Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club

Established in 1992
NARCOA Affiliate since 2014

LEGAL NOTICE: Operation of railway equipment, including motorcars, is governed by Federal, State and Railroad authorities. All rail property is owned by someone.  Operation of any equipment on or around railroad property is only permitted with permission of the property owner or leasor.  CVRTC will assist local, State, and Federal authorities in prosecuting illegal operators of railway equipment. 

The Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club is an association of railway motorcar enthusiasts dedicated to preserving motorcar history and right-of-way maintenance through active operation and stewardship.
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November Meeting

(16 November 2019) Message from the Club Vice President, Jesse Mazzie:

Club President Bruce Stuart was on business travel and VP Jessie Mazzie took the gavel for today's meeting. It was cool so it was held in Fernald Station with the warmth of the wood stove. A card was passed around to sign for Art Hawkes who has been ill. Jessie re-iterated the dues increase voted on by the membership at the Octtober meeting. The dues for 2020 will be $50. The dual axle trailer discussed and approved by vote at the October meeting was picked up by Ron Mitchell and it's now stored in the engine house. This will facilitate moving the tractor easily for maintenance and with mowing operations over in Ossipee. More consideration was given to adding hy-rail gear to the tractor and some potential sources for used gear was discussed. The dates may slip into early 2020 to repair the roof on Fernald as "winter is coming". The meeting ended at 10:30. A few cars ran the line out to Rt 16. Left, Jesse and Liz enjoy a snow filled gauge ride at the season closer. (SPM)

Trail Work Day

(3 November 2019) Message from the Club President, Bruce Stuart:

Today's volunteer day went well with approx 21 volunteers. They spent about 4 hours out on the line cutting at three different locations. The curve as you leave the first wetland area after Cotton Valley is now completed. An area around Moxie Junction got some attention too. The last section along the river around the picnic table is also cleared. There are now one or two areas along the river section that we could place some benches for a nice riverside view. Several downed trees from the recent wind storm were cleared from the trail just east of Clark Road too. The Seven Lakes Snowmobile Club tackled that job. Thanks guys! Expect more published volunteer days next season with CVTC. See everyone at the next meeting. (SPM)

New Hampshire Southern / Hobo Railroad

(20 October 2019) Frosty morning at Canterbury as the group seton. We had five motorcars and eight members and guests. Our mission for the day was to clean up any storm damage between Canterbury and the former Winnisquam depot, as well as do some more cutting along the causeway and campgrounds.

The storm damage was less than expected, but the chainsaws came in handy. Chris took this picture as we got ready to clear a tree near the Lochmere siding.

Received an email from the Hobo Railroad, saying "Thank you-- we really appreciate your assistance and support.". That really sums up the impact that our club members make! (JWM)

October Meeting

(19 October 2019) The club gathered in the engine house for the monthly business meeting. We welcomed a new member and discussed the days activity. What else! Cutting the corridor out near Frost Crossing. We have been busy clearing any obstructions that are in the path of the new seven foot sicklebar. The ROW has never been bigger since the Boston & Maine Railroad left town.

Pictured left is the tractor leaving Frost Crossing and heading east to Cotton Valley siding. Right, Vice President Jesse Mazzie "contemplates" the awesome fall foliage of northern New Hampshire where we ride, then proceeds to cut down half of it! :-) (SPM)

New Hampshire Central

(13 October 2019) It was pretty cloudy as Jon drove past Franconia Notch and Cannon Mountain, and the forecast still called for a chance of rain. It wasn't sounding like a great day for a foliage excursion in Northern New Hampshire.

We had nine motorcars, with members, guests, and Roger, our railroad pilot for the day. It was easy to seton at Hazens, with plenty of parking in the NHC transload yard. After our safety briefing, we headed west to Whitefield on the former B&M trackage to the ball signal. From there, we reversed direction, heading east to Waumbek Junction, then north on former Maine Central track to Coos Junction, where we returned to B&M tracks for the trip to Groveton.

The sun came out, and we had some great views of foliage. To the left, one of Amy Read's pictures. (JWM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(12 October 2019) Today was "Members Day", Jon and his son Dave started their day with hardy breakfast at the Kennebunk McDonalds. The brush cutting mission today was to open up several culverts. These are built with massive granite blocks. After following the inspection trip back to the Visitors Center, they switched over to the Butler Grove Lead, and gave rides all the way over to the Highview Barn; even shuttling some Museum staff. Hey, why walk when you can ride?

To the left... TC-42 is perched on the mainline; those granite blocks are about two feet thick, the culvert opening three feet high. Jon thinks he might be done for the season, but already thinking about spring, and continuing to build our relationship with the museum. (JWM)

WMUR Channel 9 Chronicle Visit

(23 September 2019) We hit the big screen! Well.... maybe just the large flat screen in your living room. The WMUR Chronicle crew with Sean McDonald payed a visit on the Monday after our September meeting. We will be featured in an upcoming series about trains in New Hampshire.

AND they loved us so much that they will be back to shoot all the intros and wraps for the week long show about trains. The date will be announced shortly. The week long series should air in November on Channel 9.

Pictured left to right, President Bruce Stuart looking on as club member Jon Miner is interviewed by Sean McDonald. Videographer Paul utilized the gang trailer to get some "dolly" shots of railcars on the adjacent track. Frank enjoys a conversation with host Sean McDonald. (SPM)

September Meeting

(21 September 2019) The usual business meeting was held. After the meeting we headed east to do more pre-cutting of small saplings and bushes to help speed up the sickle bar cutting with the tractor. Check out a short video of our weed-whacking adventure on our YouTube channel: Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club

To the left we see the usual ROW discussions taking place and to the right Toby wrestles with the Stihl. We have more cutting to do so please ask the Trail Master, Bruce Stuart, for the latest task list. (SPM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(14 September 2019) Jon and Chris enjoyed a cool Fall morning, continuing to push back the bushes along the STM mainline. They were joined on the return trip by Charlie, head of the track department, who pointed out a couple of more spots need attention. At this point, there is no longer anything hitting the trolleys, so we're focusing on clearing around culverts, and poles bases to make inspections easier. Everyone is happy with the work we've been doing, and the professionalism we bring.

Next trip over is scheduled for their "Members Day" on October 12. (JWM)

New England Southern

(7 September 2019) Today's crew was Frank, Tommy, Hayden, Collin and Jon. The crew took advantage of the nice cool weather to finish their cutting in the Northfield swamp. Due to the wetlands, this is a spot where the State of NH cannot spray.

After lunch at Tilton House of Pizza, they went all the way south to White Mountain Junction (Concord), before returning to Canterbury. Great day, and a big thanks to the crew at WMUR for an accurate forecast! (JWM)

"Mowing Monday" at Cotton Valley

(26 August 2019) Another Mowing Monday on the Wolfeboro branch. This time we traveled from Fernald Station to the western end of track at Route 28 in downtown Wolfeboro. Hayden L. cleared enough saplings the previous Wednesday to allow us to take the mower west! The rails are now clearly seen as you pass the trailhead along Rt 28 in town. So get out there and enjoy the West End! (SPM)

New England Southern

(25 August 2019) We got to run from Canterbury up to the Tilton Freighthouse.

Big thanks to Frank, Tommy, Chris, Hayden and two Jons... The crew took advantage of the nice cool weather to do some serious cutting in the Northfield swamp. We have a little bit more to do on the north end to finish up the job. Due to the wetlands, this is a spot where the State of NH cannot spray. (JWM)

Donation to Fernald Station

(17 August 2019) There is a new addition to the furniture in Fernald Station. As many of you know we have been slowly planning to update the interior of Fernald Station so that it may look a bit more like how it did in the 1970's during the heyday of the Wolfeboro Railroad. Gator and Deb Truman have donated a nice old rolltop desk that looks perfect in the office area on the first floor. Thank you from all the members! (SPM)

Open House 2019

(17 August 2019) Thank you to all the people who came to Fernald Station this year to ride with us. We had a great time and the weather did not deter us from having some fun. We love having an Open House each year and look forward to many more in the future. We gave rides to nearly 100 individuals. Whole familys piled onto the gang trailer to enjoy the ride on the old Wolfeboro Branch. (SPM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(9 August 2019) Jon headed over for another productive day cutting back brush at the Seashore Trolley Museum. At this point, we're no cutting stuff that was hitting the finely restored trolleys, but we're improving sight lines, and clearing around platforms, trolley poles, and catenary supports.

In the picture, TC-42 has stopped at "Morrison Hill", and Jon will grab the "Orange Work Paddle" before heading out on the mainline. They've got a pretty simple, but effective system. The next trolley out will see that the work paddle is missing, so they'll expect to find someone on the line. Jon will also put his sweeps down before continuing. He's found that if the sweeps are down in the Vistor Center area, they pick up grease and plow the pea-stone ballast in the walking areas.

Interested in helping out... get in touch with Jon and he can provide more details. (JWM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(28 July 2019) Big crew today! Jon and David were joined by Hank and Lili, as well as Bill. Bill also works in the Museum's Restoration Shop. Thanks to Hank for taking the picture, as we sit on the Biddeford track with some old PCC cars. (JWM)

July Meeting

(20 July 2019) The monthly business meeting started at 10:00 AM. Bruce and Jesse covered NHOHVA status, Fernald's need for a new roof and the work needed for the new sickle bar on the club tractor. After the business meeting some club members went east and some west to improve the sight lines at the crossings.

Photo Left: As the new owner of a Woodings CBI, one of our newest members (and among the youngest), Hayden takes a spin in his first motorcar. The smile says it all! Photo Right: Tommy wields the cutter at a crossing west of Fernald. (SPM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(14 July 2019) On Sunday, Jon and David headed over for another early morning. Repeating what worked before, they got two hours of cutting done, before meeting the Inspection Crew at Talbott Park. David learned how to apply grease to the insides of the trolley rail. After following the trolley back and setting-off, the guys rode the first revenue run and chatted with the crew about future cutting.

Pictured; David stands next to TC-42 at the Library Crossing, in front of Tower C. (JWM)

Seashore Trolley Museum

(5 July 2019) A year ago, Jon visited the Seashore Trolley Museum and noted that branches were touching or nearly touching in several places, potentially damaging their finely restored equipment. This was certainly an issue that Jon, and the Cotton Valley membership, has expertise in.

On Friday, Jon headed over for an early morning, getting several hours of cutting done before backing into the Biddeford Spur, and waiting for the inspection trolley to come out to the Talbott Park loop. Jon would then follow it back to the Vistor Center.

It's great to be able to leverage the Club's expertise and help out the short lines and heritage railroads in New England. (JWM)

New England Southern

(4-5 July 2019) Jon and Clif could almost be called the "Minute Men of Weed Whackers". Juggling schedules at the last minute, and over the holiday, they were able to help clear around signal cabinets and a customer siding in Concord. Clif's photo shows the forrest tunnel! (JWM)

New England Southern

(30 June 2019) On Sunday Jesse, Chris and Pete patrolled New England Southern on a shakedown run before the NEREX Vermont run. Other than stopping for a black bear it was an uneventful and safe run. (JM)

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

(29 June 2019) Great day up at the Mount Washington Regional Airport! Scott, Kathleen, and Jon and David got to meet a lot of interested people, as well as enjoying all the sights and sounds of an air show, classic car show, small engine show, and craft show. But wait... there's more... steam trains, steam boat, fried dough, french fries... and a couple great looking Chevy Colorados!
Lots of brochures were handed out; expect some potential new members and visitors at the August Open House. (JWM)

New England Southern

(28 June 2019) Sunny and hot day in the Capitol region; Thanks to Norm, Clif, Sam, Scott, Ryan, Will and Russ... great day for CVRTC members and guests.

We did a little bit of cutting at Lambert Road and a few misc places. The State of NH should be cutting it this year, so we're not going to expend a lot of effort until after that.

Stay hydrated... stay cool.. stay safe! (JWM)

Conway Scenic Railroad - Fathers Day

(16 June 2019) Thanks to Dave M, Al D, Pete L, and Jon M for helping out at CSRR's Fathers Day event, giving rides to enuthuiastic vistors. The day started out with the arrival of #7470; so great to see, smell, hear, and feel coal-burning steam power back in the Valley! It was probably the first time that TC-42 has seen live steam!

Each Valley train would come down to Conway, with an hour layover. Visitors got to try their hand with a mini-excavator, driving spikes, spraying water from CSRR's firetruck, and locomotive and caboose tours... and the always popular motorcar rides, with a 400ft round trip. Once the train left, we had an hour long break before the next train.

To the left, several pictures taken by Eric G. Pete and Jon watch the steam engine perform a run-around in the morning. In the second picture, the guys are coming through the switch, and back to the loading platform. Over the photographer's left shoulder is the Conway freighthouse. (JWM)

June Meeting - Family Day

(15 June 2019) A note about Family Day from Vice President Jesse Mazzie

"What a fantastic day on the rails. A huge thank you to Ken, Bill, Bruce and Sean who did lots of behind the scenes work to make this event a success. Hayden and I patrolled west into town then returned for a short club business meeting. After the meeting 5 cars including the big A car headed over Rt. 109 to ride our scenic west end. The track and flangeways are clear so please enjoy this beautiful portion of track. Upon our arrival the hard working team served a great lunch to us all. I'm still full as I write this message. After enjoying some social time cars headed east for a great sunny excursion on these New Hampshire rails. We were happy to have with us long time friend of the CVRTC, Peter Dearness and his wife attend the BBQ and motorcar ride. The group headed toward Rt 16 for great trip with outstanding weather. Thank you again to all that came and all that volunteered to make this day happen.

Interesting historical side note: While taking Pete on a tour of Fernald, upstairs in the station he told me in 1974 a young Mr. Dearness ventured into the upstairs office of Fernald station to meet Don Halleck, the founder of the Wolfeboro Railroad. He wanted to find out about what it took to run a railroad as he was looking at getting into the business. Forty-five years and three short lines later the rest as they say is, History." (JMazzie)

Conway Scenic Railroad Excursion

(26 May 2019) CVRTC Members enjoyed a great day on the former Maine Central Mountain Division, in exchange for their efforts over the last year. Jon and Hank did a great job piloting the group, and the weather couldn't have been much better. We started our day, setting on Redstone, then backing down to the Saco River bridge. From there, we headed West, clearing Mountain Junction, and backing into North Conway. Track permit in hand, we headed to Fayban, making stops in Bartlett and Crawford. (JWM)

May Meeting

(18 May 2019) Finally a warm and sunny Spring day in New England! The May meeting started at 10:00 PM with a good gathering. After the business meeting the group headed west on the line to the Moose Point Rd. crossing to repair a broken rail. Scott Fuller brought his portable Onan powered welder and Al Dumais had his van full of tools. The club tractor was used to excavate the crossing. It was a busy crossing today as there was a canoe/kayak event on Lake Wentworth. Other members made good use of the time and cleared some winter deadfall. We will need to do a lot of cleanup like this on the line before we deploy the new 7 foot sickle bar. (SPM)

New England Southern / Hobo Railroad

(11 May 2019) Six trackcars, and ten CVRTC members and guests, made up the crew for today's patrol. A big, "THANKS!", to Hayden, Hank, Marty, Sam, Leroy, Clif, James, Kathleen, and Scott for coming out today. The crew seton at Canterbury, and worked north to Lochmere, and then continued up to Winnisquam. The focus of the work to was improve sightlines, and dig out flangeways at crossings. (JWM)

New England Southern

(27 April 2019) New England Southern recently held a memorial luncheon for the former Treasurer, Kenneth Coombs, of NEGS. Several CVRTC members were in attendance. Seen here are Jon Miner and Jesse Mazzie with NEGS owner Peter Deerness at the Merrimack Valley Railroad offices in Northfield. The office is the former Boston, Concord and Montreal freight house for Tilton. (JWM)

April Meeting

(20 April 2019) Winter was an uninvited guest at our April Meeting. While the tracks at Fernald appeared clear, it only took a short trackcar ride East, and around the corner to find ice and snow still covering the railhead. Jon hiked west, and found similar conditions on that side of the road too. The Wolfeboro Railroad is one of the few places in New Hampshire where the rails generally run in an East-West orientation, and as such, the snow melt occurs a little later in the season. Members worked to clean up around the enginehouse, including some trees falling toward the trail. (JWM)

New England Southern

(13 April 2019) Opening day for the New England Southern Railroad, and the White Mountain Branch! Jon and his crew of Hayden, Collin, Sam, Leroy, Nick, Scott, and guests patrolled 40 miles round trip, clearing the winter's damage. To their surprise, very little storm cleanup was needed. Our patrol did uncover several issues that we reported to the Track Department; they'll get out before trains start running.
It's great to be back on the rails, and more importantly, working safely and professionally with local railroads. (JWM)

Board of Directors Meeting

(March 6, 2019) The Board of Directors met this past Saturday, 2 March. Treasurer Dave Kotsonis & wife Nancy were kind enough to host the gathering. In attendance were President Bruce Stuart, Vice President Jesse Mazzie, Secretary James Chadborne, Directors Leroy Tripp Sr, Russ Hoyt, Clif Mills and members Sam Plourde and Sean McInerney and of course, Dave Kotsonis. We will post the highlights on the club's Yahoo group soon. Photo: Jesse Mazzie. (SPM)

Season Opener Business Meeting at the Merrimack Valley Railroad

(January 5, 2019) The board has moved to a new venue this year and scheduled the annual season opener business meeting at the Merrimack Valley Railroad Freight House in Northfield, NH. It is on Saturday, 30 March at 10:00AM. See the Events page for location details and Google map links. For the Boston & Maine Railroad fans in the club, this property was once the freight house for Tilton, NH. The Tilton station, located on the opposite side of the river (now the bank parking lot) was razed in the late 1950's. It is also the home of the Caboose Train. The club will be offering coffee and juice along with donuts and pastries. Please feel free to bring a baked good to share. The doors will open at 9:00 AM and the meeting will start at 10:00. The board is putting together the agenda now so please send any items that you would like to see covered. (SPM)

See the archives for postings from 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024

Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club, Inc.
P.O. Box 417
Wolfeboro Falls, NH 03896

©2003 Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club, Inc.