Friday, November 11, 2016

A Visit To Vermont

Amtrak; West Rutland, Vt.; September 9, 2016
Vermont is a really neat state for railroading. Amtrak serves both sides of the state with the Vermonter going up the west side and the Ethan Allen Express serving Rutland on the east side. There are a few shortlines, including Vermont Rail System (Vermont Railway and Green Mountain Railroad) and Genesee & Wyoming's New England Central. And each year railroading is celebrated in White River Junction at the Glory Days of the Railroad.

It was the Glory Days celebration that got me to Vermont (and some close-by neighboring areas) back in September. First, we paused in New York just west of the Vermont state line to see the Ethan Allen Express making its station stop at Saratoga Springs on a gloomy day. Storms would shortly move in. This train had left Rutland earlier in that morning.
Amtrak; Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; September 8, 2016
The train's counterpart, the northbound Ethan Allen Express, made its way into Vermont after dark. The train turns east off the former Delaware & Hudson (now Canadian Pacific) at Whitehall, N.Y. It passes through Fairview, Vt., which was at one time an Amtrak stop (below). The station structure there was never used by Amtrak; a plastic bubble served that purpose. All that's left of the Amtrak station in a green sign with Amtrak's "pointless arrow." The train would turn back the next morning, heading back to Whitehall and ultimately New York City (top photo in this post).
Amtrak; Fairview, Vt.; September 8, 2016
Once Amtrak is out of the way in Rutland, Vermont Rail System sends a freight out from Rutland to Whitehall. On this particular evening a leaser locomotive that obviously worked recently for the Natchez Railway led the way at the Green Mountain Baptist Church at Center Rutland.
Vermont Rail System; Center Rutland, Vt.; September 8, 2016
Vermont Rail System; Cuttingsville, Vt.

The next day Vermont Rail System sent two trains south from Rutland. The first was destined to cover the Green Mountain Railroad side of the system, heading to Bellows Falls. The second was destined for North Bennington, where it would interchange with Pan Am Railways. Our first catch was of the Bellows Falls-bound train crossing Cuttingsville Trestle.

The train to North Bennington was led by SD70M-2 No. 432, which had been purchased by VRS from Florida East Coast. The locomotive had been pressed into service still wearing its FEC blue and yellow paint. Alas, Pan Am Railways couldn't make the grade out of Hoosick Junction, N.Y., to get to North Bennington for the interchange, so the VRS train had to head south to Hoosick Junction to get its cars. The train crossed the Walloomsac River at North Hoosick on its way there.
Vermont Rail System; North Hoosick, N.Y.; September 9, 2016
With its interchange cars in tow, the train returned back to North Bennington and ultimately on to Rutland. Once again, it crossed the Walloomsac River, this time near the small village of Walloomsac.
Vermont Rail System; Walloomsac, N.Y.; September 9, 2016
At White River Junction, preparations were being made for the next day's event. That evening, a New England Central train headed south. Trains going south from White River Junction to Bellows Falls have to cross into New Hampshire for a short distance. The New England Central train met a Pan Am Railways train heading north at Charlestown, N.H., just north of Bellows Falls (and once again, just a short distance from the Vermont border).
Pan Am Railways; Charlestown, N.H.; September 9, 2016
As part of the Glory Days celebration, Vermont Rail System ran a murder-mystery train from White River Junction north to Fairlee, Vt. Just south of Fairlee is the former Boston & Maine station at Ely, restored and owned by Frank Barrett. He posed one of his antique automobiles at the grade crossing just north of his station as the murder-mystery train returned. Rumor has it the butler did it.
Vermont Rail System; Ely, Vt.; September 10, 2016
Finally, a night photo session wrapped up Glory Days of the Railroad. The session was coordinated by Kevin Burkholder. Two of the Pan Am locomotives that came up on the previous evening's train were on hand to pose by the Vermont Rail System yard office to cap off Glory Days and our visit to Vermont and the surrounding area.
Pan Am Railways; White River Junction, Vt.; September 10, 2016

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