Green Mountain RR - Rutland to Smithville Photo Freight
Adventurers in New England
Green Mountain Railroad
- Rutland to Smithville Photo Freight
Text and Photos by Author
June 14, 2015
Our first morning in Vermont began shortly
after 6:00 AM as we headed for the Day's Inn breakfast room; a
cozy room with windows overlooking the front yard. There were the
usual breakfast fixings to be had. The most popular spot was the
do-it-yourself waffle iron. Of course, I had to make myself one.
That and some juice, yogurt and coffee made for my breakfast.
After breakfast, Chris and I drove to the
meeting place to board our train today. We arrived at 6:30 AM and
met with several early arrivals. Shuttle buses starting running
from the hotel at 6:00AM. Our train will depart Howe Center at
Rutland at 7:00 AM.
Visiting and waiting for the train.
The mansard roof style is popular in the area.
MP 52.48 Rutland - This
location is the current Amtrak station in Rutland, based upon the
mileposts of the Bellows Falls Subdivision.
MP 52.0 Howe Scale
Avenue - This was the main entrance to the Howe Scale industrial
The Howe Scale company moved to Rutland at the
encouragement of J. B. Page, former Vermont governor and a
director of the Rutland & Burlington Railroad. Page was a
partner of Nathan T. Sprague, Jr., owner of the Sampson Scale
Company, the manufacturer of Howe Scales. After the firm's plant
burned down, the company moved much of its manufacturing to this
location in 1876. The scale factory was built using the name of
Howe Scales. The plant was very successful, and eventually became
the Howe Richardson Scale Works, once the largest platform scale
manufacturers in the world. At its peak, Howe operated three
shifts around the clock, producing up to four million pounds of
castings annually and shipping tens of millions of dollars' worth
of finished goods, making it the second largest industrial scale
maker in the world.
After the facility closed in 1982, it
eventually became the Howe Center, an 18-acre mixed use industrial
complex.Howe Center includes 24 buildings and over 300,000 square
feet of leasable space. Reports indicate that there are more than
75 different tenants with uses covering the gamut from one-room
offices to large manufacturers.
Our train ride for today. #405 is the sister of
#401 which pulled us in Kingston yesterday.
The freight cars are empties which will be drop off in Smithville,
VT and we will return with just the passenger cars.
Shortly we will be boarding.
While waiting to board, one of the attendees gave a demonstration
of his toy. Cool.
In front of the Howe Center looking down Stongs Ave in Rutland, VT
At 7 AM it was time to board our train and depart.
First Photo Runby
49.80 Cold River Bridge - This single span
through truss bridge was built in 1902 and measures 135' 6"
ALCO 79575 build date 12/51
Second Photo Runby
39.49 East Wallingford -
A former Rutland Railroad section house, built
in 1877, has been restored and moved up the tracks about 150
feet to a new location on private property, now part of the
Wallingford Historical Society.
Train crossing Vermont 140.
Vermont 140 approaching junction VT 155 at railroad crossing.
Third Photo Runby
29.74 Okemo Mountain Resort - To the
west is Okemo Mountain. The base of the mountain is at 1,150
feet while the summit is 3,344 feet above sea level. This
gives the ski resorts on the mountain the largest vertical
drop in southern Vermont at 2,200 feet. There are a number
of resort complexes serving the 119 ski trails.
Okemo Mountain Resort was founded in 1955
by a group of local businessmen, with operations officially
beginning on January 31, 1956. The first slopeside lodging
opened in1961. Facing bankruptcy, the resort was sold to Tim
and Dianne Mueller in 1982. Since then, the resort has been
expanded greatly, and the Muellers have also acquired Mount
Sunapee Resort in Newbury, New Hampshire, and Mount Crested
Butte in Crested Butte, Colorado. In 2008, the Muellers sold
their resorts in a lease-back deal valued at over 130
million dollars to CNL Lifestyle Properties.
This area features the Jackson Gore Inn
lodging facility, one of the smaller on the mountain. There
are several artificial tunnels and hillsides used to allow
skiers to pass safely over the railroad on both the ski
trails and a chair lift. For those not from the area, the
word "gore" is defined as a "small, usually triangular
parcel of land formed by the failures of boundaries to be
closed in town surveys." The Jackson area was created from
one of these gores, and then expanded over the years.
Flying disc golf target.
Jackson Gore Inn.
Happy riders await the next photo stop.
27.20 Ludlow - In 1949,
Ludlow was shown to have a 59-car siding, and was also
listed as being a water station. Today, there is a
siding to the north measuring 1800 feet long. The
former former Rutland Railroad depot, built in 1887,
still stands, although its second story is gone after
and early fire. The station is located just east of
the bridge over Depot Street, and was restored as a
part of the 1977 Vermont Bicentennial celebration. The
station was built with two waiting rooms, one for men
on the south end and another one for ladies on the
north end. The station is at an elevation of 1080
Today, much of the economic
activity at Ludlow relates to the nearby Okemo
Mountain Resort, a winter and summer mountain resort.
Car #1317. The car I was riding today.
Coach #1317 is a part of the commuter car order from
Pressed Steel Car Company, but a car with an
interesting history. #1317 was rebuilt with a
control cab on one end to allow push-pull
operations. The car bought by Green Mountain in
October 1984, and arrived at GMRC with the ends
sealed. The end has been opened up and had train
doors added for mid-train use. Today, the cab
control still works and the car seats 72 in walkover
Waiting for runby to commence.
Next door neighbor.
After uncoupling the passenger cars, the
empty freight cars are dropped off at MP 25.47
Smithville - at the Imerys Talc America facility.
Afterwards, 405 ran around the passengers cars and was
now heading in opposite direction. The front became
Depot Road Bridge.
After coupling up the passenger cars,
we begin our return trip back to Rutland.
Our final photo
runby was held here in front of the fire house.
For this runby I decided to stay on the train to
view and get a different prospective of the runby.
We arrived on time as scheduled
at 3 PM.
Another good day spent on a great train
adventure. But the day is not finished by a long