Remembering the Rutland

Rutland Railroad History

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A Rutland Railroad Timeline
Important Milestones in the Rutland Story

  • 1843            

    • Rutland & Burlington Railroad is chartered by the state of Vermont

  • 1845

    • The Western Vermont RR is chartered to build from Rutland to Bennington, Vt.

  • 1851

    • The Milk Car is born: the Northern RR (O&LC) begins shipping butter to Boston in purpose-built freight cars cooling the contents with ice.

  • 1852

    • In January the first train crosses the floating bridge at the north end of Lake Champlain between the Northern RR and the Vermont & Canada RR.

    • The Western Vermont (Rutland-Bennington) begins service.

  • 1857

    • The Troy & Bennington RR, a subsidiary of the Troy & Boston RR signs a 10 year lease for the Western Vermont RR.

  • 1858

    • The re-organized Northern RR becomes the Ogdensburg RR.

  • 1864

    • The Ogdensburg is re-organized as the Ogdensburg & Lake Champlain RR.

  • 1865

    • Independent again, the Western Vermont RR becomes the Bennington & Rutland RR.

  • 1867

    • Rutland & Burlington reorganized to form the Rutland Railroad Company,

  • 1870

    • On March 1, the Vermont Central leases the O&LC.

  • 1871

    • Rutland RR leased to Vermont Central for 20 years

  • 1891

    • Rutland RR leased to Central Vermont for 99 years

  • 1896

    • Rutland RR returned to independence when the Central Vermont enters receivership.

  • 1898

    • The O&LC regains independence.

    • To circumvent the Vermont Central, the Rutland RR begins building the "Champlain Island Extension" north from Burlington across Lake Champlain.

  • 1899

    • The Champlain Island Extension is completed.

  • 1901

    • The Rutland leases the O&LC.

  • 1904

    • The New York Central RR assumes control of the Rutland.

  • 1909

    • The Rutland inaugurates its first through milk train between Ogdensburg to Chatham.

  • 1911

    • The New York Central sells one-half of it controlling interest in the Rutland to the New Haven RR.

  • 1915

    • The Panama Canal Act forces the Rutland to divest itself of the Rutland Transit Company, its Great Lakes shipping operation.

  • 1916

    • On January 27 Burlington (Vermont) Union Station opens [photo].

  • 1917

    • The Rutland discontinues operations of its floating bridge between Larrabee's Point, Vt. and Ticonderoga, N.Y.

    • The United States Railroad Administration assumes control of the U.S. railroads in an attempt to curtail car shortages

  • 1918

    • Six USRA-design Mikado type locomotives arrive.  They are assignd class H-6-a.

  • 1920

    • USRA control of Rutland ends on March 1

  • 1927

    • In November floods ravage much of Vermont, crippling the Rutland.

  • 1938

    • On May 5 the Rutland Railroad enters into receivership for the first time.

    • In July, the "Save the Rutland Club" is formed.

    • On August 4, on the verge of total abandonment, the Rutland is given a reprieve when union employees agree to a wage reduction.

  • 1939

    • In January The Whippet fast freight debuts in an attempt to win back freight business.

  • 1946

    • Four new Mountain-type 4-8-2's arrive from Alco.  Painted a brilliant green and dubbed "Green Hornets" by Rutland crews, these will be the last new steam locomotives purchased by the Rutland. [photo]

  • 1947

  • 1948

    • On April 14, Trains #57 and #46, the Rutland-Alburgh locals, make their last runs.

  • 1949


  • 1950

    • Rutland Railroad reorganized as Rutland Railway

  • 1951

    • Gardner Caverly becomes vice-president of the Rutland.

    • On May 21, the last train, a mixed, runs on the Addison Branch.

  • 1952

    • In December, permission is granted by the ICC to abandon the Chatham Branch.

  • 1953         

    • On May 20th, train #88 becomes the first Rutland train to use the new trackage rights agreement to reach Chatham via Troy, NY.

    • Beginning June 26, a three week strike, the first in the railroad's history, shuts down the Rutland.  It spells the end of passenger service.

    • During the summer, scrap crews remove the "Corkscrew Division" between Chatham, N.Y. and Bennington, Vt.  They reach Bennington on August 7.

  • 1954

    • Gardner Caverly becomes president, and the "rebirth" of the Rutland begins.

  • 1955

    • In May, the three 4-8-2 Mountain types, just 9 years old, go to scrap.

  • 1961            

    • Final strike begins on September 25

    • On December 4 the Rutland applies to the ICC for total abandonment

  • 1962

    • ICC holds abandonment hearings during March and April

    • In September the ICC approves abandonment effective January 29, 1963

  • 1963

    • Abandonment date postponed to May 20

    • On May 29, the state of Vermont passes a bill providing for the purchase of sections of the Rutland

    • One era ends and another begins

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Latest Revision Date: 27 May 2002