Passing Bartlett Roundhouse. The Conway Scenic Railroad's annual winter excursion for the Mass Bay Railroad Enthusiasts organization chugs eastbound past the old Bartlett Roundhouse, as it approaches the center of town. Also visible in this scene are a 1923-vintage Portland Terminal Russell Snow Plow, and an outside frame, wooden box car, both of which are restoration projects.
Built in the late 1880s by the Portland & Ogdensburg Railroad, this roundhouse was a busy terminal for helper engines, which were used to push heavy freights over the grades through Crawford Notch, just a few miles to the north. Originally built with 6 stalls, this all-wood complex also featured a 17,500 gallon water tank to service the steam engines. The P&O eventually became part of the Maine Central Railroad. Amazingly, this roundhouse continued in service into the 1950s, although two of the stalls were eliminated along the way. When the steam era ended, the building became a salt storage facility for the state, but it was never properly maintained and slowly decayed to the point where it was nearly falling down. In 2008, The Bartlett Roundhouse Preservation Society was formed with the intention of restoring the facility and preserving it for future generations to enjoy as a historically significant structure. Slowly but surely, the group has been working on the building. You can't see it in this view, but the entire north wall of the building has been rebuilt and really looks quite nice. There is still a lot to do, and the group could really use some help. Membership is only $10.00 per year. If you're looking for a good cause that could use a few bucks, please consider these folks.