If you love trains as I do, you’ll find a paradise in Central New Hampshire. There are six train rides in the area, and a railfan would truly enjoy any of them.
Perhaps the most unusual is the Cog Railroad, which takes visitors to the top of Mount Washington, 6288' at the summit. The engines that push the train up the mountain are steam and strain against a grade that reaches 37% in places. Note to parents: when we last rode the “Cog” about ten years ago, our ten-year-old son didn’t like the angle of train, and declined to ride again.(See my article about that ride here: Cog Railroad.)
We also rode the Conway Scenic Railroad out of North Conway. We took the Valley Train that takes about an hour and runs to Conway. The views were awesome and our conductor was a great source of information. My husband enjoyed watching the steam engine switch to another track, go around the train, hook up on the other end for the return trip. The line also offers lunch and dinner trains. Next year I plan to take the Notch Train, through Crawford Notch – a five-hour ride.
Photo: Our friendly conductor on the Conway Scenic Railroad.
The Hobo Railroad runs out of Lincoln, and offers a variety of train rides, including a Turkey Dinner Train (turkey dinner with all the trimmings from Hart’s Turkey Farm), Santa Trains, and Fall Foliage Rides. The fall trip takes you through woods and water and offers an excellent way to see the leaves.
A neat feature of the Hobo is that you can purchase a “Hobo Lunch” – a freshly-made sandwich, chips, drink, giant cookie and a souvenir “Bindle Stick” (Hobo Stick).
We didn’t ride the Lake Winnipesaukee Train, Merediththis year, but we rode it twice two years ago! The Turkey Dinner Train was catered by Hart’s Turkey Farm and was delicious! To read my article on the Dinner Train, click on Turkey Train.
We also rode the four-hour Lake Winnipesaukee Foliage Train, which included a stop at the Train Station in Plymouth – now a senior citizen center - for a hot catered lunch. See
Lake Winnipesauke RR for that article.
My husband and I enjoyed a luscious meal and great company on the Café Lafayette Dinner Train, out of North Woodstock. We were seated with Dean and Shirley - a couple we had never met before – and by the end of the meal, we were good friends. The five-course meal featured homemade desserts and entrees like Café Chicken Cordon Bleu. I had the Grilled Sirloin Steak, and it was outstanding. Note: the menu changes from time to time, but whatever you get, I’m sure it will be exceptional.
At Clark’s Trading Post in Lincoln, you’ll find the White Mountain Central Railroad. Clark’s is a family-run attraction that has been around since 1928. Some of the exhibits and shows here include trained bears, museums of antique motorcycles and other equipment, and an extensive model railroad layout.
But wait – I saved the best for last! When you ride on the White Mountain Central Railroad, a crazy character called the Wolfman comes out in his old jalopy and chases the train. Oddly enough, none of the kids seemed scared of him - you could tell where he was by their squeals and laughter. I rode the train three times and laughed myself silly every time.
Photo Right: The Wolfman at Clark's Trading Post
For More Information:
Cog Railroad at Mount Washington
In New Hampshire: 603-278-5404
Conway Scenic Railroad
Lake Winnespauskee Railroad
Telephone: (800) 699-3501
White Mountain Central Train at Clark’s Trading Post
Telephone: (603) 745-8913