of scheduled operations before it concludes its 2022 season, and I’ve been trying to make the most of the frozen landscapes before the train finishes.

Photos exposed on March 2, 2022 using a Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm lens.

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Mount Washington Looms Large.

The other day, I caught a returning Snow Train at Intervale, New Hampshire with the great mass of Mount Washington looming 18 miles to the North.

In the lead was former Maine Central Railroad GP38 252. A locomotive delivered in November 1966.

Fresh snow and bright sun help make the photo. This same location isn’t as impressive on a dull day when clouds obscure the mountain.

Exposed with my Nikon Z6 fitted with a Z-series f2.8 70-200mm zoom.

Mount Washington from North Conway

It is rarely recognized, however on a clear winter day you can see Mount Washington from the platform of the North Conway Station.

Yesterday, I made these photos of the arriving Snow Train as I perched atop a snow mound adjacent to the platform.

I lined up the mountain, station and train using my Nikon Z6 with Z-series 70-200mm zoom.

To soften contrast, I lightened the shadows in post processing, while slighly boosting the color saturation.

I imagine that back in 1874, when the station opened, there was an unobstructed view of Mount Washington. Today, trees, buildings, and wires make for a cluttered scene.

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Plowing Snow!

Friday, February 11, 2022, New Hampshire’s Conway Scenic operated its vintage Russell snow plow with former Maine Central Railroad GP38 255 pushing it west toward Attitash.

I followed the plow by road and made a few select digital photos with my Nikon Z6 fitted with 70-200mm lens.

To get a good snow exposure I dialed in ‘+3’ to the expose compensation, which helps keep the snow white. I metered manually with the in-camera ‘matrix meter’, then set both shutter speed and aperture manually.

Although I set the camera’s focas point, I let the Nikon’s autofocus system work as intended.

In a few instances, I hiked into locations to get the best angle where the snow was the deepest. On more than one occasion I found myself up to my hips in snow.

It was a good day out with the plow!

A couple of weeks ago, I put together a video for Conway Scenic on the operation of the plow. This was mostly filmed in 2021. It is available on You Tube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bp5Qg-5_B6M

Intervale, NH.
Intervale, NH looking west toward Mount Washington.
Clearing the line at Glen, NH.
Glen, NH.
Working upgrade along Route 302 west of Glen, NH.

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COlorful Snow Train-Three Views

Saturday at North Conway, NH the combination fresh snow, a clear cold sky, and brightly painted EMD diesels in a quaint setting made for some great photo opportunities.

Although compact and lightweight, my Lumix LX7 is a handy tool for capturing railroad photos. I carry it with me often, even when I have bigger cameras at hand.

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Plow Extra!

Yesterday, January 20, 2022 (01-20-2022), Conway Scenic Railroad operated its first plow extra of the season.

This resulted in the vintage Russell Plow being readied for the service it was built for. The extra was needed help clear flangeways of snow and ice accumulation, push back mounds of hardened snow, and to serve as an equipment refresher and training excercise for our crews.

I made this series of photos of the plow and GP35 216 using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera with 24-70mm zoom lens. For this I set the exposure mode to ‘A’ (for automatic/aperture priority), manually dialed in ‘+1/3 stops’ to help compensate for the bright snow, and controlled the aperture manually.

The bright snow conditions tend to result in underexposed railroad images because the camera meter treats the snow as gray rather than white. Thus the need for slight overexposure.

I made some nominal corrections to the camera’s NEF files using Lightroom and converted to moderate size JPGs for internet presentation here.

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Sun, Snow and Shadows at Attitash.

Yesterday, I was up early to help prepare for Conway Scenic Railroad’s first Snow Trains of the season.

I’d arranged a two-hourly interval schedule, based on a 930am boarding for the first train at North Conway.

It was clear and cold with a blue polarized sky.

I traveled with the head-end crew on the first two trains, and used the layover at Attitash as an opportunity to make photographs.

Since there is no run around track at the Attitash Whistle Stop, Conway Scenic Railroad operates the train ‘top and tailed’ (to borrow a British phrase) with locomotives at each end of the train. GP38 252 was positioned at the westend, GP38 255 at the east. The locomotives are not operated in multiple.

After arrival at Attitash, the head-end crew cuts out the westward locomotive, then sets up the engine at the eastend.

My visual challenge is the high contrast situation at Attitash caused by bright sun on fresh snow and inky shadows. Complicating matter was slight back lighting.

Fortunately, my Nikon Z6 has great exposure latitude, which facilitates post processing adjustment to help mitigate the harsh lighting situation.

I made more conventional images of the east end of the train at North Conway.

First 2022 Snow Train at Attitash.
First 2022 Snow Train at Attitash.
First 2022 Snow Train at Attitash.
Mascot fireman.
GP38 255 on the Snow Train at North Conway.
GP38 252 on the Snow Train at North Conway.

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Snow Train Advertisement

In my capacity as Manager of Marketing & Events at Conway Scenic Railroad, I’ve launched a cross-media advertising campaign to promote the railroad’s winter season Snow Trains that run from the North Conway, New Hampshire Station to the Attitash Whistle Stop near the village of Bartlett.

This service begins today (January 8, 2022) and runs weekends through March 6, plus holidays and vacation weeks.

I exposed the original photograph of GP7 573 on the Snow Train during the 2021 Snow Train season using my Fujifilm XT1 fitted with a 12mm Zeiss Tuoit.

This image is featured in Conway Scenic billboard advertising as well as print ads in the Conway Daily Sun, Vibe magazine, Union Leader, Portland Magazine, among other area publications.

Photos by Brian Solomon, ad design by Silverline Graphics.

In addition to advertising the train, I’ve worked closely with Conway Scenic Railroad Train Master, Mike Lacey in refining numerous details of Snow Train operation. This has included working out running times, drafting the operating timetable, producing public schedules, etc.

I plan to travel on the first Snow Trains this morning! (Saturday January 8, 2022)

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GP38s lead New Year’s Special.

Former Maine Central GP38s 252 and 255, led Conway Scenic’s New Years Special trip to Sawyer River on January 2, 2022.

I made this photo using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm zoom lens.

For dramatic effect, I set my zoom to a relatively long focal length and placed the camera on level plane with the rail for this ‘low angle’ view.

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EXTRA!! The Engine that Saved Itself.


LUCKY BREAK!

This morning (January 2, 2022) a fire started in the cab of Conway Scenic Railroad’s steam locomotive 7470.

At this point the cause is believed to have stemmed from a fault with the engine radio. The fire damaged a spring in the whistle valve that set off the engine whistle. The shrieking whistle alerted our steam locomotive mechanic who called 911.

I was called shortly after 6am and proceeded to the roundhouse where I made these photos in my capacity as Manager of Marketing & Events for Conway Scenic Railroad.


While there is minor damage to engine 7470’s cab and minimal damage to the 1874-built roundhouse, the situation could have been much worse. You could write a story: ‘The engine that saved itself!”
Thanks to the North Conway Fire Department and everyone that assisted in preventing spread of the fire.


Conway Scenic’s ‘New Year’s Special to Sawyer River’ will proceed as advertised. Motive power will be former Maine Central diesels.
Boarding is at 12 noon today (January 2, 2022).

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Millie at the Cider Mill

Earlier this month, Conway Scenic Railroad operated a few charters from North Conway, New Hampshire to the White Mountain Cider Company in Glen.

I traveled on this trip and made publicity photos of self-propelled Rail Diesel Car ‘Millie‘ making its Glen stop— immediately east of the twin truss bridge over the Saco River (east of milepost 66).

I was working with my Lumix LX7 for these morning views at Glen.

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Sun and Snow at Milepost 64

The other day I was part of a crew that ran GP35 #216 light engine from Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway, NH yard to milepost 64 on the former Maine Central Mountain Division.

Our mission was to clear flangeways from ice accumulation and freshly fallen snow.

Once stopped at milepost 64, I climbed down and made a few photos using my Lumix LX7.

Although the sky was a flat December gray, the scene brightened when the sun briefly emerged from a low cloud bank over the Saco River.

Conway Scenic Railroad GP35 216 has paused at milepost 64 near Glen, New Hampshire. December 2021

Soon we were working eastward again.

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Blowin’ Snow

Yesterday morning (December 9, 2021) it was 11 degrees F when I arrived at the North Conway Roundhouse.

I was part of a crew to take a light engine west on the Mountain Division to clear crossings.

On the way out to our engine, I paused to make this photo of Matt H clearing snow from the turntable.

And yes, it was as cold as it looks!

Photos exposed using my Nikon Z6 with 70-200mm Nikkor Z-series zoom.

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Santa’s Holiday Express

Yesterday, Friday November 26, 2021, Conway Scenic began operating its annual Santa’s Holiday Express.

It was a wet & dreary debut, but well attended.

I was focused on the details of the operation; the schedule, the decorations, and the narrations.

I traveled on the first run to Conway, and made photo of Santa’s arrival.

At Conway Scenic, Santa Claus rides in the caboose.

I’ll bet S. Kip Farrington would have something to say about that!

At Conway, I made photo of Santa waving from the railroad’s vintage former Central Vermont wooden body caboose using my Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm Z-series zoom lens.

After exposure, I modified the NEF RAW file using Adobe Lightroom.

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Holiday Decoration Work Extra.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving—November 24, 2021, Conway Scenic called a work train for the Conway Branch to put up decorations for upcoming Santa’s Holiday Express Christmas themed trains.

I was on-board to assist with decorating while documenting the run. It was a perfectly clear bright sunny morning.

At Moat Brook I organized a special photo stop. At Conway we held for the regularly scheduled Valley train that was operating with RDC #23 Millie.

I made all of these photos using my Lumix LX7 digital camera.

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From 203 to 255—GP38 at North Conway

The other morning I was up early to make daylight of photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s latest arrival: former Vermont Railway System’s Clarendon & Pittsford GP38 203, originally Maine Central 255.

This heritage locomotive was deemed ideal for Conway Scenic because mechanically and electrically it perfectly matches the railroad’s GP38 number 252 . The two locomotive were part of the same order of GP38s from Electro-Motive Division back in autumn 1966.

CSRR will shortly renumber 203 back to 255. Initially it will operate in a modified version of the red and white livery pictured here.

As soon as it is practical to do so, the railroad will plan on applying green and gold paint to the locomotive to match 252.

I exposed these photos using my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera.

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Fine Foliage at the Gateway

Over the last ten days I’ve made several trips over Crawford Notch to capture Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer with the autumnal leaves.

I exposed this image from atop the Gateway cutting using my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless camera with f4.0 Nikkor Z 24-70mm zoom lens.

Backlit autumn leaves tend to appear more vivid as the sunlight illuminates the leaves like colored bulbs.

The classic Maine Central yellow was based on the yellow-orange color of the autumnal foliage.

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Frankenstein Foliage

Yesterday, I made this image of the Mountaineer descending at the Arethusa Falls grade crossing against a backdrop of autumnal foliage and the famous Frankenstein Cliff in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

A shaft of sun illuminated the front of GP35 216 which made for a tricky exposure.

I’d preset the camera settings in manual mode, anticipating the bright yellow front of the engine catching the wink of sun. Further adjustment of highlight and shadow areas was necessary in post processing.

Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera with 24-70mm Nikkor zoom lens. NEF Raw file adjusted in Adobe Lightroom.

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Storm LIght

Last week I found the most dramatic light of the day on return to North Conway from Crawford.

I made this view at the Golf Course crossings timetable east of the Conway Scenic Station.

This is the unadjusted camera produced JPG, scaled for internet.

Rich low sun with dramatic clouds make for a stunning view of Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer.

Exposed using my Nikon Z6 digital camera.

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Bright Colors on the West Slope.

The leaves are changing noticeably later this year as compared with last year.

East of Crawford Notch, New Hampshire the foliage is still a bit on the green side, but to the west the colors are turning.

This is one of the best railroad autumn foliage photos I made thus far. It shows Conway Scenic Railroad Mountaineer on the Crawford-Fabyan leg of its run.

September 29, 2021.

Will this foliage season live up expectations, or will the trees go from green to brown?

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Mountaineer at the Girders

Foliage season has begun in the White Mountains.

On Wednesday, I shadowed Conway Scenic’s Mountaineer on its ascent of Crawford Notch.

Ironically, one of the most dramatic unobstructed views of the line can be obtained directly off Route 302, the road which runs parallel to the railroad in the Mount Washington Valley.

I exposed this photo of the Mountaineer on ‘the Girders’ bridge near the scenic vista pull-off at Crawford Notch using my Nikon Z6 digital camera. I processed the camera’s NEF file using Adobe Lightroom to lighten shadows and correct the color temperature, while nominally boosting saturation.

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Mountaineer at the Gateway

The other day I drove to Crawford Notch to see how the autumn foliage was progressing.

It’s not as colorful as it was this time last year.

I set up in the Gateway Cut east of Crawford siding, where I waited for GP35 216 with the eastward Mountaineer.

Here I featured the rocks as a key part of my compositions. I like the contrast between the yellow locomotive and the brown-gray stone.

It was raining lightly when the train rolled by me.

Exposed using a Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera with 24-70mm lens.

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Travels with a Ballast Train-Part 1

On Friday, I was attached to the Conway Scenic Railroad ballast extra, which I documented, but also used as transportation to make video of the Conway Valley train.

Working with my Nikon Z6 mirrorless digital camera, I made this sequence of photos of the ballast train in the rich September morning light.

It was a beautiful day to make photos. More to follow!

Kearsarge station on the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH.
Kearsarge station on the Redstone Branch in North Conway, NH.

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Bright Morning at the Station.

Friday morning I walked to North Conway station where I work.

It was a brilliant sunny day with a cool breeze and a textured sky.

The week after Labor Day is traditionally quiet. A lull in the masses. The summer crowds have gone, the leaf peepers have yet to arrive.

The leaves around the station are already showing hints of autumn color.

Everyday prospective train riders call and ask if the day of their trip will be during peak foliage—As if Conway Scenic Railroad’s ticket agents are visionaries or fortune tellers.

Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway, New Hampshire station.

I made these photos from North Conway, New Hampshire’s Schouler Park using my Nikon Z6 Mirrorless digital camera and processed the NEF RAW files using Adobe Lightroom.

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Misty Mountaineer

Yesterday (September 9, 2021) I traveled on the headend of Conway Scenic Railroad’s Mountaineer to Crawford Notch in order to calculate train timings for this month’s timetable change.

Among my jobs at the railroad, in addition to Marketing, is that of timetable planner.

When we reached the old Maine Central station at Crawford, I climbed down from the locomotive to make a few photos from the ground, then boarded again for the run-around.

All photos were made using my Nikon Z6 and processed using Adobe Lightroom.

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