St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad

The St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad (StJ&LC) was a railroad located in northern Vermont. It provided service to rural parts of the state for over a century, until track deterioration and flood damage made the line unusable and uneconomical to repair, which forced the line to close in 1995. Vermont is in the process of converting the roughly 96-mile route from St. Johnsbury to Swanton into a rail trail, known as the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. Once completed it will be the longest rail trail in New England.[1]

St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad
Overview
Reporting markSJL
LocaleVermont
Dates of operation1948 (1948)–1995 (1995)
PredecessorsOgdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad,
St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad
SuccessorLamoille Valley Rail Trail
Technical
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length193.7 miles (311.7 km)
Route map

mi
193.7
Maquam
96.10
Swanton
94.73
East Swanton
Central Vermont Railway
to Fonda Junction│to Saint-Jean
90.91
Highgate
87.40
East Highgate
84.56
Sheldon Junction
83.05
Sheldon
78.44
Fairfield
74.24
East Fairfield
68.81
Fletcher
Jeffersonville
64.26
Cambridge Junction
East Cambridge
56.35
Johnson
51.56
Hyde Park
48.88
Morrisville
41.03
Wolcott
Granite Junction
34.73
Hardwick
East Hardwick
27.80
Greensboro
23.87
Dows Crossing
67.10
Walden
16.40
Joe’s Pond
14.85
West Danville
11.48
Danville
0.00
St. Johnsbury
Union Station
mi

HistoryEdit

The railroad began construction in December 1869 as part of the Vermont Division of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railway to connect the Great Lakes with the seaport of Portland, Maine. It would be completed on July 17, 1877 with Governor Horace Fairbanks driving in the silver spike in Fletcher. Although the railroad had plans on expansion to Lake Ontario, the line originally ended at Swanton. The Vermont Division was extended to Rouses Point in 1883, allowing it to connect to the Ogdensburg and Lake Champlain Railroad and provide a direct connection to the Great Lakes.[1]

The eastern end of the Vermont Division was leased to the Maine Central Railroad in 1912, and the remainder of the line became a subsidiary of the Boston and Maine Railroad. The Boston & Maine operated their segment as the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad after 1925. This segment was reorganized as the St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad in 1948.[2]

Freight traffic was 30% inbound commodities, 20% outbound dairy products to Boston, 15% outbound forest products, and 25% outbound limestone, talc and asbestos. The remaining 10% was bridge line traffic (westbound paper and eastbound feed) for the Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division. Six 70-ton General Electric Diesel locomotives replaced steam locomotives.[when?] Passenger service ended in 1956. Trucks had taken all of the milk traffic by 1961, but bridge line traffic had increased six-fold following the 1953 dissolution of Maine Central's joint operating agreement with Boston and Maine Railroad. Light-duty rail and covered bridges prevented the line from accepting new heavier "incentive" freight car loadings. The covered bridges were replaced or reinforced so worn out light diesel locomotives could be replaced by larger locomotives; but track conditions deteriorated under the heavier loads.[3]

The State of Vermont purchased the line from Samuel Pinsly in 1973. The line was then operated by Morrison-Knudsen as the Vermont Northern Railroad for a time. In 1978, local shippers took over the operation and it became the Lamoille Valley Railroad. In 1989, the line was leased to a Florida company and was operated by them until major flooding in 1995 and 1997 damaged the line so much that it was not profitable to repair the track. In 2002, the state of Vermont started converting the 96-mile route into a recreational trail and created the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, under a railbanking arrangement.

Rail trailEdit

The State of Vermont created the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail Committee in 1997 to begin the conversion of the old route into a recreational trail. In 2002 the federal Surface Transportation Board allowed the decommissioning of the old right of way into a trail, with then representative Bernie Sanders earmarking over $5 million in federal funding for its construction. Work began in 2006, with work slowly progressing with funding availability and the labor-intensive rehabilitation of old stone supports and bridges.[1] As of 2020 two disconnected sections have been constructed; one 15 miles long from downtown St. Johnsbury to Joe's Pond in West Danville , and the second 17 miles from Cambridge to Morrisville tracing the course of the Lamoille River.[4]

Route and Station listingEdit

Milepost Town / City Station Image Note Position
0.0 St. Johnsbury St. Johnsbury   Interchange with Maine Central Railroad and Canadian Pacific Railway.[5]
1.4 Fairbanks Scales factory[5]
11.48 Danville Danville[5]
14.85 West Danville
16.30 Joe's Pond
19.7 Walden Walden[6]
23.87 Dow
27.80 Greensboro Greensboro[6]   In the village of Greensboro Bend, so named for the large arc of the track as it turned south to follow the Lamoille River.
31.0 Hardwick East Hardwick
34.73 Hardwick 98-foot covered bridge built 1909 over the Lamoille River burned 1959.[7]
35.7 Granite Junction Junction with Hardwick and Woodbury Railroad.
39.0 Wolcott Fisher Covered Railroad Bridge   Preserved 90-foot bridge built in 1908 over the Lamoille River. It was strengthened in 1968 to be the last covered railroad bridge in service.[8]
120-foot covered bridge built 1909 over the Lamoille River. Replaced by Baltimore Truss steel bridge about 1917[8]
41.03 Wolcott
48.88 Morrisville Morrisville[9]
51.56 Hyde Park Hyde Park
56.35 Johnson Johnson  
64.26 Cambridge Cambridge Junction Junction with Central Vermont Railroad. 113-foot covered bridge built 1899 over the Lamoille River replaced by steel bridge about 1968.[7]
68.81 Fletcher Fletcher
74.24 Fairfield East Fairfield
78.44 Fairfield[10]
83.05 Sheldon Sheldon[10]
84.56 Sheldon Junction Junction with the Missisquoi Railroad line[10]
87.40 Highgate East Highgate
90.91 Highgate[10]
94.73 Swanton East Swanton
Swanton Covered Railroad Bridge   Three-span 369-foot covered bridge over the Missisquoi River built in 1898 was on the main line between East Swanton and Swanton. It was preserved by routing StJ&LC trains over the Central Vermont Railroad.[11]
96.10 Swanton Station now houses Swanton Historical Society
Fonda Junction Swanton Lime Works and interchange with Central Vermont Railroad[10]

LocomotivesEdit

Number Builder Type Date Works number Notes
11 Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-0 1909 33394 ex-Montpelier and Wells River Railroad #11 purchased 1926[12]
21 ALCO Manchester 0-6-0 1909 46339 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #286 purchased 1947 scrapped 1949[12]
22 ALCO Manchester 0-6-0 1909 46338 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #285 then Montpelier and Wells River Railroad 2nd #11 purchased 1944[12]
23 ALCO Manchester 0-6-0 1908 45125 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #272 then Montpelier and Wells River Railroad 2nd #9 purchased 1940 sold 1944[12]
24 ALCO Manchester 0-6-0 1908 45131 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #278 purchased 1930 scrapped 1949[12]
25 ALCO Manchester 0-6-0 1908 45118 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #265 purchased 1929 scrapped 1941[12]
26 ALCO Manchester 2-6-0 1906 38990 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #1419 purchased 1929[12]
1st #27 ALCO Manchester 2-6-0 1910 47629 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #1485 purchased 1929[12]
2nd #27 Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 1923 56033 ex-McKeesport Connecting Railroad #27 purchased 1949 scrapped 1955[12]
28 ALCO Manchester 2-6-0 1910 48961 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #1491 purchased 1929[12]
30 Baldwin Locomotive Works 0-6-0 1924 38990 ex-McKeesport Connecting Railroad #30 purchased 1949 scrapped 1953[12]
31 Schenectady Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1899 5171 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2040 purchased 1929[12]
32 Schenectady Locomotive Works 4-6-0 1898 4714 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2035 purchased 1930[12]
33 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1901 25052 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2350 purchased 1930 wrecked 1944[12]
34 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1911 49001 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2421 purchased 1930[12]
35 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1911 49007 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2427 purchased 1930 scrapped 1938[12]
36 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1910 47648 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2404 purchased 1932 scrapped 1949[12]
37 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1911 49005 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2425 purchased 1932[12]
38 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1902 25073 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2357 purchased 1934 wrecked 1944[12]
39 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1902 25072 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2356 purchased 1936[12]
40 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1911 49000 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2420 then Montpelier and Wells River Railroad #18 purchased 1939[12]
41 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1907 42843 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2388 purchased 1946 scrapped 1948[13]
42 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1910 47645 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2401 then Montpelier and Wells River Railroad #19 then Barre and Chelsea Railroad #19 purchased 1946[13]
43 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1910 47656 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2412 then Barre and Chelsea Railroad #22 purchased 1947[13]
44 ALCO Schenectady 2-8-0 1911 49003 ex-Boston and Maine Railroad #2423 then Montpelier and Wells River Railroad #20 then Barre and Chelsea Railroad #20 purchased 1947[13]
46 General Electric 70-ton 1948 29297 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
47 General Electric 70-ton 1948 29298 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1956[14]
48 General Electric 70-ton 1948 29299 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
49 General Electric 70-ton 1948 30022 scrapped 1963[14]
50 General Electric 70-ton 1949 30184 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1957[14]
51 General Electric 70-ton 1951 30844 sold Frankfort and Cincinnati Railroad 1972[14]
52 General Electric 70-ton 1947 29087 ex-Barre and Chelsea Railroad #13 purchased 1955 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
53 General Electric 70-ton 1951 31168 ex-Mississippi Export Railroad #48 purchased 1958 sold 1960[14]
54 General Electric 70-ton 1953 31724 ex-Mississippi Export Railroad #50 purchased 1958 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
55 General Electric 70-ton 1949 30175 ex-Lakeside and Marblehead Railroad #11 purchased 1963 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
56 General Electric 44-ton 1943 17929 ex-Carnegie-Illinois Steel Company #5 purchased 1965 sold 1966[14]
1st #200 General Electric 70-ton 1947 29092 ex-Unadilla Valley Railroad #200 purchased 1960 scrapped 1965[14]
2nd #200 EMD GP9 1956 20973 ex-New York Central Railroad #5960 purchased 1967 sold 1973[14]
201 EMD GP9 1957 23589 ex-New York Central Railroad #6056 purchased 1967 sold 1973[14]
202 American Locomotive Company RS-3 1951 78937 ex-Reading Railroad #523 purchased 1968 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
203 American Locomotive Company RS-3 1953 80498 ex-Great Northern Railway #229 purchased 1968 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973[14]
204 American Locomotive Company RS-3 1950 78292 ex-Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad #4 purchased 1970[14]
205 American Locomotive Company RS-3 1950 78369 ex-Lehigh and Hudson River Railroad #10 purchased 1971 sold Montpelier and Barre Railroad 1973.[14] In 1976 it was sold to the Vermont Railway as #605, and in 1984 it was sold to Batten Kill Railroad as #605.
206 American Locomotive Company RS-3 1952 80163 ex-Delaware and Hudson Railroad #4073 purchased 1972[14]

ReferencesEdit

  • Hartley, Scott (1984). New England ALCOS in Twilight. PTJ Publishing. ISBN 0-937658-10-3.
  • Johnson, Ron (1986). New Hampshire and Vermont Railroads. Portland Litho.
  • Lewis, Edward A. (1974). Vermont's Covered Bridge Road. The Baggage Car.
  • [1]
  • https://vtvast.org/flipbook/LVRT/History/?page=1

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Welcome to The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail". vtvast.org. Retrieved 2020-01-14.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ Lewis (1974) pp.6-39
  3. ^ Lewis (1974) pp.39-51
  4. ^ "TRAIL MAPS". www.lvrt.org. Retrieved 2020-01-20.
  5. ^ a b c Lewis (1974) p.113
  6. ^ a b Lewis (1974) p.114
  7. ^ a b Lewis (1974) pp.60&115
  8. ^ a b Lewis (1974) p.60
  9. ^ Lewis (1974) p.115
  10. ^ a b c d e Lewis (1974) p.116
  11. ^ Lewis (1974) pp.60&116
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Lewis (1974) p.123
  13. ^ a b c d Lewis (1974) p.124
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Lewis (1974) p.126