Virtual Tour - Steam Train Ride
I'd Like to welcome you aboard the White Mountain Central Railroad on another beautiful sunny New Hampshire day.
The tour starts at the White Mountain Central Railroad station next to the parking lot where you bought your tickets. It is close to the snack bar and gift shop. The station also serves as the main entrance to the Clark's Trading Post grounds.
In the background the calliope can be heard playing merry circus themed music.
Please feel free to visit Leon or Russ in the cab of the Climax steam locomotive.
In between servicing the locomotive they can usually find time to answer questions.
During some railroad events the engineer may permit able bodied, mature passengers on the locomotive. The steam locomotive is not a very clean environment, so dress appropriately. Space is very limited so rides are first-come-first-served at the discretion of the engineer.
The engineer has just informed me that we have a full head of steam, so I'll give him the High Ball sign and we'll be on our way.
As we make the forward trip, I'd like to ask you a few small favours.
Please do not sit on the red hand railings and please do not throw anything from the train.
Also, once we cross the covered bridge you might want to watch out, because that's where we enter Wolfman's Territory.
Mr. Engineer, when you're ready.
The engine we are using today is a Climax geared locomotive.
"Geared" simply means the two steam engines on either side are driving all the wheels by way of gears on each axle. Geared locomotives were used primarily for logging operations and quarry work. They were designed for hauling heavy loads up steep grades, and sharp corners, and could work with very poor track conditions.
These locomotives are not very fast, but they are very powerful.
Our Climax was built in 1920 at Cory Pennsylvania by the Climax Manufacturing Company. It was bought brand new by the Beebe River Lumber Co. in Campton NH, about 16 miles south of here. They used it for a few years hailing lumber out of the Waterville Valley area. They then sold it to the East Branch and Lincoln Railroad, about a mile from here. Thet used it for a few years hauling lumber and then put it in storage where it sat until 1951, when the Clark's bought it.
This locomotive has been completely re-built and as it sits today is in excellent condition.
We're very proud of this locomotive, because of the 1,000 or so built, there are only 4 of them in operation world-wide. There is this one at Clark's, the Warehouse Point Trolley Museum in Connecticut, one on the west coast and one in New Zealand..
Well folks, we hope you liked the ride, and have a nice walk back. Actually we're just stopping to take on a little water.
We make 6 trips a day.
On 3 of the trips we stop to get about 200 gallons of water.
On the other 3 trips, we're at the wood pile picking up about one third of a cord of fire wood.
So in the course of a day, we use about 600 gallons of water and about a cord of wood to travel 16 miles.
As soon as the engine is tanked up we'll be on our way.
We'll be going through our Howe Truss Covered bridge.
It was built originally in 1904 on the Barre & Chelsea R.R. in east Montpelier, Vt.
We bought it in 1960, and over the next 4 years we took it apart, numbered each piece, brought it over here and put it back together on the south side of the river.
Then we pulled it into place with an old Lynn Half Track Truck.
The bridge is 120 feet long, it weighs 200 tons, and it can support an additional 200 tons.
I was asked a very common question, namely why do we push our up here rather than pull them in the conventional manner.
There are two reasons.
First, if we were to pull you up this hill, all the cars would be full of smoke and embers from the locomotive. On the way back, we'll be coasting down hill, so there won't be a lot of smoke.
The second reason dates back to the old days of logging when locomotives such as our Climax would push their cars up the mountain to where the logging operation was. They would load up with logs and slowly back down with the engine on the downhill side. This way there was no danger of a car breaking free and rolling down the mountain out of control.
So, as you can see, we have two very good reasons for "pushing you around!"
Well here we are folks.
Welcome, at last, to our world famous Dead End.
I'd like to apologize for that attack on the train and tell you a little about the Wolfman.
Now we don't know his real name, but he does wear those furs, and when the moon is out, you should hear him howl. And you have to admit, he is as homely as a plate worms. So we figured Wolfman was a very appropriate name.
Now he's been chasing this train for quite a few years, but we just recently found out why. You see, he's a miner. I certainly don't mean to say he's under 21. He's the kind of miner who looks for ore. He believes he has found a rare and precious ore called "Unobtanium". Now just because I've never heard of it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Well, he believes he has found some and he is spending quite a bit of time trying to get it out of the ground.
Some of you might have seen his mine on the way up. On the way back, it will be on the left side, just past the siding with the flat cars. If you look into the woods a little ways, you see a large rock with a steel door on it and a "Keep Out" sign. Well, that's the entrance to his mine, and that's also where he lives.
Now Wolfman is afraid that with all the people we haul past his mine, that someday, someone is going to jump his claim. Now I highly doubt this will happen, he's just trying to scare everyone away.
All of you young ladies might not want to sit too close to the edge, because rumor has it that Wolfman is looking for a housekeeper. Now I hope none of you husbands have any ideas of throwing anyone over the side!
We're going to have to go back through Wolfman's territory to return to the station, so if you really want to have some fun with him, here's what you do.
On the way back down, when you see him, 'squint your left eye, point your finger right at him, and yell: "Scram you Old goat!" And I'll tell you, he'll get so hummed up that he'll chase us all the way back to the covered bridge.
Now you don't have to worry about him crossing the bridge and coming down to the Trading Post because Wolfman is afraid of heights. Also he won't go under the bridge because he is even more afraid of water. He hasn't taken a bath in years, and it's a good thing we're not down wind
of him, if you know what I mean.
Now you folks today are in on a special treat.
You see just last night we had a big going away party for our old engineer, who retired after 30 years of service.
At 10 o'clock this morning this new guy walked in and told us that he had just completed a 3 week, correspondence, crash course in steam engineering. That mean's that today is his first time ever running a steam engine.
But he did a pretty good job, so how about a round of applause for our new engineer!
......Alright, hold it, that's enough.... we don't want him to get oven confident.
All of you available young ladies might be interested to know that besides being a good engineer, he's also tall, dark, witty, intelligent, imaginative, rich, brilliant, unselfish... I can't remember the rest he paid me to say, but if he'll 'stick his head out of the left hand side of the locomotive, I'll introduce him to you. His name is "Leon", "Leon Bumpus" .... and he usually does.
We're going to head back to the station in time for the next Bear show, or to take a tour through the rest of Clark's Trading Post.
On the way back down, I'd like to ask you one more small favor.
As we are pulling into the station, please do not try to stand up until the train comes to a complete stop.
And you might want to hold on tight, because although we came up here slow, on the way back down we'll be hitting speeds in excess of 50 to 60, sometimes even 70 yards per hour.
Don't forget what you are going to yell at Wolfman, and make sure you yell good and loud, because he is hard of hearing; he's only got one eye.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Engineer, when you're ready...
Last Modified 10/28/06 7:45 PM