Lincoln, NH – In a week where the Transcontinental Railroad celebrated its 150th Anniversary, an Excursion Railroad Economic Impact Analysis was released by Stone Consulting, Inc. of Warren, PA. The study, commissioned by the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, highlights the significance of the heritage based tourist attraction for jobs creation and economic development regionally. The Railroad, which operates excursions from Lincoln, Meredith & Weirs Beach, New Hampshire, accounts for more than $17.4 million dollars in total economic impact annually, and affects the equivalent of nearly 380 full and part time jobs in the restaurant, lodging, hospitality and retail sectors.
Since assuming operations over portions of the State-owned Concord-Lincoln Line, the Railroad has welcomed over 2.1 million guests from around the world. Research performed by Stone Consulting, Inc., concluded that last year, 61% of the Railroad’s passengers travelled from outside of New Hampshire, resulting in $8.8 million dollars in additional spending while visiting. Additionally, 44% of the Railroad’s guests incorporated an overnight stay as part of their trip itinerary, which accounted for approximately $4.4 million dollars of economic benefit to local lodging establishments. The research also showed that more than 50% of the Railroad’s guests spent at least $100 or more during their visit (in addition to their train tickets), while 25% spent more than $200 per day (in addition to their train tickets) while visiting the region.
In conjunction with the Railroad’s excursion trains which operate from May through December each year, the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad actively caters to group tours traveling to New Hampshire from across the country. In 2018 alone, the Railroad welcomed more than 260 bus tours, which accounted for nearly 12,000 additional guests to the region. Of these groups, more than 50% stayed overnight after enjoying spectacular views of New Hampshire’s lakes, rivers and mountains from the comfort of restored vintage trains.
“As a result of this study, it’s clear the Railroad serves as an anchor tourist attraction, benefiting the regional economy of New Hampshire’s Lakes and White Mountains, and is a significant employer, directly providing jobs to 68 full and part time area residents last year”, stated Benjamin Clark, Vice President of the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad.
Each year, the Railroad pays a “user fee” to the State of New Hampshire, as track owner, totaling approximately $100,000 - a portion of which is returned to the local communities along the line. Furthermore, the Railroad typically invests an additional $150,000 annually in the form of maintenance contributions, to help preserve rail service over the 55.2-mile corridor through central and northern New Hampshire.
The report also highlighted that in 2018, the Hobo & Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad conducted business with over 365 various vendors, 203 of which were based in New Hampshire. Furthermore, the Railroad provided donations to 64 non-profit and community-based organizations, serving cities and towns bordering the Railroad in the Lakes and White Mountain Regions of central and northern New Hampshire.
“We’re proud to continue the tradition of railroading in the Lakes Region and White Mountains of New Hampshire that dates back to 1848 – more than 20 years prior to the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad”, stated Clark. “This historic rail line has been a part of the economic and social fabric of the region for generations and, as indicated by this study, is well-poised to continue making positive contributions to the region well into the future.”