Chris, that was one of the beauties- the design of the rail car was heavy, so momentum was easily achieved. Pedaling easy, wheels steel and real so you got the wonderful clickety-clack as you rolled. If I could have pedaled home to NH, I would have. Peakbagger, so much would be gained if the rail trail between Gorham and Pondicherry was hardened. The Friends of Pondicherry did a good job (so far) on the popular section from near the airfield in Whitefield. I suggested once to the Trails Bureau district chief in your town, that he should encourage one of his outfits to convert an ATV into some semblance of a Thomas wagon to keep alive a nod to the rail history of the trails and add a tourist interest; he thinks I'm crazy. My billionaire dream would be to run railcarts from Cottage Street in Littleton up to Whitefield for ice cream, then on to Pondicherry.
An update on the Moosehead Ski Resort proposal. The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)is lending the money to rebuild the resort.
This article from a few weeks ago has more details
I dont think any entity has ever made money on actual resort operations on the site despite many who have tried. Its definitely not a ski area that is good for daytrips from urban areas
Over the years FAME has been involved with several high profile failures of major projects. Generally the developers end up skimming some profits off the top before the project goes bellyup. Banks are desperate to make commercial loans these days given very cheap federal fund rates. If a commercial entity is not willing to lend on a good project, it usually means that the when FAME steps in its very risky project.
My guess is Les Otten is wishing the Balsams was a bit west over the Maine state line at this point. He had the same approach using state guaranteed loans for small part of the project and a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to have the potential increase in property taxes pay the bonds. The usual problem with TIFs is that the local services needed to support the facilities are not able to be funded since the property taxes can only be spent within the TIF. Unfortunately The NH version of FAME is far more conservative and wanted to see far more details on the Balsams project than Les was willing to show. Eventually the parties parted company.