Promoting The State, Part II

So today I received my ticket to the "Ray Burton Railroad Promotion Marketing Day." for this Saturday running from Meredith to Plymouth. Hopefully the weather will be good.

In any case, this event with political overtones serves to highlight and promote this state owned railroad line from Concord to Lincoln; a majority of which just so happens to be in Executive Council District #1.

A brief history lesson: The rail line was constructed in the late 1800s as the White Mountains Branch of the Boston, Concord & Montreal Railroad rail was once an integral part of the economy. Time moved on and the B,C & M was merged into the Boston & Maine Railroad and this line mainly served the passenger markets and the paper, textile industries in places like Laconia, Tilton, Plymouth and Lincoln. World War II ended in came I-93 and competition from cars and trucks. The Boston & Maine initially declared bankruptcy in 1962 and then again in 1970, when it was reorganized and run by court trustees instead of an actual company, for profit.

A major component of the B&M reorganization was the selling of assets: rail lines, equipment, real estate, etc. So in 1972 the State of New Hampshire ended up purchasing this line, by then facing years of deferred maintenance and not many customers.

So today the Concord to Lincoln rail line primarilly serves tourist(s) and a few small freight customers like lumber yards or propane distributors. The interesting thing here is that the state is still able to maintain the length of rail line (capital cost) and the two rail operators are still able to generate a profit. This is a public-private partnership that really works!

Each year Executive Councilor Ray Burton hosts this train to highlight what the state and the rail operators are doing on this historic railroad line. I'll be looking forward to reporting on what happens on Saturday.