Tag Archives: #Conway Scenic

Conway Scenic on Television!

Last month, one of my assignments at the Conway Scenic Railroad was to assist a television production crew from WCVB in Boston that was filming a segment on the railroad.

This was an interesting experience and I enjoyed speaking with the film crew and showing them around. I made sure they got to see some of the highlights of Conway Scenic’s run over Crawford Notch.

Channel 5 WCVB TV Camera operator Rich Ward.

Conway Scenic Railroad President and General Manager Dave Swirk anticipates the passage of the railroad’s Notch Train at the Gateway in Crawford Notch.

They interviewed Conway’s President and General Manager Dave Swirk, while off-camera I discussed airbrake technique and practices with locomotive engineer Gordon Lang.

I learned yesterday that the program will be broadcast this Thursday evening (September 5, 2019.) at 7:30pm on WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. It is part of the Chronicle show titled High Adventures.

The web address for the Boston WCVB Channel 5 TV is:

https://www.wcvb.com/chronicle

In Ireland I cannot access this website (for reasons beyond my knowledge it appears to be blocked), but perhaps my readers in the USA will be able to tune in.

Lumix LX7 photograph. Dave Swirk with WCVB production crew.

Anyone who knows me must realize the irony of this post.

Although I’ve appeared on television a few times, I’ve never owned a television set and have only watched commercial TV on rare occasions. I’ll be curious as to the feedback on Conway Scenic’s portrayal on High Adventures.

I offered my lesson in the importance of getting lots of exercise when filming a railroad.

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Videographer on the Roof!

Conway Scenic’s Valley Train arriving at North Conway, New Hampshire.

Among the finest railroad vantage points in North Conway, New Hampshire is from Conway Scenic’s station roof.

Photo exposed using a FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

On several occasions over the last few weeks, I’ve made arrangements to access this rooftop to film Conway Scenic’s trains as part of on-going promotional efforts.

One afternoon a few weeks back, I was joined by Adam Bartley, a qualified Conway Scenic Trainman and film student. While he made video, I exposed a few still photographs.

Like other elements of Tracking the Light, this is a work in progress.

You can see some of the videos that I’ve helped film on Conway Scenic’s Facebook Page:

and on its new YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iq6vcQzv2ys

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Meet at Mountain Junction

On Select Fridays, Conway Scenic operates an RDC trip for children out on its Redstone Line—former Maine Central Mountain Division running east from Mountain Junction. Last Friday, July 19, 2019, I took the opportunity to travel with the crew on this run.

At Mountain Junction we cleared for the Valley Train led by GP7 573 that was on its return run from Bartlett to North Conway, New Hampshire.

When the Valley Train passed us, I made this view from the cab of Conway Scenic’s former Susquehanna (originally New Haven Railroad) RDC number 23, named Millie.

You know, I could have named this post: The Valley Meets Millie at Mountain Junction.

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New England Steam: 7470 SundayS and MondayS this Summer!

Through July and August, Conway Scenic Railroad plans to assign steam locomotive 7470 to their North Conway to Conway Valley Train every Sunday and Monday. 

The train departs North Conway at 1030 am and 130 pm, with the locomotive running tender first toward Conway (boiler facing the home station).

The locomotive is turned on the turntable at the roundhouse in the morning and afternoon.

For information/tickets send email to: info@conwayscenic.com

Check Conway’s website:

www.conwayscenic.com

or call : 603-356-5251

I made these photos Sunday, July 7, 2019 using my FujiFilm XT1.

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Saturday June 29 is Conway Scenic 7470’s Big Day!

Last night I made this sunset view of Conway Scenic’s steam engine 7470 that was being readied for its big outing over Crawford Notch today. It departs at 9am.

The final minutes of daylight produced a cosmic drop-under sunset.

To make the most of this wonderful light, I hand-held a Lee graduated neutral density filter over my 12mm Zeiss Touit wide angle lens.

In post processing, I worked with the camera RAW files to make minor adjustments to contrast and exposure.

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Mount Willard with a Commanding View of Crawford Notch!

A stream in the forest along our climb to Mount Willard.
Lumix LX7 photo.

The view of Crawford Notch from Mount Willard. Highway 302 can be seen at the center of the image, Conway Scenic’s former Maine Central Mountain Division is at right. Lumix LX7 photo
Lumix LX7 view of Crawford Notch from Mount Willard with Conway Scenic’s Notch Train ascending at lower right.
This is a FujiFilm XT1 photo with 90mm telephoto lens. Notice the tiny train on the line deep in the valley below. I made several more photos, which I’m saving for special purposes!

I’d spied some rocks high on Mount Willard above the old Maine Central trestle at Willey Brook.

Conway Scenic’s Lisa King offered to bring me on a hike to those rocks for a commanding view of New Hampshire’s famous Crawford Notch.

“We’ll start at Crawfords Station. It takes about an hour!”

So last Saturday, we departed North Conway about an hour ahead of the Notch Train, and drove to Crawfords, where I was surprised to find about 100 cars parked along the road.

I was astounded to ‘discover’ that one of New Hampshire’s most impressive views attracts hundreds of hikers on bright warm weekend mornings!

We walked up through the forests, fording streams, avoiding bugs, dodging potential encounters with bears (we didn’t see any, but I’ll bet some saw us, since, earlier in the week, I’d spotted a bear cub on the line).

At the top, Lisa brought me a great view looking down the valley, and down onto the famous Willey Brook bridge.

I’m saving the bridge photos for a rainy day.

Next Saturday, June 29, 2019, Conway Scenic has scheduled a special Notch Train to be led by its steam locomotive 7470. This will depart Conway at 9am and run over the Notch and beyond to Hazen’s Crossing near the White Mountains Regional Airport for an event called Trains, Planes and Automobiles.

(I’m told tickets are still available, but get yours soon!)

Call: 603-356-5251 or check Conway Scenic’s website:

https://www.conwayscenic.com/notch-train/

Look under ‘Notch Train’ and click on June 29.

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Conway Scenic Video to Promote Rare Mileage Trip on June 29, 2019.

Earlier this week, Dave Swirk, president and general manager of the Conway Scenic Railroad, enlisted my skills to help promote the railroad’s June 29, 2019 special steam trip over Crawford Notch to the Trains, Planes & Automobiles event near Whitefield, New Hampshire.

Dave explained how this excursion is a rare opportunity to see Conway’s only operating steam locomotive reach Crawford Notch—which is beyond its typical operating territory— but also offers the opportunity to travel all the way to Hazen’s Crossing at the western limit of Conway Scenic’s operation of the former Maine Central Mountain Division. The Airshow / Carshow is an extra bonus!

Using my FujiFilm XT1 camera with 12mm Zeiss Touit, I recorded Dave speaking about the railroad’s steam locomotive 7470 that was recently restored to operations and its role in the special June 29th trip.

I edited the video output from the camera using Apple software on my Macbook.

This event is a big deal for Conway Scenic. It has been nearly five years since 7470 regularly worked Conway Scenic’s  excursions, so this trip represents an exciting opportunity and there’s no one better than Dave himself to capture the enthusiasm for this special event. 

Locomotive 7470 is a heavy 0-6-0 built in 1921 by the Grand Trunk for service in Canada. It is significant as the first locomotive to provide service on the Conway Scenic and of great personal significance for Dave.

On June 29th, the special Notch Train will depart North Conway behind steam at 9am.

To book tickets for this event call: 603-356-5251.

See: https://www.conwayscenic.com/notch-train/

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Check out the video on Facebook:

Conway Scenic 7470 Awakes From Hibernation.

On June 1, 2019, after several years of slumber, Conway Scenic Railroad’s 0-6-0 7470 made its first steps, moving under its own power around the railroad’s North Conway , New Hampshire yard.

The sights and sounds of this former Grand Trunk 0-6-0 have delighted visitors and residents of North Conway since the early 1970s, so having the locomotive back under steam represents a milestone event for the railroad’s 2019 operating season.

I made these photos using my Lumix LX7.

Among the challenges of photographing excursion railroads is working with high-summer light. Operations favor the schedules of the majority of the visiting public, and during summer often this tends coincide with the dreaded midday sun.

Black steam locomotives make for an extra challenge as the drivers and other reciprocating gear tend to be masked by the inky shadows of the highlight.

In this circumstance high-thin clouds diffused high-sun and resulted in better contrast than on a completely clear day. Working with my RAW files in Lightroom I made further adjustments to shadow areas in order to make my images more appealing.

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Maine Central 573 at Bartlett—Two Days, Two Photos.

Here’s two photos of Conway Scenic Railroad’s former Maine Central GP7 573 running around the Valley Trainat Bartlett, New Hampshire on the old Mountain Division.

One was made from the train on a cloudy day, the other from the road near the section house as the engine was cutting off from the train.

Some contrasts: Cloud versus sun; vertical versus horizontal; traditional versus interpretative; road versus rail.

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Some viewers commented that they were unable to see the ‘cloudy’ photo. For this reason, I’ve rescaled and re-uploaded a version of the original vertical photo plus an EXTRA horizontal image from the same sequence.

Tracking the Light Extra—Conway Scenic 7470 Fire Lit.

Tracking the Light is on location at North Conway, New Hampshire.

For the first time in more than four years Conway Scenic 0-6-0 7470 (former Grand Trunk) has a fire in its boiler.

Gordon Lang, who on August 3, 1974 was the first to light a fire in 7470 on Conway Scenic, did the honors again just after 3pm today (May 31, 2019).

The locomotive was last steamed in January 2015, and after months of restoration and repair will soon be moving again under its own power.

I made these photos of 7470 using my FujiFilm XT1 with a 12mm Zeiss Touit lens.

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Latest Trains Podcast is Live—Conway Scenic with Dave Swirk.

My latest podcast conversation, the fifth in a series with Trains Magazine, is now live.

This summer I had discussion with Conway Scenic’s Dave Swirk about his plans and visions for the railroad.

Check it out at:

http://trn.trains.com/photos-videos/2018/09/conversations-with-brian-solomon

View of the dome on Conway Scenic’s Notch Train.

Boston & Maine F7A 4268 is among the locomotives resident at Conway Scenic.

Maine Central 252 looks good in the morning sunshine at North Conway, New Hampshire.

 

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Misty Day at Crawford Notch.

It’s not often that I visit New Hampshire’s Crawford Notch.

Last month, Honer Travers and I made the journey from North Conway up the fabled Maine Central Mountain Division on the Conway Scenic Railroad.

It rained most of the way up, but this is such a wonderful stretch of railroad we didn’t mind. It was nice to see the old Maine Central in person again.

At the Notch I made these digital photos using my FujiFilm X-T1 and Lumix LX7 digital cameras. Not every photo can be made on a sunny day.

Lumix LX7 view.

Lumix LX7 view.

FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens.

Looking east toward North Conway and Portland. FujiFilm X-T1 photo.

There’s that old Maine Central 252! Hey, I remember that beast. I caught it at Mechanicville, NY on a B&M freight  way way back in 1984!

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Brian’s Visual Puzzle in THREE photos: Mystery Revealed!

Yesterday I received a correct guess to the conundrum I’d posted as Brian’s Visual Puzzle in THREE photos on July 11, 2018.

History ( and knowing that history) was key to solving the problem, since the answer wasn’t visible in any of the three photos.

To make things a bit more difficult, I didn’t caption the images, however I did offer an array of hints to assist with solving the problem.

I had several very thoughtful guesses, some of which were quite interesting.

Michael Walsh, a regular Tracking the Light viewer, was the first to submit the correct answer along with his explanation.

This is what he wrote:

I reckon the theme may be Pan Am Railways.

 The first picture shows the Pan Am building on Park Avenue in New York, which stands behind Grand Central Station. The name, colours and logo of the defunct Pan American World Airways were purchased by Guilford Rail System in 1998 and applied to their rail New England operations in 2006.

Park Avenue, New York City in December 1982 showing the Pan Am building a top Grand Central Terminal. Pan Am Railways takes its name from the old Airline.

 The third picture is of exceptional interest. It shows 1926-built combination car 16 of the Springfield Electric Railway, now preserved at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor CT. The 6.5 mile long Springfield line became a subsidiary of the Boston and Maine and was later de-electrified. In 1983, it became part of Guilford, along with the B&M.

Springfield Terminal number 16 is preserved in Connecticut. Under Guilford Springfield Terminal an important part of operations and many locomotive were letter for Springfield Terminal.

 The second picture is of North Conway station, on the Conway Scenic Railway. North Conway was near the north end of a lengthy B&M branch from Rochester NH, which connected with the Mountain Division of the Maine Central at Intervale, 7 miles beyond North Conway. The B&M branch and the MC Mountain Division were abandoned by Guilford, but some 50 miles, comprising portions of both lines, survive as the Conway Scenic Railroad.

The former Boston & Maine station at North Conway, New Hampshire. Boston & Maine and Maine Central are primary components of Pan Am Railways.

Michael’s answer is spot on: I have just one small correction and a comment; the north end of B&M’s Conway branch (pictured) was sold before Guilford acquired the B&M. I mention this because in each of the three photos, the subject predates their respective company’s role with Pan Am Railways (just to make the puzzle extra tricky).  Also, Springfield Terminal has played an important role in operations across the Guilford/Pan Am Railways system.

Thanks to everyone who submitted guesses!

Pan Am Railways has been routinely featured on Tracking the Light over the last six years.

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