My first job was teaching
at a small and now closed independent school, the Woodstock
School, in South Woodstock, Vermont. I didn't get in much train riding,
but did have the opportunity to catch some nearby Boston and Maine,
Vermont, and Canadian Pacific action in the White River Junction area
much of which was on its last legs. I didn't return with a camera for
years. What I found was the same pretty town and classic station. There
was no longer service to Boston or to Montreal, but Amtrak' s
Vermonter picked up a lot of people who enjoyed a sunny day, and chairs
put out for them by an accomodating station manager.
Here's B&M RDC running ast CP #32 from Montreal
Thetford on its way to White River and Boston on a golden late autumn
in 1964. It would be gone forever in two months. Of all the railroad
I've taken, this is my favorite.
Here the Ambassador arrives in South Royalton, Vt., just a few miles up the line from White River Junction on Central Vermont Railway tracks. .
Our final photos are from further down the line. The first shows Boston and Maine RDC's outside Boston's North Station in 1981. Service from Boston to White River Junction had ended long before that, but the scene reminds us of what the last days of that company's few runs to Northern New England looked like at their origin.
Finally a photo of the Vermonter taken in January 2005. It was a
frigid Sunday in Palmer, Massachusetts, and a hearty group of rail
photographers had gathered at a favorite site for capturing Amtrak
trains in Central Massachustts. The Vermonter pulls into Palmer (there
is no station there) and then the engine on the rear takes over and
heads the 'push-pull' train back out in the direction of
Amherst and the Connecticut River
Valley -- part of its Guildford-caused detour from Springfield, a
detour that adds at least an hour to an already leisurely
There's no longer a Boston and Maine Railroad (and much ot it is run by the anti-passenger Guildford, which lost its battle to further delay Downeaster service between Boston and Portland), the Central Vermont is no more, the Canadian Pacific carries freight only, and there is no longer service through Vermont to Canada -- bus connections only. We caught the action of multiple trains arriving and departing from White River in their waning days. There is always talk of improving service, maybe opening the line between Boston and White River again. But the truth of the matter is that in these difficult times even the Vermonter is hanging on thanks to state subsidy, watching the quality of its service hacked away -- today the baggage car, used by skiiers and bike riders, and station agent are gone, what will it be tomorrow?
This page was published initially in September 2002.