• 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

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  by oibu
I don't have any horse in this race one way or the other, other than hoping to see 501 running again at some point, but I 'm just going to second the motion that whatever the back stories and raw feelings and frustrations may be, Mr. Smythe will hopefully reconsider his comments about tossing out whatever documentation for 501 he has. Or perhaps he is hoping to stimulate some motivation from specific places by threatening to do so. But in any event, throwing anything related to 501 in the trash does not seem to help 501 or anything else in the big picture.

Again, I don't know all of the details of the back and forth over the years and am nothing more than a casual observer of anything pertaining to 501, but I do know it would be tragic to have any significant original/unduplicated documentation related to 501's condition, work performed, or needed work simply discarded. Surely if that is in fact the nature of material we are talking about, it could at some point prove important to someone involved with 501- even if perhaps no one is actively seeking it right at this moment.
  by EastYorkTrainFaan
Pat Fahey wrote: Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:34 am Hi
I do agree with the above posts on Locomotive Restoration, there are locomotives that are being restored as I write this. The Biggest problem when it comes down to a Restoration is the number one Factor, Money, Time, and Who is doing it.
If the Railroad or Tourist, line has a complete back shop. like Strasburg, RR, it can be done in a short amount of time. Because once you have the help and the right equipment to do the job.
Look at the Restorations that are being done, that have been taken a number of years, before the engine runs under her own power.
B&M # 3713, AT&SF 2926, Cass Climax 1551, Mec 470, I am sure that there are others, but this all takes time and money.
If Mr, Smythe would like to see the Maine Central 501 restored in a quicker period, then he should approach the Conway Scenic with a plan and the money to back up the operation in order to get the locomotive back to operating condition. If Mr. Smythe could cut a deal, where would it be restored, Strasburg, Boothbay, Me, Tennessee Valley Railroad, Valley Railroad, in CT.
Don't get wrong, I would love to see the engine back in operation, again it comes down to MONEY AND TIME, AND WHO IS DOING IT.
I think outsourcing the work on her would be a great idea as not everything needs to always be done in house all the time, even Wlat Disney World send their steam Engines out for major maintenance work that they cant do in their own roundhouse.
  by NHV 669
Disney is a billion dollar company..... CSRX already outsourced the work on 7470 to an experienced local contractor without having to move it anywhere.

The 10 year plan was put out quite some time ago, not sure why there's such a recent uproar to get it done faster, this is what they want. There isn't a serious need for 501 to be in use, what's the rush?
  by John Smythe
From a recent posting I will respond like this... I will " NOT " throw out anything I consider of value regarding The MEC #501 that is in my possession. My position on the time frame comes from knowing for fact that extensive work was performed on #501's running gear by MEC RR back in 1949. The #501 was retired by MEC in 1953, there are many thousands of miles left on her drivers, crown brasses, mechanical components of running gear, etc.

The locomotive was built in 1910, it is not a complicated piece of machinery compared to the very complex steam locomotives produced in the 40's up till the end. She certainly needs a replacement tender constructed and replacement of the arch bar trucks supporting it as from the many photographs taken of the tender over the years I strongly suspect the original arch bar trucks were at some point replaced with either a different tender equipped with Barber one piece frames then switched back using ones from #519 at Steamtown, VT or just had a set of those old arch bar trucks swapped out at Steamtown, VT keeping the original #501 tender body. After looking at 470 Club photos, #519 photos and many ones of 500 series MEC steam locomotives something just does not add up right. There are still many parts to the locomotive that need to be replicated & finished. Again.... I've read many reports produced from many sources that all conclude the same basic fact & that is that #501 is an excellent candidate for a complete restoration to operational status.

A previous post mentioned that the #501's mud ring & firebox door sheet needed work. Strange none of the reports I have mention those items. Her mud ring is like new, rivet heads very good shape and tight. Backhead sheet is also tight, rivets as well. With all the tubes out now would be a good time to fabricate a new rear tube sheet. I have the reports in front of me looking at them, other sheets could have issues, throttle is a mess. The front end of boiler needs work, same as spool in steam chest, etc.

If I still owned my summer home up on Sebago Lake in Maine, I'd love to come up & continue to act as a volunteer and keep progress moving, but I can't. I have a 99 year old parent to take care of where I live in Mass, home aides are not cheap & I just can not do anything until after she passes. I also don't own the #501, if I was made a financial partner in the CSRX operation that could change things. Just more waiting & legal expenses.
Last edited by John Smythe on Fri Aug 16, 2019 6:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by b&m 1566
John, I admire your passion for your beloved 501, you volunteered countless hours of your personal time to help bring it back to life, so I can understand your frustration and disappointment, nobody here is questioning that. We are all Railfan's here, we all want to see 501 in operation but money doesn't grow on trees (as much as I wish it did). The Conway Scenic has to make a profit first and foremost or else we won't have a Conway Scenic Railroad, they are running a business and they need to treat it as such. Profile Mountain Holdings Corp. has owned the railroad for a year and a half, and look at the changes they have already made. Just to name a few, they have made the railroad more accessible to the public by adding a flag stops at Attitash and a similar pickup and drop off a Crawford's, they got 7470 back in operation, expanded the dining service on the notch train, extended the Redstone Branch, added special train service for children of the Spectrum and purchased your beloved 501... for the sole purpose of making it operational again. You have to give ownership and management some breathing room, money can only be stretched so far, they can only move as fast as the money comes in and they have overhead cost that they need to cover, probably place money into savings to help with unexpected cost and repairs and when all that is taken care of the money that is leftover, that's the money that's goes to your 501. The best thing we can do as Railfan's is (when your own personal budgets allow you to do so), buy a ticket and ride the train, buy some food while on the train and bringing home a souvenir from the gift shop.
  by BandA
How much larger / powerful is the 501 vs. the 4740? Or the 470 for that matter. Could a restored 501 be used on the notch train?
  by steam1246
Mr. Smythe, since you seem to be able to get info on what's really happening with steam at CSRX, what's the scoop? The Operations Manager promised an update on the steam program in the next issue of the Wheel Report back in April, and we haven't seen that yet! What's up with #7470, John? Is the new Management attempting to cover up "unforeseen issues" with their 1921 steam locomotive (re: Susan Logan via TRIP ADVISOR) just like Russ Seybold and Paul Hallett did a number of years back?
Last edited by MEC407 on Tue Aug 20, 2019 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: removed incorrect info
  by NHV 669
There is the steam special to Hazens on 9/1, that was already put out at least a month ago. You could always call them, instead of asking someone who doesn't work for them, and hasn't been directly involved with the steam program for over a decade.
  by drvmusic
NHV 669 wrote: Mon Aug 19, 2019 11:28 am There is the steam special to Hazens on 9/1, that was already put out at least a month ago. You could always call them, instead of asking someone who doesn't work for them, and hasn't been directly involved with the steam program for over a decade.
Hi All,

I contacted them 2 weeks ago, and they said they were finalizing the schedule that week. I checked in again last week, and the person I spoke to was on vaca, coming back this week, so I suspect a schedule will be up this week.
  by RG479
The TE of the W1 Class of 2-8-0's was 3680 lbs and based on the classification numbers on 7470's cab its TE is 3300. A larger 2-8-0 like WM 734 would be necessary to pull a passenger train up the grade to Crawford Notch.

Bob Meckley
  by Cosmo
7470 HAS pulled passenger up the Notch plenty of times, if 7470 can, 501 can.
Assuming "TE" stands for "tractive effort" then 501 is even more capable of pulling anything 7470 can.

But your assessment fails to take into account the SIZE of the train.
I don't know offhand if the Notch trips 7470 made were the full Notch Train or short by a car or two.
Last edited by MEC407 on Thu Aug 22, 2019 8:33 am, edited 1 time in total. Reason: unnecessary quoting
  by MEC407
Those trips had at least one diesel helper, though, didn't they?
  by trainern8
In 2007 7470 pulled a 4 car train through the notch without a helper and in 2011 it was a 5 car train unassisted. On both trips a diesel was used for dynamic braking on the return trip. 7470 has 36,703 lbs of tractive effort and 501 has 36,600 so they are near identical in that respect. 501 however has the advantage of a leading truck when it comes to navigating the curves in the Notch.
  by b&m 1566
I was told 5 cars was the max for the 7470 and now that the notch train is 6 cars long, the chances of 7470 pulling an unassisted train through the notch again are slim. Maybe some day will get to see a double header with 501 and 7470 pulling the notch train leaving the yellow birds to shadow duty. The two of them I think could easily pull a 10 car notch train.
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