When we first had arrived in North Conway, we walked around Main Street for a bit and then made our way to the Conway Scenic Railroad Station. The station is located in the center of the North Conway Village and has been a regional landmark since its completion in 1874. The railroad has a rich history and has also been an essential part of tourism in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The main terminal of the railroad is located in the historic North Conway downtown of the Mount Washington Valley. The station complex has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The railway gives visitors a chance to relive the golden days of railroading as well as experience a variety of gorgeous views that area is well known for.
The station was pretty quiet, considering the number of tourists in the area during our visit to North Conway. I think we may have lucked out and have been there in between trains coming and going for the afternoon. My favorite part of the station wasn’t the inside of the building, but the platform outside. It reminded me of a much simpler time in history and it must have been a such an exciting experience for train riders in the past. Can you imagine seeing one of these trains pull into the station and to board one for the first time? How exciting it must have been. When I was a kid, I thought riding the Amtrack from White Plains to the city was exciting. It was December around Christmas time and I had gone with my family to see the Rockettes’ Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall and afterward, dinner at Mama Leone’s. As I got older, I rode the train more frequently, but it was never as exciting as my first time.
The platform and ticket sales sign also reminds me of many scenes from movies I have watched and books that I have read. Train platforms remind me of places where many kinds of exchanges happen between people. I think we can imagine people greeting or saying goodbye to loved ones arriving or leaving by train, romantic exchanges between lovers or some kind of action or mystery thriller scenes taking place on a platform. A few examples I can think of off the top of my head are Before Sunrise, The Hours and of course, the Harry Potter movies.
After reading a few brochures and doing a little research online I found out some interesting information about the railroad. The railroad runs excursions of varying distances under two operations, the “Valley Train” which travels either south to Conway (55-minute round trip) or west to Bartlett (one and a half hour round trip), and the “Notch Train” covering the line through Crawford Notch. Visitors can enjoy a lunch or dinner experience aboard the elegant dining cars on both trains. The Valley Train’s car is called the Chocorua and the Notch Train’s car is called the Hattie Evans. The Notch Train travels through a wide variety of landscapes during its five hour round trip to Crawford Depot and is extended to five and a half hours during the fall foliage season. During this time, the train travels all the way to Fabyan Station, located near Bretton Woods in the town of Carroll. The railway also holds special annual events, including “Day out with Thomas,” a rail-fan day on the first Saturday of September, “Polar Express” themed trips during December and other events that are geared toward the holidays.
The following photographs are of few places along Main Street we saw and of our brief visit to the railroad station.
A view of Main Street in North Conway, New Hampshire.
Strolling the sidewalks during the fall in North Conway, New Hampshire.
The New England Ski Museum located near the stores and train station.
North Conway Train Station is an 1880 Victorian style train station.
The clock located on the outside of the North Conway Train Station.
The sign for the Railroad Museum.
A model train on display inside the museum.
Multi-colored polished gemstones for sale in the railroad museum gift shop.
A vintage railway signal located in the railway museum.
The ticket office located in the station.
A pumpkin display set up for the fall season.
A kiddie train ride located on the tracks.
A display of an EMD F7 beside the 1874 North Conway freight depot.
The Conway Scenic Railway platform on the railway tracks.
The outdoor ticket sign located on the platform.