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Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club, Inc.

About Our Organization


The Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club, Inc. began in the summer of 1992 when a group of New England rail car owners joined with a group of local railroad enthusiasts in Wolfeboro, NH. Together they obtained permission from the State of New Hampshire to operate rail cars and to maintain the former Wolfeboro Railroad including structures. The club also refurbished the former Fernald Station (Map), which is now used as the Club’s meeting place.

This collection of railway motor car enthusiasts and volunteers have joined together to preserve railroad property and equipment relating to the use of railway motorcars and have kept alive the skills and experiences of the railroad workers who once used these vehicles in maintaining railroad lines around the world.

The Club currently maintains 17 miles of rail owned by the State of New Hampshire. The two rail-lines are the Wolfeboro-Sanbornville, NH branch line, no longer used by the railroad and known as the Cotton Valley Trail, and a portion of the Ossipee Branch between Rt. 28 and Rt.16.

In September 2014, the Club became a NARCOA Affiliate.


Railway motor cars are small four wheeled motorized vehicles designated to ride on railroad tracks. They were used by railroad employees to perform various maintenance tasks on the railroad property, such as track work, bridge inspection, and signal repair. They evolved from human powered pump cars in the early 1900s and were eventually replaced in the 1960s by hy-rail vehicles (pickup trucks with small railroad wheels). Railcars were manufactured by several corporations during their heydey. Cars manufactured by the Fairmont Railway Motor company are the most common today.

The Hobby

Hobbyists sometimes search for old railcars to refurbish. Once a motorcar is located, they either repair them to running condition or restore the cars to their original production floor condition. CVRTC members enjoy all facets of this hobby, from helping each other find railcars to lending a hand in restoring the cars and then running them.

National Organization

The North American Rail Car Operators Association (NARCOA) is a national organization which encourages safe and responsible operations in Canada, Mexico and the USA, by providing safety rules, operator certification, etc. NARCOA members become certified operators by studying the NARCOA operator's safety manual and by passing a written test administered by NARCOA. The Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club is a NARCOA affiliate, and some members do belong to both organizations.


CVRTC members regularly operate their motor cars on the Wolfeboro to Sanbornville, NH rail line. CVRTC operates from Fernald Station. The station is located approximately 3 miles East of downtown Wolfeboro, NH on Route 109.


Trespassing is both illegal and dangerous. All railroads are private property. Do not operate on any track without explicit permission from the railroad owner. CVRTC will assist all local, state and federal authorities in prosecuting any motorcar operator found trespassing.


Railroads are inherently unsafe places. Club members strive to operate in a safe fashion and encourage others to do the same. CVRTC supports all railroad and law enforcement organizations in the effort to prevent unauthorized motor car use.

Visit the CVRTC Safety Page for more information on safe motorcar operation.


CVRTC welcomes novices who are just learning about the hobby. If this hobby sounds interesting to you, please contact one of the following CVRTC officials...


To join CVRTC, Print the form on the Membership page.

©2003 Cotton Valley Rail Trail Club, Inc.