Hardy pioneers began settling the White Mountains more than two centuries ago, carving out livelihoods in the valleys and forging a unique brand of hospitality that continues today.
As the world began to learn of the wonders of the region through the dispatches of intrepid reporters, railroads began to push further north to bring visitors yearning to see and experience for themselves these tales. As well as bringing guests to the many hotels in the region, railroads also helped New England meet the demand for timber to build cities and commerce.
Today, three railroads ply historic and storied tracks taking riders along rivers, through a notch and up the slopes of the tallest mountain in the Northeast. On your visit to the White Mountains, experience the thrill of a train ride. Be sure to check their Thanksgiving and Christmas season schedule for holiday excursions. All aboard!
The Valley Train, with its vintage passenger cars, departs from the station for rides to Conway (55 minutes) or Bartlett (1:45 hours) and back again. For a memorable experience, plan to enjoy lunch or dinner on the dining car Chocorua. (Check the schedule for information.)
The Notch Train is an rail adventure, departing North Conway and heading up into Crawford Notch. The tracks were laid back in the 1870s and became Maine Central Railroad’s Mountain Division line. Along the way to Crawford Depot and Fabyan’s station, you’ll see what travelers through the ages have seen - magnificent scenery, while crossing over the engineering marvels of the Frankenstein trestle and the Willey Brook bridge. Throughout the leisurely ride, you’ll hear all about the history and families that shaped this rugged corner of New Hampshire. Be sure the check the schedule for times.
Hobo Railroad" href="http://www.hoborr.com" target="_blank"> The Hobo Railroad
The roots of the Hobo Railroad go back to 1880s, when the Pemigewasset Valley Railroad was built, connecting Plymouth to the frontier towns of Lincoln and Woodstock. The line was revived in 1986 by Edward and Brenda Clark and today, passengers enjoy a pleasant 15-mile, 80 minute excursion that hugs the banks of the Pemigewasset River. Kids will love the Hobo picnic lunches and everyone enjoys ice cream!
The Mount Washington Cog Railway
On July 3, 1869, a curiously tilted locomotive named Old Peppersass made history when it reached the summit of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the Northeast. The Cog, as it is affectionately called, became the first mountain-climbing railroad using a toothed cogwheel engaging the rack between the rails.
Over the course of its 147 years, the Cog has brought millions of visitors and train aficionados from around the world to the rooftop of New Hampshire. At the summit, explore the unique community of scientists at the Mount Washington Observatory and park rangers, hikers and visitors at Mount Washington State Park.
A steam engine runs up the tracks each morning, while innovative bio-diesel locomotives carry passengers the rest of the day.
Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train
Following the tracks of the Hobo Railroad, the Cafe Lafayette dinner train is an elegant way to witness the fall foliage in the White Mountains. Indulge in a five-course meal as you spend two hours traveling along the Pemigewasset River.