MEREDITH TO PLYMOUTH
A brief history of the trackage operated by the Hobo Railroad and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad between
Meredith NH and Lincoln NH, a distance of 38 miles.
The trackage between Northfield and Lincoln is operated by
The Hobo and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroads and was part of the Boston,
Concord and Montreal Railroad, with construction beginning in 1846. The
line reached Tilton on May 22, 1848, Laconia August 8, 1848, Meredith
March 19, 1849 and Plymouth June 21, 1850. The main line of the BC&M
continued on to Wells River, VT reaching that point on May 10, 1853.
The line from Plymouth to Lincoln was constructed as the
Pemigewasset Valley Railroad which was chartered July 9, 1874.
Construction began in 1882, with the line opened to Woodstock March 1,
1883. It was leased to the BC&M a month later.
1884 the Boston and Lowell RR leased the BC&M, which was later
combined with the Concord RR in 1889 to form the Concord and Montreal RR.
The BC&M was leased to the Boston and Maine RR in 1895, being
subsequently purchased by and merged into the B&M on December 1, 1919.
In the early part of the twentieth century, the line hosted many
passenger trains as well as local freights serving the on line towns and
continuing to northern New Hampshire, Vermont and Canada. The
favored route for through traffic was the former Northern RR between
Concord and White River Jct, VT. The trackage between Plymouth and North
Haverhill, NH was abandoned on October l, 1954. Passenger service was
cut back from Plymouth to Laconia (Meredith in the summer) and eventually
ceased altogether on January 5, 1965.
In June 1970, the Franconia
Paper Co. mill at Lincoln shut down for the first of several times due to
pollution control problems. The B&M continued service as required, but
heavy rains in the summer of 1973 caused several washouts north of
Meredith which the B&M could not justify repairing, thus the northern
portion of the line was embargoed.
In 1975, the Profile Paper Co.
announced intentions to re-open the mill at Lincoln provided that rail
service was available. The State of New Hampshire purchased the Concord to
Lincoln trackage on October 30, 1975, repaired it, and resumed service
with the Wolfeboro Railroad serving as the first of several operators. The
Lincoln paper mill closed for good in 1977, with much of the mill site
becoming condominiums and outlet stores in the years since then. Freight
service, as required, is provided by the Concord based New England
Southern Railroad, and passenger excursions are operated by the Clark
family of Lincoln as the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad between Meredith
and Laconia and the Hobo Railroad in the Lincoln - Woodstock area.
The HOBO RAILROAD began passenger trains in July of 1987. The
station and engine house were built by Edwark A Clark's family in the
winter of 1986 and completed for the opening in July of 1987. In 1991 the
State of NH awarded our railroad company the contract to operate the
section of the line we call Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad. This contract
now allowed us to operate our trains over 55 miles of rail line up the
center of NH from Northfield/Tilton to Lincoln. We are fortunate to have
several recently restored, privately owned, railroad stations and freight
stations that we feature on special excursions. We also work with private
business along the line to showcase them on our special
Description of Today's Route and Your
MEREDITH RAILROAD YARD
This is the boarding point for your Foliage Tour. In
Meredith, our yard facility consists of an 1890's baggage car that serves
as our ticket station and gift shop.
being used is locomotive 1008, an ALCO S1 built in 1949 and owned by the
State of New Hampshire and on lease to the railroad. Also being used are
two Budd Cars which are former MBTA commuter coaches that we have restored.
The New York Central car "Cold Harbor" is a privately owned Pullman Car
that serves as our First Class Section. Also we have former Bangor and
Aroostook Piano Parlor Car that has spacious couches and easy chairs and
is for our President's Class. Although reservations are needed,
passsengers can inquire on the day of the tour for any available vacancies
in our Pullman Cars. Your Conductor is Leo Boisoneault with George Kenson
and Dave Gregoire as the engine crew.
We will need to wait for the
10:30 local train to leave the station on its southward trip. Then the
train crew will place the Foliage Train on the Station Track for you to
board with departure at 11:00 AM
from Meredith to Plymouth is measured from Concord New Hampshire
and designated with the abreviation C.
AM MEREDITH RAILROAD YARD: Mile Post C 37.70 In Meredith yard are several privately owned
cabooses and a few motorized trackcars formerly used by railroads for
track inspections. The brown building behind the
box car is the former Freight House while the former passenger station was
relocated to the hill above the tracks at the Route 3 overpass years ago,
and served as a restaurant. It burned several years ago and has not been
replaced. The former passenger station site is marked by a curbed, paved
platform on our right on the north side of Main Street. Lake Waukewan is
on our right as you leave town. Year-round passenger service to Meredith
ended on October 25, 1959. Summer service continued until 1965.
11:20 AM WINONA STATION: MP41.06 Former station site in
the Town of New Hampton, north
of Winona Road which we cross on an overhead bridge. Winona Lake on right.
Top of grade at 675 ft. above sea level at mileage C43.76 as a dirt road
crosses overhead on a wooden bridge. We climb a 1.42% grade from mileage
C42 to the summit. After passing the summit we descend a 1.13% grade for
almost 3 miles before reaching Ashland, NH.
11:40 AM ASHLAND: MP45.78 We
pass the former passenger station that
served the town of Ashland, NH. We will stop here on our return so that
passengers can disembark to explore this historic building. The Station Agent
will be present in his proper uniform and will greet the visitors.
The station is owned by the Ashland Historical Society
(www.ashlandhistorical.com) and is an all volunteer, non profit
organization. This station is on our right before we cross Depot Street,
Route 132. In the summer of 1999, this station was rededicated by then
Transportation Secretary Dole, after extensive renovations. Across Depot
Street crossing, on our right, is the old former freight house owned by a
local artist. We cross the Squam River on the high bridge. A former spur
track ran down grade to the ruins of the Ashland Paper Co. and proceeded
around the pond to a business across the street. A freight agent was
stationed at Ashland until the early 1970's. We pass under the twin
bridges of Rt I-93 on a new roadbed as the railroad and Route 3 were
relocated in this area when the Rt I-93 interchange was constructed in the
11:45 AM ASHLAND TRESTLE: MP46.11
We cross a river on a high trestle
that allows a look at Ashland NH on our right, and the
Foliage on the hill behind the town. The remains of an old mill are at the
bottom on the small pond. A small Hydro-Electric Station is just below.
Rising 100 feet over the stream we slow for a better view.
BRIDGEWATER: MP 47.85 We cross the
Pemigewasset River on a three span through truss bridge. This is not the
original bridge which was built of wood. It was destroyed by a derailment
on the bridge which left the remains of a flatcar in the water on the West
side of the truss. It is on its back, minus trucks, but can still be seen
in proper light conditions. The station site was located on the left
after we pass under US Route 3 at the end of River Road. Just to the right
before the bridge, the smell of cedar was from the large stack on
hand of Cedar by the the Rochester Shoe
Tree Co. that makes "Shoes Trees". After the river crossing is a wood
chip burning power station. Note fumes rising on the piles of wood fermenting.
11:55 AM BONNIE BRAE DEER FARM & GLOVE HOLLOW TREE
FARM: MP48.00 From our train you will have a closeup view of an
actual working deer farm utilizing 200 acres of farm land. We traverse
through the farm with views on both sides of the train.
This deer farm was established in 1994 and is located in Plymouth, NH. It
was the third deer farm in the State of NH.
Adjacent to it is the Glove
Hollow Tree Farm where Christmas Trees are grown and sold individually in
winter. This tract of land was given to the Ahearn Family in a King's
Grant and and has remained in the family ever since.
12:05 PM PLYMOUTH STATION: MP 51.26 A historic
station is located here and is the present site of the Plymouth Senior
Center. Plymouth State College is located in this town of
5000. Plymouth was once the key junction of the branch to Lincoln and the
line to Woodsville. The Alouette, a Boston & Maine/Canadian Pacific
train stopped here on its way to Boston or Montreal.
The main line to Woodsville was abandoned on October 31,1954. Regular
passenger service on the B&M Branch to Livermore Falls and Lincoln NH was discontinued
Sept 21, 1938. The Lincoln branch line
is the line that we will be travelling on today to reach the Common Man Inn. After we pass by the station we cross Bridge Street and note
the new bridge recently completed on our right over the river. This is the
local access road to RT 93. The former main line to Woodsville went to
the left shortly before the semaphore just ahead on the left. We then
cross the Baker River on a through truss bridge adjacent to the Route 3
bridge just minutes away from our stop for a hot Buffet Lunch.
12:10 PM Common Man Inn: MP P1.00
will stop so that passengers can disembark for a supurb Hot Buffet Meal. The building
on your right is the Common Man Inn that was built using the
historic buildings of the former Plymouth Manufacturing Company. Please note that
departure is around 1:25PM. Mileages are now measured from the Plymouth, NH
HISTORY OF THE COMMON MAN INN: The Common Man Inn & Spa in Plymouth is one of the most unique properties for the Common Man family in New Hampshire. In 2001, owner Alex Ray and Vice President Diane Downing transformed a defunct 60,000 square foot wood mill just off exit 26 of I-93 into the Adirondack-style Common Man Inn & Spa, complete with 37 cozy rooms, a tranquil day spa, Foster's Boiler Room restaurant and an event facility.
Construction of the Inn retained 90 percent of the original building, turning the five-level boiler room into Foster's Boiler Room restaurant, and maintaining the historical structure everywhere possible. It is a fusion of past and present, creating a warm atmosphere rich with the history of the building, meshed with the unique touch of the Common Man family.
2:00 PM ASHLAND STATION: MP C45.70 The Ashland
Historical Society, with government ICTEA grants, enabled the society to
save this icon of what railroad
travel was like in the past. The Station Master, will
greet all of us in proper uniform and give us some information relative to
the restoration of this historic edifice, and answer any questions you
might have on the historic station. Inside are railroad artifacts and
several displays for you to enjoy. If you so wish they will accept small
donations for the future preservation of this great station. The station also has a full ADA
Ashland, NH is the gateway to the Squam Lakes also known as "On Golden Pond" as this where the film by Ernie Thompson was filmed completly. The author still spends summers in the near area and also runs a film workshop called Whitebridge Farms located in New Hampton, NH and can be seen at times filming scenes along the rail line. Last known filming was at the bridge over Winona Rd at MP C 41.06.
The Conductor, after about 15 minutes spent at the restored
station will ask the engine crew to issue a 2 minute warning by sounding
the train horn. Once everyone is onboard we will continue on to Meredith,
a 30 minute ride and the end of our ride today.
Thank you for taking the Fall Foliage Tour with us. The
train crew will help you disembark at the Meredith Station.