• 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 S1f3432
 
This timeline of events on Conway Branch and CSRR may be of interest. Info culled from 470 RR Club newsletters and a letter to the editor of Railfan Magazine from Dwight Smith appearing in the Fall 1975 issue.

1-70. Dover- Intervale local restored to former status: running north as DI-1 M-W-F, laying over at North
Conway and returning to Dover as ID-2 T-T-S, service beyond North Conway to Intervale only as
needed.

5-70. 470 RR Club members invited to participate in weekend work sessions on 47 (7470) in storage
At Rigby Yard in South Portland.

2-71. MEC-B&M interchange at Intervale handled it’s first load in over a year when hi-wide load boiler
from Erie, PA arrived on UIWX 101 for UNH Durham via PC-CP-MEC-B&M.

3-71 47 used in filming movie “A Separate Peace” at Rockingham, Jct 3-6-71, returned to Rigby afterward.

3-71 Proposal for Conway Scenic Railroad posted in 470 RR Club newsletter.

8-71 Saturday 7-31-71 BM 1576 hauled three of Dwight Smith’s cars from Intervale to North Conway
where they were placed on the turntable and pushed into the roundhouse with a tractor.

8/9-71 Work sessions on 47 continue at Rigby.

4-72. RRE snow train to North Conway with two GP’s pulling eight cars. 47 had been previously been
moved to North Conway and was available for inspection. ( I’m missing a few issued and don’t
know the date it was moved.)

5-72. ICC grants approval to abandon Conway Branch from Mt. Whittier to Intervale effective 5-25-72.

7-72. NH Attorney General thwarting the abandonment by B&M of Cheshire and Conway Branches.

10-72 ICC again ok’s abandonment of Cheshire and Conway branches but B&M takes no action.

11-72 Saturday 10-21-72 ID-2 makes last run from Intervale with BM SW-9 1230 with seven cars owned
By 470 RR Club members: BAR snowplow 450, B&ML caboose 27, Four boxcars ( two ex-MEC,
Two ex-GT ) and ex-D&H combine 120. All except the plow were set off at North Conway. The plow
was hauled south to Wolfboro. Weeked work sessions continue at North Conway and I participated in
many of them albeit a high school student at the time.

12-72 Last run north of Mt. Whittier by ID-2 on Tuesday 10-31-72. Dover to Ossipee gravel train D-7/D-8
on duty at Dover 7:30 AM Sunday- Thursday. B&M accepting bids on the property to be opened
12-15-72.

1-73. B&M and Wolfboro RR hope to sign final papers12-19-72

2-73. Federal Court rules B&M must within 60 days negotiate with Conway Depot Company for Conway
Branch property within the Town of Conway. B&M argues that Conway Scenic isn’t a “continued
operation” in the meaning of ICC rules and should be able to offer the property to other real estate
speculators. B&M was in bankruptcy reorganization at the time and was trying to realize as much
profit as possible through the disposition of assets.

4-73. Federal Court orders B&M to negotiate in “good faith” with Conway Scenic sometime before 4-23-73.

6-73. B&M offers 194 miles of ROW to the State of New Hampshire, including that which they are in
negotiations with CSRR.

12-73 First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston affirms earlier federal Court rulings- B&M ordered to sell to
Conway Scenic.

2-74 NH PUC schedules hearing in Concord 2-14-74 per CSRR startup- CSRR and B&M in final talks.

7-74. CSRR leases track from B&M pending consumption of sale aiming for 4th of July startup.

8-74. 47 fired up first time Friday evening 8-2-74
Service began Sunday 8-4-74
Ran until 10-20-74, resuming again 5-24-75.
  by S1f3432
 
To add to the above post an early very under exposed late day shot of CSRR 47 picking up a car of coal
just set off by RY-2 at Intervale shortly after CSRR operations started in August 1974
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  by b&m 1566
 
Excellent information, thanks for posting that. I also heard but cannot validate, that after the B&M was ordered to sell to the Conway Scenic, they tried to sell all the track north of Ossipee, to the Conway Scenic. At the time, the investors were only interested in the Conway portion, as anything bigger would've doomed the railroad right out of the gate.
  by jfwjr1
 
Does anyone have a sense for where the NH DOT RFP issued in 2019 has landed now in 2024? It makes sense that Conway Scenic would take it. However, in researching, it seems that Boston and Maine had freight rights, which I think went to Pan Am, then to CSX now? CSX any interest? Perhaps that is why Boston Sand and Gravel (New Hampshire Northcoast) is so anxious to rip up the rails on the Conway branch?
Thx!
  by eustis22
 
Wait....why would NHN want the tracks ripped up?
  by CPF66
 
jfwjr1 wrote: Thu Feb 29, 2024 4:57 pm Does anyone have a sense for where the NH DOT RFP issued in 2019 has landed now in 2024? It makes sense that Conway Scenic would take it. However, in researching, it seems that Boston and Maine had freight rights, which I think went to Pan Am, then to CSX now? CSX any interest? Perhaps that is why Boston Sand and Gravel (New Hampshire Northcoast) is so anxious to rip up the rails on the Conway branch?
Thx!
I highly doubt CSX has any interest in a few customers which would only be shipping 10-20 cars per year, which would require millions upon millions to reactivate the track, as well as having to operate over another railroad to serve them. I suspect any freight rights B&M had are long gone at this point.
  by Who
 
jfwjr1 wrote: Thu Feb 29, 2024 4:57 pm Does anyone have a sense for where the NH DOT RFP issued in 2019 has landed now in 2024? It makes sense that Conway Scenic would take it. However, in researching, it seems that Boston and Maine had freight rights, which I think went to Pan Am, then to CSX now? CSX any interest? Perhaps that is why Boston Sand and Gravel (New Hampshire Northcoast) is so anxious to rip up the rails on the Conway branch?
Thx!
The B&M retained overhead traffic rights on the Conway Branch and likewise the MEC on the Mountain Division, it's to keep a competitor railroad from coming in and taking over the line that could potentially siphon traffic away from the B&M and MEC respectively, those rights now belong to CSX, it is nothing more than a paper barrier and does not pertain to local online traffic.
Why do you think NHN is so anxious to rip up the rails or where are you hearing this from?
  by NHV 669
 
Who wrote:Why do you think NHN is so anxious to rip up the rails or where are you hearing this from?
According to Mr. Whalen's posts elsewhere, including commentary on a letter he wrote to the editors of the Conway Sun, it was part of testimony given by someone representing NHN in regards to HB 1468.

He says the given testimony is posted online, I haven't been able to find it yet. Only the dates of work sessions regarding the bill.
  by Who
 
It sounds like something was taken out of context to try and make the rail trail case stronger. A comment like that coming from NHN, doesn't even make sense, I doubt those words were ever spoken.
  by Who
 
Why is the Conway Scenic not being consulted on HB 1468?
1 Conway Branch Planning Group. The department of transportation, bureau of rail and transit, and the bureau of trails shall jointly meet, in consultation with the executive councilor from district 1, a member of the house public works highway committee, a member of the senate capital budget committee, a selectman or their appointed agents from the towns of Ossipee and Madison, and a representative from the New Hampshire Northcoast railroad, to formulate a plan for the best public use of a portion of the so-called "Conway Branch" between rail crossing in Center Ossipee/Moultonville Road to the rail crossing at Route 113 in Madison and to explore the feasibility of snowmobiling, walking, and biking on the existing rail corridor. The rail division shall explore the costs and income related to the removal of the rail and ties where necessary to provide a level and safe surface for recreational activity on the existing trackbed. The group shall explore funding any trail improvements from private donations, grants and/or from the sale of the existing steel rails. The 2 bureaus shall meet with this working group no less than 3 times before December 30, 2024, and issue their joint findings and recommendations to the public on or before January 2, 2025, with copies to the governor and executive council, the speaker of the house, the president of the senate, and the towns of Ossipee and Madison.

2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect July 1, 2024.