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.

In 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 trains.


Description of Today's Route and Your Itinerary
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.

The equipment 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

NOTE: Mileage from Meredith to Plymouth is measured from Concord New Hampshire and designated with the abreviation C.

11:00 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 1960's.

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.

11:50 AM 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 Here we 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 Station.


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 bathroom. 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.