Steamscape: The Great Gulf and the Homestretch. On a late afternoon trip, MWRC #2 "Ammonoosuc" transits the Homestretch Flats en route to the summit of Mt. Washington, with the 3,000 ft. deep "Great Gulf" canyon as a backdrop. In this location, the train is about 5-7 minutes from its arrival. Despite carrying the name "Homestretch Flats", this part of the line is hardly flat. In fact, unless you're in good physical shape, hiking it uphill will kick your butt. We're at well over 5,500 MSL here, and the grade is still well in excess of anything a rod engine can handle.
The strips of wood that you see lying beside the trestle are timbers that have been recently removed during the railroad's conversion from 25 lb rail to 100 lb rail. The former rails were so short, that they required wooden beams under them to bring the rails up high enough so that the cogwheels on the train would engage the rack properly. With the introduction of 100 lb rail, the web of the rails is sufficiently high that the wooden supports are no longer needed and thus have been removed. All of that debris you see will be removed by the railroad when the track replacement project is complete. The railroad has a mechanical arm which mounts on a flat car and features a big claw, which can retrieve debris and pile it on the train for transport down the mountain.