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PHOTOS: AYER

Posted by Jersey Mike on Wed Sep 28 20:49:39 2022

During the Fall 2021 New England Trip I scheduled a day of general sightseeing and railfan activity, starting off at the Hobo Railroad in Lincoln, NH, then dropping by the Conway Scenic in North Conway, NH, before finally getting some photos of endangered signaling at Ayer and Lowell, MA on the former Guilford Rail System Freight Main Line. The weather that day was indicative of why New England is such a popular fall travel destination with cool temperatures and outstanding light. The full set of photos from this day can be found here ( mirror ).

The Plymouth & Lincoln Railroad, known as the Hobo Railroad in the tourist trade it runs the typical mix of classic railcars behind a modern diesel backed up by a bunch of more interesting equipment in the yard. Chief amoung these is about half of the New Haven vintage 6-car Roger Williams trainset built by the Budd Company in 1956 using RDC technology. Similar in appearance and performance to New Haven't other post-war lightweight trainset, the Speed Merchant, the concept ultimately proved to be unsuccessful and the trainset was split up with the cars used in normal RDC services into the 70's and 80's. The Hobo Railroad owns the two cab cars and one intermediate car.







Hobo also hosts the more traditional NH RDC, #41.



A pair of ex-Santa Fe Highliners round out the Budd built equipment in storage.



GP9 #1921 is painted in Boston and Maine colors, but was actually a former Great Northern unit, obtained after a stint at the MBTA.



SW1000 #105 was purchased from the New Orleans Public Belt in 2020 and used to replace the former excursion mainstay, Alco S1 #958.



The standard Hobo RR tourist trainset includes an ex-Reading RR RDC in MBTSA paint, but retaining its original number of 9154.



The station at Lincoln, NH definitely has that Family Fun Center feeling.



I've visited the Conway Scenic Railroad before and like that last time I did not have the multiple hours needed to ride either of its primary excursion services. Not that I could have it I wanted to as the runs appeared to be sold out with massive lines on the platform.



The first excursion out that day on the southern route was being powered by former Finger Lakes Railway GP9 #1751. Some of the cars in the consist appeared to be former CN Montreal electric MU's.







The second excursion train, the northbound Mountaineer to Crawford Notch, was powered by former Guilford/Maine Central hi-hood GP35 #216 and featured some dome cars in the consist.







Other power included former Maine Central GP38 #252 and GP7 #573 sitting in front of the small roundhouse and turntable.







The Conway Scenic also features a collection of cabeese and vintage freight cars.









In Portsmouth New Hampshire US Coast Guard medium endurance cutter Tahoma (WMEC-908) was in port. It's rail related because the class is powered by 2 4000hp Alco 251 V-18 engines.



In Ayer I was expecting to catch both MBTA commuter trains and some Guilford main line freight. It turned out that MBTA service had been suspended and no freight decided to make a showing.



Instead I got photos of the former B&M searchlight signals at CPF-AY that were being replaced as part of an MBTA cab signal project along with AY tower.





At the east end of the interlocking the old bracket mast was being replaced by a new bracket mast, shown here lit up for testing. The Guilford was one of the last railroads in North America to regularly install new bracket mast signals and the recent CSX purchase will likely end this tradition.



My last stop was CPF-NC near Lowell were I happened upon this Red Tailed Hawk taking a bath.



That's all for this part of my New Englande Trip. Next week we return the way we came on Amtrak's Vermonter.

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