• Conway Scenic Railroad (CSRX) discussion thread

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by Westbound31
 
All of these changes to Conway Scenic are just the tip of the iceberg. I visited last weekend while up there with my family. I have been going to the railroad since before I even have memories. My best memories of the place are walking the yard on those long summer nights with my grandfather who would teach me all things railroad as we walked. Those are some of the best childhood memories I have. I loved the place so much that I even worked there for a time.

While up there last weekend, the first thing that stuck out to me were all of the fence posts with the yellow chains attached to them surrounding the station, surrounding the yard and surrounding the platform. All of them with "Platform Access Restricted" or "Restricted Area STAY OUT!". 7470 was under steam on the turntable so I decided to go take a look. The second I stepped onto the grass from the parking lot an employee told me that I had to leave the area. I asked if it was the new management and he said yes, "everything is changing" were his exact words. I was angry to say the least.

And I wasn't the only one. I watched an elderly couple get kicked off of the grass while eating icecream. People can say that covid is the reason for this but it's really not. Go check out other tourist railroad operations, you can even watch the Strasburg Railroad live on Youtube. People walking the platforms and the property. Employees talking to patrons. None of that now at Conway Scenic.

There's no Chocorua on the Valley trains anymore because they can't find anyone to do the job. And again, its not due to covid. Go over to glassdoor.com and check out worker reviews from Conway Scenic. The Attitash crew all left in a hurry and not in a good way. The ball signal fell to the ground a couple years back and is still no where to be found. Trains don't ever run on time. Emails are not responded to, employees aren't willing to talk to you and the property is chained off like a construction site.

This isn't the Conway Scenic any of us grew up with. Swirk came in strong and seemed promising but slowly, every single employee that worked there including myself during the Russ and Paul years either quit or was fired. That should speak volumes of this current ownership. You can go search public records online and check out the equity loans Swirk has been pulling against the railroad to buy new dome cars and rent track equipment. Meanwhile you have a steam locomotive with freight car trucks, the suspension of dining services on the Valley trains, no more open air cars, huge piles of garbage piling up in North Yard, zero employee retention and ownership who refuses to listen.

Don't just take my word for it. Go to their Facebook page. All of their posts have the ability for commenting turned off. When there are comments posted, marketing goes through and deletes the ones they don't like. Also, you no longer have the ability to leave reviews on their Facebook page. I have photos of the burnt up cab on 7470, the new dome car crashed into the roundhouse (no one made sure the clearances were enough before backing it into a historic building and busting up the roof), a video of crews rerailing a notch train car at the golf course switch using a chain and a backhoe where the chain breaks nearly causing the car to crash into the worker... its a joke. It's not the railroad I grew up with, not the railroad I worked for. It's sad and heartbreaking. You're no longer welcome.

And to top it all off...7470 will be fired up this weekend for fathers day for display only. I'm sure Swirk will go up into the cab and toot the whistle to his hearts content while people watch from the parking lot, not allowed in the yard, standing behind yellow chains. Welcome to the new Conway Scenic where "Everything is changing."
  by EastYorkTrainFaan
 
I think they took the open coaches offso that people wouldn't group together in them due to COVID restrictions and haven't put them back in service yet
  by p42thedowneaster
 
Wooden passenger equipment doesn't seem to be their specialty at Conway. They dropped the D&H combine and MEC Mt Surprise open coach (both now at DSRX) years ago with apparently repairable issues as they are both now running today. 1557 is wooden a Laconia car, former B&M open platform commuter coach. Knowing Strasburg is actively seeking parts for Laconia cars, I wonder if it would be worth more to Conway as a trade than an operating piece.
  by Pat Fahey
 
Hi Westbound 31
Very interesting, post on Conway Scenic, it looks under the new leadership, of the railroad, it going right down hill. When you start to have trouble holding onto help, and employees, can only spell disaster.
I always enjoyed going to the railroad, but to kick and elderly couple off the property just for having ice cream, and also yourself being kicked out, just for a quick look around.
Westbound 31 just wondering could you post some photos of the Dome Car hitting the roundhouse? Because I never heard about that, until I saw your post. Thank you , Pat.
  by Westbound31
 
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Last edited by Westbound31 on Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by CSRR573
 
Westbound31, I too have been riding the rails there since '91. I too have seen a deep decline in quality there since swirk took over. It seems to me he only cares about the notch train sorry Mountaineer. I was up there for the 4268 debut and the best way i could describe the experience is sterile. I dont see this ending well
  by Who
 
p42thedowneaster wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 12:38 am Wooden passenger equipment doesn't seem to be their specialty at Conway. They dropped the D&H combine and MEC Mt Surprise open coach (both now at DSRX) years ago with apparently repairable issues as they are both now running today. 1557 is wooden a Laconia car, former B&M open platform commuter coach. Knowing Strasburg is actively seeking parts for Laconia cars, I wonder if it would be worth more to Conway as a trade than an operating piece.
I hope they do not get rid of Black Mountain, it's the only ex-B&M passenger car they have. If there's any weight to what you just mentioned (a history that goes back long before Mr. Swirk purchased the railroad), then it's likely to continue under this ownership. I overheard a discussion in the railyard, they are in search of another Parlor car like Gertrude Emma. If this other heavy weight car turns out to be steel or at least a steal frame car, then we might see the end of Gertrude Emma too.
  by arthur d.
 
NHV 669 wrote: Sat Jun 04, 2022 8:14 am They've had that for a couple years now. For what, who knows?
Something to throw CSRX 's past reputation under.
  by Pat Fahey
 
Hi Westbound 31
Thank you for posting the dome car photo, also for what I read in the last post, from Arthur d, and others, it seems that the new owners, only care about one thing, the Notch train.
The roundhouse damage doe not look good, that was a good sized beam that broke, that will take a lot money and time to repair. The building inspector, could comdem the roundhouse until repairs are made.

Also the way they handling the people, sounds like when I first when to Steamtown, in Scranton, Pa, here go for the ride, look out the window, and don't bother anyone. Again Thank you, Pat.
  by CSRR573
 
Who wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 2:10 pm
I overheard a discussion in the railyard, they are in search of another Parlor car like Gertrude Emma. If this other heavy weight car turns out to be steel or at least a steal frame car, then we might see the end of Gertrude Emma too.
That quite frankly would be a slap in the face to Dwight. They're running out of room for all the equipment and swirks personal toys.
  by Westbound31
 
I'm just wondering what other changes are coming. So far in my opinion they haven't been good and the employee who kicked me out of the yard informed me that everything is changing. I really hope that doesn't mean the end of the open air cars and wooden coaches. I know Chocorua is out of service because the railroad can't find a service to replace Attitash on the Valley runs. It does appear as though the Notch trains are top priority.
  by Jonathan
 
It's a shame, to see Conway Scenic go under like this. I really hope things turn around and 7470 runs again. Since as long as I can remember, it's been a dream of mine to work for this railroad.
  by Pat Fahey
 
Hi All
Maybe the new owner should start paying attention to his employees and the railroad, because one man or woman, cannot run a railroad on there own.
For what I am reading off the different posts, from other individuals, the future of Conway Scenic does not look good.
As for Swirks toys, maybe he should keep his toys off of railroad property and store them in another place where they would be more useful. Pat.
  by Who
 
I'm not so sure the notch train is their top priority; it only runs 3 days a week compared to 4 before covid. For the bulk of the notch train's history the operations during the summer had been Tue, Wed, Thu & Sat but since covid the Wednesday departures have disappeared. Also, the Valley Train has gone from 5 daily departures to 4.
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