Sunday afternoon and looking for a cool blog topic. All the required stuff was under control and co-worker KC Jones was busy commenting on big changes in the Mid-West; our manager was tied up with FAIRPROMISE. Then I spotted magic: a shortline in New Hampshire that just received a grant. Now, I love shortlines: you can put your hands around them and understand them. I love New England (almost as much as the Adirondacks). Had my usual fit about online map services, including GOOGLE EARTH, being so concentrated on “mobile” users that I cannot find decent maps anymore because I still use a C-O-M-P-U-T-E-R.
The New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation (reporting mark NHN) operates part of the former Boston and Maine Corporation‘s Conway Branch between Rollinsford and Ossipee, New Hampshire. The railroad’s primary traffic is quarried sand. It interchanges cars with Pan Am Railways in Dover; the cars are then taken to Boston Sand & Gravel in Massachusetts.
The driving force behind this railroad it is the New Hampshire Railroad Revitalization Association and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. In 1982 and 1984, the CONWAY BRANCH was partially rehibilitated. With the purchase of a portion of the Conway Branch from Rochester to Ossipee by New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation, an 18 mile rehabilitation project began, that consisted of replacing the existing rail with 112 # RE relay rail, new tie plates, joint bars, bolts, lock washers, spikes and anchors. Funding for the project consisted of $1,023,054 in State funds and $177,922 in New Hampshire Northcoast funds. New Hampshire Northcoast was responsible for the installation of the materials. Phase I was completed in December 1987. In 1988, an 11.75 mile rehabilitation project consisted of replacing the existing rail with 112 # RE relay rail, new joint bars, tie plates, anchors, bolts, lock washers and spikes. Funding for the project consisted of $777,202 in State funds and $143,816 in New Hampshire Northcoast funds. New Hampshire Northcoast was responsible for the installation of the materials. Phase II rehabilitation project was to be completed in 1990. In 1997, The Governor and Council approved the rehabilitation of the railroad between Rollinsford and Ossipee and the construction of a car shop in Ossipee using $469,434 from New Hampshire’s Class III Railroad and Cog Railroad Capital Rail Line and Equipment Revolving Loan Fund. Also in 1997, The DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION acquired from the New Hampshire Northcoast the Farmington Branch, from Rochester to Farmington. In 1998, The Governor and Council approved the rebuilding of the prime movers in three locomotives, the purchase of a used caboose and the completion of a car shop in Ossipee using $401,931 from New Hampshire’s Class III Railroad and Cog Railroad Capital Rail Line and Equipment Revolving Loan Fund. Also in 1998, The Department of Transportation received $40,000 in reprogrammed funds from the Federal Railroad Administration to reimburse the New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation for the Federal share for the rehabilitation of a portion of the railroad line from Rochester to Rollinsford.
Now for the meat about the TIGER Grant:
A $1.4 million Transportation Investment Generating Economy Recovery (TIGER) grant agreement has been formally reached for the New Hampshire Northcoast Rail Improvement Project, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) announced yesterday.
Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the TIGER V grant to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, which applied for the funding to help cover the project’s $2 million cost. The work calls for upgrading and repairing 42 miles of the the New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad’s mainline between Rochester and Ossipee, N.H. In addition, a 0.7-mile section of washed-out track will be repaired and two grade crossings will be upgraded.
The New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad’s line connects with Pan Am Railways in Rollinsford, N.H., and a rail-banked line in Ossipee that’s owned by the state. The project will enable the short line to expand its service on the line and operate more efficiently, said Shea-Porter in a press release. The New Hampshire Northcoast Railroad will be able to accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars and increase train speeds on the route.
“The Northcoast line connects to the national freight-rail network via Boston and is a vital transportation link for the Granite State,” said Shea-Porter. “These repairs will complete a multi-year effort to modernize the rail line in partnership with local communities and the private sector.”
Other than the Boston gravel train, NHN also serves its own satellite gravel facility in Rochester, New Hampshire as well as Eastern Propane at the same location.
NHN runs an average of two trains approximately five days a week: one southbound, and one northbound. The trains generally arrive at the pit in Ossipee around 11:00 AM and depart for the Pan Am interchange around 2:00 PM. “Shuttle” trains are run as needed to bring sand and gravel to the facility in Rochester. Once the train arrives in Dover, it assumes the Pan Am symbol DOBO (Dover to Boston) for the run to Boston. It returns as BODO (Boston to Dover) in the early morning. Until recently when they were replaced with a pair of EMD GP38-2s, the trains ran with several EMD GP9s.
Operator is ALLEN RAILROAD
OK, now that I have given you a first-grade education on New Hampshire Northcoast Corporation, check out the people who really know this railroad: the RAILFANS at RAILROAD.NET. Don’t forget, we have been discussing the New Hampshire Northeast Corporation but NOT the Conway Scenic Railroad …… the tourist animal. These folks really know the stories. The beavers and the tourist lines are part of the culture.
New Hampshire is really amazing when you think of what has been abandoned and what has been saved!