• "Profile House and Franconia Notch"?

  • 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 salminkarkku
Can anyone say what the stops were on this narrow-gauge B&M line between Profile House and Bethlehem Jct NH? I've got Profile House as the terminal, with some abandoned grading to the south, and a stop at Profile Golf Links. There must have been others.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
The P&FN was originally built as narrow gauge, but was converted to standard gauge after the end of the 1896 tourist season, following its lease by the B&M in 1895.


  by b&m 1566
When was this line abandoned or last used? I would assume that the right of way would still be visible and mostly in tacked. If so how would I go about finding it? I don't even have the slightest idea where to start looking; I knew there was a rail line that went down to that area but I have no idea where the right of way actually is.

Was there suppose to be a rail line through Franconia Notch?
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
The line to the profile House was abandoned in 1921, the line from Bethlehem Junction to Bethlehem was abandoned in 1925.

Shameless plug: to investigate the area, stop in downtown Bethlehem at the Bethlehem Heritage Society museum and tourist center. It's open most days in the summer. They have a website. They sell a pamphlet for - I think - $3.50 that details the hostory of railroads in the Bethlehem area, including a map. I think it's pretty good, but that's because I wrote it, with some editorial assistance from the B&MRRHS and the Walker Transportation Collection in Beverly. Also, I promised not to undercut their nominal fund raising by distributing copies for free, sorry.

  by ferroequinarchaeologist
To answer your last question: a line through Franconia Notch was proposed, but never attempted. In fact, at one time a line was proposed from Waterville Valley over the mountains to Zealand. This sort of thing was the 19th century version of the dot-com bubble.

The P&FN itself was originally surveyed from Bethlehem Junction to the present location of the state visitor center at The Flume, but it was never built past the Profile House - today, the Cannon Mountain Ski Area parking lot. If you visit the base lodge, you'll find pix of the Profile House decorating the walls.

Pick up a topo map of the area and you can follow the P&FN pretty well. Most of the part that hasn't been obliterated by I-93 is a snowmobile trail.
The line to Bethlehem has mostly been wiped out, and exists only in a few short disconnected segments.


  by FatNoah
Getting a railroad through those mountains would be a pretty impressive task! I've XC skied from the Kangcamagus to Waterville Valley and there was no flat terrain to be found.
  by p42thedowneaster
I'm doing a little research on the P&FN RR...does anyone know details about the narrow gauge coaches? How many did they have...were they Laconia-built, etc... I've only seen angled photographs which make them difficult to identify.
  by ferroequinarchaeologist
Probably Laconia. Contact the Bethlehem Heritage Society. They have a nice little booklet that explains the P&FN history.

  by musehobo
I know this is not about the Profile Line, but is the old Maplewood station in Bethleham still standing. If not, what happened to the remains.
  by Dick H
There are 4 photos of the Maplewood Station here taken in 2010.
I think you have to be a member of "flickr" to see them. The owner
has set it up so downloading of photos is prohibited. The link
takes you to page #98. Maplewood is the "Ghost Depot" last
photo on the page. Go to page #99 for three more photos.


Another search on Google says that the depot is on the property
of the Bethelem Country Club.
  by musehobo
Thanks for the photo links. In looking at the Google map of the town of Betheleam the location of where the station stood seems to have been replaced by a large building. Because the right of way is hard to see now, I believe that was the road where the station was located. I do know however, that the sign MAPLEWOOD (from there not Malden, MA) is now at the Walker Transportation Collection in Beverly. If you run into Dick Symmes ask him about the story about it.