Fire in Conway Scenic Railroad Steam Locomotive Causes Whistle to Blow Alerting Staff
A fire in the 100-year-old steam locomotive at the Conway Scenic Railroad Sunday morning could have been tragic, but a lucky break helped avert a disaster.
The former Grand Trunk Railroad steam engine number 7470 has been running on the Conway Scenic railroad since it first opened in 1974. Built in 1921, the locomotive has undergone several restorations including a major, four-year overhaul beginning in 2015 to meet new federally mandated inspection requirements. Needless to saw it's an irreplaceable part of railroad history in New England.
The locomotive is stored in the roundhouse out of the elements where it had been for almost a year undergoing repairs. It came out under its own power for the first time on December 30. Just three days later, the can caught fire. It had been in the roundhouse undergoing repairs for almost a year. Just three days later a fire broke out in the cab of 7470 early in the morning on January 3.
The fire may have gone unnoticed for some time if it hadn't damaged a spring in the whistle valve. When the spring broke, it released the valve sound the steam whistle. Steam whistles don't usually go off on their own and that got the attention of the steam locomotive mechanic who saw the fire and called 911. If that wasn't fortunate enough, The North Conway Fire Department is right next door to the Conway Scenic and responded quickly to put the fire out.
According to a Facebook post by The Conway Scenic Railroad, there is minor damage to the cab of 7470 and minimal damage to the roundhouse, which is even older than the locomotive, having been built in 1874. Talk about luck!
As the Conway Scenic Railroad said in their Facebook post: "You could write a story: 'The Engine That Saved Itself!'" Does this story count?
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