All Aboard!

Have you ever dreamed of operating a steam engine? If so, then today is your lucky day, my friend.

This summer, Loon is hosting a Guest Engineer Program, a once-a-month class that gives train lovers the opportunity to conduct a 79-year-old narrow-gauge steam engine.

I bet your ski resort doesn't have a railroad.
Betcha your ski resort doesn’t have a railroad.

If you’ve visited us during the winter, you know about the J.E. Henry Railroad, the small train that shuttles skiers and riders the 600 feet between the Governor’s Lodge and the Octagon Lodge. The train, a German-built 0-4-0T engine, is similar to the narrow gauge logging trains that ran through New Hampshire’s White Mountains more than a century ago. It’s sort of a huffing, puffing connection to that past.

The furnace that powers Loon's steam engine eats through 50-60 cord of wood every winter.
The furnace that powers Loon’s steam engine eats through 50-60 cord of wood every winter.

This summer, the Guest Engineer Program will be offered one day each month from July through October:  July 12, August 2, September 6 and October 4. Each session will run for six hours and include a primer on the basics of steam operation, safety, a brief history of the locomotive, a close-up look at the engine, start-up/close down procedures, and the opportunity for each participant to operate the engine.

Byron O'Donnell, head conductor on the J.E. Henry Railroad.
Byron O’Donnell, head conductor on the J.E. Henry Railroad.

Space is limited and the program cost is $100 per person, including lunch. Participants must be at least 18 years old and dress in long pants, long-sleeved shirt, boots, and work gloves. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Loon Mountain at (603) 745-8111 or 800-229-LOON (5666).

For more information about the Loon Mountain Guest Engineer Program, visit http://www.loonmtn.com/info/summer/engineer.aspx. Be sure to sign up today!

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