• B&M Conway branch

  • Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.
Discussion relating to the pre-1983 B&M and MEC railroads. For current operations, please see the Pan Am Railways Forum.

Moderator: MEC407

  by b&m 1566
there was a meeting held back on March 4th to talk about the conway branch from Ossippe to Conway. Does anyone have any info on that. I had asked this question before on the old railroad.net but never got an answer before the hole system was shut down..... i use to go by li2002il as my member name (for those that remember)
  by TwoXSP
From Rich in Rochester -

"I attended tonight's meeting at the Ossipee Town Hall with about 60 other
folks. The NHDOT was represented by Kitt Morgan and Brian Lombard (I believe
I have the names right).
The feasibility study for restoration of the 22 miles of the branch that
has not seen a freight train since 1972, was commissioned by a bill passed by
the NH Legislature. The line is totally owned by the State of NH and there is
no section owned by GRS.
The findings of the study which is due to be reported to the NH Legislature
in June, indicate that restoration of the line is indeed feasible. The line is
"intact and in fair condition" in spite of it's non-use for 32 years. Nearly
all of the 75 and 80 pound rail is in good shape (although some missing in some
areas or paved over in others). The line was inspected by hi-rail during the
Fall of 2002 and the Fall of 2003. All slopes and the railbeds are in good
shape. The entire width of the section needs to be brushcut. Most of the ballast
along the line is comprised of gravel and cinder, which is typical of the line
which was completed in 1872. All bridges are sound and all culverts are in
good shape but need some work due mostly to damage done by beaver dams. The
parts of the line in most need of rehab are those parts of the line that are
located in wetland areas.
The cost and feasibility was outlined in a three phase plan.
Phase one would be the reconstruction to open the line to begin service
as class 1 for freight (10 mph speed limit0) or even up to class 2. Rehab would
address the issues of right-of-way, rail, ties (25% of which would be
replaced), ballast, bridge rehab (wooden trestles which have suffered water and fire
damage) and grade crossings (which accounts for nearly 20% of the cost). This
figure is estimated at almost $5.467 million. This rehab would allow
operations for about 5 years.
Phase two is further reconstruction and improvements to maintain service
along the line and would encompass the same issues as phase one except for the
grade crossings. Cost estimate is almost $1.285 million.
Phase three would depend on volume and type of traffic on the line and
would be used totally for rail upgrade and bringing the line up to class 3.
Estimate $7 million.
Total for the project $13.752 million.
There were also cost estimates for partial rehab of the line to Mt.
Whittier and to Silver Lake.
Potential customers were identified as a power plant in Tamworth, a
lumber company at Silver lake and a propane distributor in Ossipee. Regular
passenger service is considered unlikely at this time, however tourist/excursion uses
are possible.
When asked if the the New Hampshire Northcoast was interested in the
rehabilitation of the line, the state said there was, and a representative from
NHN later agreed.
NH State Senator Joseph D. Kenney (District 3), who sponsored the
amendment to the bill which authorized the cost and feasibility study, encouraged all
interested parties to contact their legislators about supporting the
rehabilitation project.
Two issues for consideration of the project are some property issues
(encroachment) and the current recreational use of the line (snowmobile trail)."

  by RG479
Rich from Rochester has provided an accurate account of the Osippee Center meeting by the DOT. I attended and felt it was a gathering of the faithful. Some clarifications and additions:

Phase 1 (Initial reconstruction) included $2,000,000 to provide for 11 highway crossings out of the total $5,467,00
Phase 2 was to complete tie and ballast replacement and maintain the line for 5 years.
Some additional customers not mentioned could be the IP Mill up in Whittier, Coleman's in Madison (or Conway), hauling trash similar to the Cape Cod operation, and hauling wood to the wood fired boiler proposed for the old PSNH power Plant in Newington.
This line is part of a NH DOT North-South Transportation Corridor running from Dover (Rollingsford) to Groveton that they want to preserve for eventual restoration of some type of rail service. Except for the short stretch of the MEC from Quebec Junction to Waumbek Jct, this would complete that restoration.
When NH bought the line from Guilford, it retained the right for any interchange traffic.
The $13,000,000 total cost to restore the track to FRA Class 3 status is about what rebuilding one interchange on I93 costs. ( I believe Sen Kenny stated that fact)
NH Railfans (voters) need to contact their reps to let them know that this is a good idea.
  by b&m 1566
Well I just want to make a note: what I’m writing, is the same thing I wrote in the old railroad.net but I’m going to say it again. As from the sounds of it the line as no need in passenger service and most likely will never see it again. According to the Conway Scenic operations manager there is very little if not no scenery at all south of Conway (that’s why they do not operate south of Conway) they have no plains to ever operate south of Conway. So to use the line as a tourist line it is pretty much out of the picture. So let’s hope the fright will make a come back on the line. I do have a few questions for anyone who can answer this. What is the ballpark range in the coast for a freight train to move 1 car load vs. a tractor trailer? If a trailer cost less than a train.... was this the reason why freight end on the line?
  by CVRA7
When comparing car load vs trailer load, please remember that in most cases a freight car can carry far more than a trailer.
While I agree that passenger trains to N Conway are not yet needed, maybe someday they will be. For now it is important to keep the right of way intact and better yet serviceable, so that if the need arises it can be upgraded with less NIMBY resistance.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
I usually don't waste time on pipe dreams, but this one has potential. Granted, there appears to be no sound economic reason for Conway Scenic to expand south of Conway. However - does anybody remember the 'Round the Mountains excursions? How about a shopper's daily round trip to North Conway from Boston?

  by RG479
Once the connection is made and the track is up to FRA 3 standards, Excursions could be run connecting at Dover with Amtrak. I think North Conway and Crawford Notch would be a draw for Boston area railfans. The schedule for the Notch Train at Conway Scenic from June 22 to Sept 7 is for running only 4 days a week. Why not a round trip Dover to Crawford Notch a few Sundays each year?

A representative from NH Northcoast stated that one rr car replaced 5 gravel trucks on the highway. They may need this extension to remain viable.

  by Ed Canney
Assuming that this portion of the Conway Branch is upgraded by the State of NH, who would the most likely operator be?
  by wolfmom69
:) Anyone have any knowledge of who the "new customer"is for New Hampshire Northcoast,who is receiving particle board/lumber products in boxcars? Trying to rack my brain for potential sidings/lumberyards or is it being unloaded at Tri-City in N.Rochester. Thanks for any info. Bud

  by b&m 1566
wow i forgot all about this post but to answer the question to the last post b4 this on... i plain on looking into it a little when and if i get the chance... anyways does anyone else have any info on this branch?

  by b&m 1566
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... Northcoast
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... Northcoast
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... Northcoast
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... Northcoast
http://photos.nerail.org/showpic/?photo ... Northcoast
Yeah these are some pictures that I found off of nerail. Theres a lot more pics of this section of the Conway branch which is still in use including a special that has a car full of State reps taking a look at the line for possible use on the abandoned section from Ossippee to Conway. From some of these pictures... the views look nice

  by Otto Vondrak

Found it!

  by b&m 1566
Bringing back and old thread here!
I was looking at this site which list old covered bridges throughout the state of NH. I noticed that the Conway Branch was listed for having three covered bridges, one in Ossipee and two in Conway. Does anyone know the location of where these bridges were or if the list is even correct? I was never aware of the Conway Branch having any covered bridges.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
The covered bridge identified as "Cathedral Ledge" was the subject of a chapter in R.M. Neal's High Green and the Bark Peelers.This was the bridge over the Saco River in the south end of Conway. Regarding the accuracy of the list: the list states that this bridge was removed in 1951, but Neal's book, copyrighted in 1950, describes it as already, although recently, gone, with the removed sections still lying around, so the correct date is probably 1949 or 1950.