Wow, hope it finds a home it can be fully restored by. BTW does anyone know what happened to the Mark Twain Zephyr? It was being restored by a private group but last I heard they were having a very hard time of it, that was pre-pandemic.
The short story…
The train will likely be heading back to North Conway under non-profit ownership and may actually run on Conway Scenic in the future.
Longer story…(Maybe Don Sweet can correct me in places, but this is my understanding)
Owner of Storyland theme park near North Conway buys FY around 1992 for $1 and brings up there to restore and run on recently available state owned MEC track through White Mtn National forest. State denies track use to FY in favor of the nearby already estaished Conway Scenic RR. Owner of Storyland passes away and son takes on project with a formal restoration group. Train is brought to Claremont Concord RR for tons of great restoration work. Mid-way, trouble begins…The prime mover is found to be unsuitable, goals of high-speed restoration becomes less viable, and operating location becomes uncertain. Train is brought to HOBO railroad in Lincoln NH for final restoration, but fundraising struggles. Somewhere along the line, I think at the delivery to Lincoln, the ownership of the train was transferred to NH for $1 to protect it for its historic value. This may have hampered restoration efforts as the State involvement required putting any work done out to bid. May have also limited volunteer work as well? Anyways, after years of pause, the refreshed FY group approached the state to request the release of the train from state control in hopes it may allow successful restoration to continue. The price tag is again $1, but bidders must have a plan which ideally keeps the train in NH and seems most likely to be successful. The FY Resto. Association seems to have the best plan, but others have til January to submit completing plans. The new owners at Conway Scenic are open to hosting the train under FYRA ownership, which is ideal since they have existing wye tracks on either end of the Crawford Notch line which are needed to turn the train. CSRR has a similar agreement with the 470 Club which owns operating B&M F7 diesels and freight cars which the railroad is able to use.
I remember seeing the Flying Yankee at Edaville RR when I was a kid, and even thought then it would be cool if someone would restore it and use it for tourist runs. Hope this ends up happening.
Thanks for the back story Jeff.