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More rail fanning adventures in New Hampshire
Potter Place in Andover, New Hampshire
More rail fanning in New Hampshire
I recently wrote up a summary of all the scenic train attractions in New Hampshire. But that is just the beginning of the rail fanning to be done in the Granite State. Here are some more off the beaten trail type of train attractions for the true rail fan.
These sites are in the Tilton, New Hampshire area right off Route 93. Tilton is know for its Tanger Outlet Stores so if you drop the wife off for a little shopping, you'll have plenty of time to check out the train sites in the area.
A short drive to downtown Tilton from the outlet area you see a curious site. A whole collection of cabooses. These cabooses are all privately owned by a caboose club. The club hooks up the cabooses to an engine in the summer and takes the whole lot of them on weekend trips. Some are even rented out for the weekend.
This "Caboose Train", as its called, official home is in the Tilton freight house where the members pay rent to store the cabooses. Caboose train trips include going down to Concord or up to Lincoln and even stopping at a Christmas tree farm in Asland.
In downtown Franklin there is an amazing site. A standing wooden trestle bridge right downtown running across the raging waters of the Winnepesaukee river.
Franklin was once home to several large mill complexes that took advantage of the hydro power provided by the Winnepesaukee river.
The trestle itself is part of the former Tilton and Franklin railroad division which was a less than five mile route that served as a link between the Winnespesaukee rail division to the east and the Concord to White River Junction, VT to the west. The line was decommissions in 1973 and most of the rails have been removed except for on the trestle. Back in the day, the line served the pulp mills on both sides of the river as well as the JP Stevens woolen mills.
Around the trestle is the start of the Winnepesaukee river trail that heads up from the trestle along the river and eventually connects with the old Tilton and Franklin rail bed. You can walk under the trestle and up to the top, just don't attempt to walk on the trestle.
Another bridge on this right of way is the Sulphite Bridge which is listed on the National Register of Historic places. Its located on half mil east of Franklin Falls and south of U.S. routh 3 over the Winnipesaukee River. Its called the Sulphite Bridge because of all the sulfure transported over the bridge to the large pulp and paper mills. It is also know as the upside down bridge as its a Pratt truss with the trusses underneath. It is the only Pratt Type Truss constructed in the Northeast and the only deck covered railroad bridge left in the United States. In 1980 a fire burned the bridge and while there are plans to restore the bridge nothing has been done recently.
A short drive from Franklin you'll find Potter's Place with its restore train depot and caboose. Potter's Place is the Andover Historical Societies facilities located in the villiage of Potter's Place named for a well known magician/ventriloquiest in the early 19th century. Richard Potter's homestead and grave site is part of the site.
The location includes a well-preserved Central Vermont CV-4030 caboose built in the early 1900s, the train station and the Potter Place freight house as well as the J.C. Emons Store and Potter Place Post office. All the building have a grand collection of artifacts from the olden days.
This is also a great place to get on the Northern Rail trail a multi use recreation trail on the right of way of the Northern Railway. The Northern Railway was built in 1847 and acquired by the Boston and Main Railroad in 1887. Passenger service went until 1965 and freight until the early 1970s. In 1996 the State of New Hampshire purchased the right of way and it is now operated by the New Hampshire Trails Bureau. The trail connects Lebanon to Concord although various sections are in different condition.
Caboose Train Tilton
- Andover Historical Society
The Andover Historical Society was established to preserve the history of Andover through the acquisition and conservation of property, artifacts and stories, and to foster an awareness and appreciation for that history within the community.
- Map of New Hampshire Rail Trails
Recreation trails in New Hampshire.