Not a history lesson but still a project that I think is a cause for concern. Thanks to statewide advertising and what I'll term social networking the Flying Yankee train restoration project appears to be moving forward, whether this is good or bad is something that remains.
The Flying Yankee train in its day was a state of the art stainless steel train that used to run at high speeds across New England in the and most notably to the resort areas in northern New Hampshire. The train was phased out after World War II due to the increasing and competitive role of the automobile in transportation. The train sat rusting and languishing at the Edaville Railroad in Carver, Mass. for many years until it was purchased by the owner of Story Land in Glen, NH. And here is where this story begins...
The train is now NH State Property. After being sold to the state I think for a $1 the train is undergoing a multi million restoration and it now sits at the shops at the Hobo Railroad in Lincoln, New Hampshire. Its my understanding that this train needs about $2.5 million dollars of further work to make it suitable to run across the rails again. To date, I haven't seen any charitable or historical groups come forward with funds for this project. Last winter when I met with Executive Councilor Ray Burton he briefly discussed the project and stated that his office had requested NH DOT Commissioner George Campbell seek some funds for the restoration of this train. At the time I was more interested in the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad rehabilitation project and didn't attempt to find out what the rationale might be for using taxpayer funds to finance the restoration of the Flying Yankee train.
I'd question whether there is any real rationale for using NH taxpayer funds to save this train. I'd question whether the train is suitable for commuter rail service between Boston and Concord (assuming this project moves forward). So what could this train be used for?
The only real ideas that I could see which might be viable are to move the train up to the Conway Scenic Railroad and run it through the state owned Crawford Notch line as part of this tourism attraction. I've also heard of an idea to give culinary arts students at the NH tech schools the opportunity to provide food service on this train. These are certainly ideas worth considering; it would be better than Amtrak for sure!
But I still don't think this is worth $2.5 million dollars.