• 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 EastYorkTrainFaan
 
So I've been reading over this sub for a bit and I've seen people talking about how the yard used to be open and yes i have seen it when it was many times however i think a lot of things have changed now. We have people who offten do unsafe things to get pictures like standing on tracks or walking where they shouldn't be. Let's not forget that even railfans can make mistakes like the incident that happened with one of Union Pacific's steam engines where a railfan got in the wrong place and was hit by another train. Even though it's a tourist railroad they still need to keep people safe, and unfortunately sometimes safety is more important than someone being able to enjoy things like they used to.
  by CSRR573
 
We are indeed in the "Dark Days" of the railroad. I've noticed they've deleted some of my FB questions recently. Nothing bad just asking where X piece of equipment is. Ive got a bad feeling about the Conway Trains, I think swirk could care less about them and only truly cares about his precious Rhonda Lee. I too have wanted to work there ever since the early 90s but now it seems that childhood dream is over. I was optimistic at first when swirk took over(he won me over with his childhood story about the RR) but now after making the trek up there multiple times since he took over, Im worried for the future
  by NHV 669
 
EastYorkTrainFaan wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 4:23 pm unfortunately sometimes safety is more important than someone being able to enjoy things like they used to.
That's quite the conflation to make, comparing a mainline steam trip on an active class I carrier on double track, with a 10mph scenic route that has no 50+mph freight trains to compete with.

As has been pointed out, safety seems to be a secondary concern over profits these days, including the employees themselves.

The preceding posts, especially by those who have worked there, should have made you well enough aware of that.

Nothing was moving in the yard on either of my visits Sunday, let's not excuse that with irrelevant comparisons from far larger operations.
  by Jonathan
 
If I ever do get employed there, the main interest I'd have is working on 7470, and being a fireman/engineer for the steam engine.
  by EastYorkTrainFaan
 
NHV 669 wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 5:24 pm
EastYorkTrainFaan wrote: Wed Jun 29, 2022 4:23 pm unfortunately sometimes safety is more important than someone being able to enjoy things like they used to.
That's quite the conflation to make, comparing a mainline steam trip on an active class I carrier on double track, with a 10mph scenic route that has no 50+mph freight trains to compete with.

As has been pointed out, safety seems to be a secondary concern over profits these days, including the employees themselves.

The preceding posts, especially by those who have worked there, should have made you well enough aware of that.

Nothing was moving in the yard on either of my visits Sunday, let's not excuse that with irrelevant comparisons from far larger operations.
I'm not saying that people are going to be hit by trains but there are other reasons to keep people out of the yard now like, for example, someone taking a phone video or pictures with their phone doesn't pay attention to where they are and trips on the rails, or a parent that decided that it's ok for their child to play around the yard and climb on things because they are kids.
Also, some adults need to have reminders that it isn't safe to be around the rails for example in 2019 I was at Fabian station watching the train come into the station and there were people on the bridge sitting on it taking pictures, they only moved when the engineer blew an extra long and loud whistle blast at the crossing over the highway. People around then tried to tell them that it wasn't safe but they had to get a picture on the bridge anyway.
  by Westbound31
 
There are definitely a lot of valid points being made on both sides here as to the closure of the platform and yard access. But I think the main thing here is there has been no response from the railroad as to why it’s been closed.

If it is due to covid concerns then why are open air cars no longer on trains? And the compartment cars built during the pandemic have had the doors removed. That to me says the permanent closure of the platform and the yard isn’t due to Covid. While the doors were removed from the compartments in the cars, the temporary ropes blocking access to the platform and the yard were replaced with brand new posts and chains. There is a lot more room to move and air to breath outside than inside the cars. Yet the cars have had compartment doors removed and open air cars removed.

The railroad is not at all interested in answering questions. Comments on Facebook are removed by marketing/Solomon and emails and calls go unanswered. Swirk could care less about the railfan community, the community here in these forums. So long as the customer keelps coming back and buying tickets for wrongly marketed trains then there’s no reason for him to cater to railfans.

As one reviewer on trip advisor put it, the railroad is his “boondoggle”. Eventually, the negative reviews and word of mouth reviews will spread and start to hurt the bottom line. Employee retention issues and staffing issues will start to hurt the operations as we are seeing now. It’s not sustainable. Swirk is not willing to listen to anyone. It’s his way or no way and that’s why all the employees who loved the railroad either ended up being fired or leaving.
  by octr202
 
While I have no insight on Conway, it is worth noting that a change of ownership would have meant new insurance policies for the new owners. In today's world, I could certainly see insurance companies requiring greater restrictions on visitor access. Just because an old insurance carrier, serving the former owners, allowed something doesn't mean it's going to be allowed when all of that changes.

That certainly doesn't excuse the other issues, but it's worth noting that insurance is often the reason behind increasingly restrictive policies at places which once felt "open" to us as visitors.
  by NHN503
 
Westbound31 wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 8:15 am Swirk is not willing to listen to anyone. It’s his way or no way and that’s why all the employees who loved the railroad either ended up being fired or leaving.
100% this.

I wouldn't even remotely consider going back as long as he's there. I mean even simple things are done backwards. They ran a Mk4, and are now out there stuffing ties...seriously come on now. Why spend thousands of dollars, to have a contractor tamp and surface to then have a crew of people with little to no experience go out and stuff ties and disrupt that surface? Oh and purchase relatively new equipment for that inexperienced crew to use.

TST is ties stone tamp, not tamp stone ties.
  by Jonathan
 
Westbound31 wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 8:15 am Swirk could care less about the railfan community, the community here in these forums. So long as the customer keelps coming back and buying tickets for wrongly marketed trains then there’s no reason for him to cater to railfans.

So you're saying the time 7470 ran during holiday week wasn't catered to railfans, the day the f7s ran a few months ago on all 3 valley trains wasn't catered to railfans, you're saying running 7470 through the notch 2 times in 2019 wasn't catered to railfans. In my eyes, Swirk has done things to make the railfans show up trackside.

I don't disagree, there has been questionable things put into place by Swirk and company, having the platform roped off, places in the yard being off limits, and other topics talked about already. One user has said under Russ and Paul, everything was perfect, 7470 was safer under the care and operation of Court. While I don't disagree with that view, I believe the contractors that Swirk has hired to help out with 7470 (Maine Locomotive and Machine Works) is another top-notch crew that can keep 7470 safe.
  by CSRR573
 
Please dont bring up those two fiasco's. I was on both and they only served as a way to boost swirks ego. Both were poorly managed and whoever was driving 7470 had some pretty bad train handling skills. And while Maine locomotive works certainly seems more then capable of maintaining 7470, If swirk thinks he knows better or doesn't take their advice ,then The work they can do doesnt matter
  by NHN503
 
Jonathan wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 1:40 pm
So you're saying... the day the f7s ran a few months ago on all 3 valley trains wasn't catered to railfans.
It wasn't. It was for test runs by the 470 club to make sure that their equipment was running well enough that their excursion would operate as well as it could for its ticket holders.
Jonathan wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 1:40 pm ... While I don't disagree with that view, I believe the contractors that Swirk has hired to help out with 7470 (Maine Locomotive and Machine Works) is another top-notch crew that can keep 7470 safe.
Context on this makes the difference however. 7470 is safe when Brian and his quality and capable crew are involved with it. The concern is that when they are not there what is happening.
  by Reader#108
 
Anyone who wants to know how things are or were should be taking Westbound31's posts to the letter. His posts are 100% authentic on how it was and how it is now. Experienced, family type gang to inexperienced, money grabbing, mismanagement. There are those here that put their blood, sweat and tears into that place.....not for profit or recognition. But for the heart. To make it great. To see the happy people coming and going. It's a disaster now, and our hearts hurt.
  by CSRR4266
 
octr202 wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 8:41 am While I have no insight on Conway, it is worth noting that a change of ownership would have meant new insurance policies for the new owners. In today's world, I could certainly see insurance companies requiring greater restrictions on visitor access.
The decision to close off the yard and the platform wasn't based on insurance, but rather COVID. They noticed that they customer injuries dropped drastically when people were prevented from accessing the yard and the platform and decided to keep the restrictions in place. Though with the condition of the platform, it could probably take an overall from end to end where it is very lumpy and has multiple trip hazards where the pavement is lower than the cross ties to go across it.
  by CSRR4266
 
CSRR573 wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 2:13 pm Please dont bring up those two fiasco's. I was on both and they only served as a way to boost swirks ego. Both were poorly managed and whoever was driving 7470 had some pretty bad train handling skills.
Not only that, but when 7470 couldn't make the grade climbing the Hill East towards Scenic Vista without a push from the diesel on the tail, that's poor train handling and steam management as she has pulled longer & heavier trains up that grade on her own without issue. But when you use a good chunk of your steam pressure to get the louder and growling chuffs from a start and don't have the fire hot enough to maintain that pressure, you stall short of the condo's.
  by CSRR4266
 
Reader#108 wrote: Thu Jun 30, 2022 2:54 pm Anyone who wants to know how things are or were should be taking Westbound31's posts to the letter. His posts are 100% authentic on how it was and how it is now. Experienced, family type gang to inexperienced, money grabbing, mismanagement. There are those here that put their blood, sweat and tears into that place.....not for profit or recognition. But for the heart. To make it great. To see the happy people coming and going. It's a disaster now, and our hearts hurt.
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