Swift River Railroad (1906-1916) – Albany, New Hampshire
Abandoned Railroad Beds, White Mountains – It is hard to imagine that from the late 1800s to the early 1900s railroading was a way of life in the New Hampshire White Mountains, and timber barons dominated. You would think that after all these years no evidence of this era would exist, but it does. If you are a conservation or environmental photographer, some part of the White Mountains railroading era will interest you.
The historic railroads in the White Mountains are a common topic among hikers and history buffs. And as an environmental photographer I have been able to find interesting subject matter along all the railroads I have explored. One area of the railroads I have focused on is the actual railroad beds.
Beebe River Logging Railroad – Harp Switch Stand
Harp Switch Stand, New Hampshire – Popular during the early days of railroading, the harp style switch stand was a manually operated railroad switch, which allowed trains to transfer to another section of track. This was accomplished by a railroad worker pushing or throwing the long bar (above). The included images are part of my environmental image collection that is focused on abandoned railroads.
During the railroad era, harp switch stands were used on many New Hampshire railroads, including the logging railroads. Most of the harp switch stands along the logging railroads were removed back in the 1900s when the railroad track was picked up, but a handful of them were left deep in the backcountry of the White Mountains. Now considered historical artifacts these switches are a reminder of the land destruction that once took place in the White Mountains many years ago.
Artifact – Gordon Pond Railroad, New Hampshire
Personal Work, Identify This Artifact – I have been working on one of my long term personal projects for the last few weeks. This project is focused on the abandoned railroads in the New Hampshire White Mountains. For the most part, I keep this work separated from my everyday photography business because there is not much interest for this type of imagery (or market in the photography world) outside of New England.
I have been documenting, with a camera, the abandoned logging railroads for over a decade and have been exploring them for as long as I can remember. This project has taken me into parts of the White Mountains I would have never visited or photographed under normal circumstances. And if you are wondering my favorite abandoned railroad is the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in Lincoln, but that is for another day.
Russell Snow Plow #68 – Bartlett, New Hampshire
Russell Snow Plow #68, Bartlett – With all the snow we are getting this month (February) in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, I thought it would be fitting to show an amazing piece of equipment that was used during the 20th century to remove snow from railways. Unfortunately, this snow plow operated before my time and I have no shots of it in action. Summer photographs will have to do for this post.
Along the old Maine Central Railroad at the Bartlett Roundhouse in Bartlett, New Hampshire rests the Russell snow plow #68. It was built in 1923 for the Portland Terminal Railroad Company, a subsidiary of the Maine Central Railroad and operated mostly in Maine. In 1975 the Conway Scenic Railroad purchased it.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Abandoned Railroad Track
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – The East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, built by timber baron James E. Henry, was a logging railroad that operated from 1893-1948 in the New Hampshire towns of Lincoln and Franconia. Much of the railroad was in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness. If you venture into the Pemi, from the Lincoln Woods Trail, you will be walking the railroad bed of Henry’s railroad.
During its existence, the East Branch & Lincoln Railroad was sold to the Parker Young Company and then to the Marcalus Manufacturing Company. The railroad was considered the "elite logging railroad" during the 19th & 20th century White Mountains logging era. And towards the end of its lifespan truck logging played a role in the logging operations.
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad – Trestle 16
East Branch & Lincoln Railroad, Trestle No. 16 – Trestle 16 is located along the abandoned East Branch & Lincoln Railroad in the Pemigewasset Wilderness of New Hampshire. It is also referred to as Black Brook Trestle and the J.E. Henry Trestle. Trestle 16 is one of the few remaining trestle artifacts that remind us of what took place in the area we know today as the Pemigewasset Wilderness.
From 1893 to 1948 the Pemigewasset Wilderness was the scene of massive logging operations by timber baron J.E. Henry and in later years the Parker Young Company. Both operated log trains over this trestle.
Boston & Maine Railroad, New Hampshire – Fabyans Trestle
Boston & Maine Railroad, Mt Washington Branch – Built by the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad, the thirteen and a half mile long Mt Washington Branch was completed in 1874. This branch began at Wing Road in Bethlehem, New Hampshire and ended just east of Fabayns in Bretton Woods. The railroad would be leased to the Boston & Maine Railroad in 1895.
Because there was a growing interest in the Mount Washington Cog Railway, an extension was added to this branch in 1876. And this extension is the focus of this blog article. The Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad completed the roughly six and a half mile long extension from Fabyans to the base of the Cog Railway in 1876. The last passenger trains to the Base Station ran on August 31, 1931.