Vermont Railway

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Vermont Railway
VTR logo.png
Vermont Railway locomotive -303 crossing downtown White River Junction VT October 2017.jpg
A Vermont Railway locomotive with a hopper car in White River Junction, Vermont.
HeadquartersBurlington, Vermont
Reporting markVTR
LocaleVermont, New Hampshire, and New York
Dates of operation1964 (1964)–present
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge

The Vermont Railway (reporting mark VTR) is a shortline railroad in Vermont and eastern New York, operating much of the former Rutland Railway. It is the main part of the Vermont Rail System, which also owns the Green Mountain Railroad, the Rutland's branch to Bellows Falls. The trackage is owned by the Vermont Agency of Transportation except in New York, where VTR operates a line owned by the Boston and Maine Corporation.[1] The rail line employs about 150 people in Vermont.[2]


The Rutland Railway was the only north-south line through western Vermont. A strike in 1953 precipitated the company's ending passenger service.[3][4] Another strike shut down freight operations on September 25, 1961. The government of Vermont purchased the main line south of Burlington, as well as a branch to Bennington, 128.6 miles (207.0 km) total, and the new Vermont Railway, incorporated on October 25, 1963, began operations on January 6, 1964.[5] The company's first president was Jay Wulfson, who came from the Middletown and New Jersey Railroad.[6]

During the early years of the Vermont Railway, money was spent replacing old locomotives and rolling stock the railroad had inherited from the Rutland. It bought several locomotives, both new and used. It also leased several hundred freight cars.

The railroad continued to expand, entering the intermodal business in 1965, and acquiring the Clarendon and Pittsford Railroad in 1972, which gave VTR access to a limestone plant near Florence, Vermont. VTR retained the Clarendon and Pittsford name as a separate legal entity operating the acquired trackage. In the late 1970s several senior officials died, including Wulfson. The railroad grossed more than $2 million in revenues for the first time. Net earnings were about $20,000 a year, which was spent in improving the railroad.[6]

In 1982, VTR repaid the state of Vermont for the trackage the state had bought in 1964 to allow VTR to begin operations. A year later, VTR bought 23.7 miles (38.1 km) of track between Rutland and Whitehall, New York from the Delaware and Hudson Railway and assigned it to its Clarendon and Pittsford subsidiary. The track was severely deteriorated at the time of purchase, with track speeds as low as 6 miles per hour (9.7 km/h) over the entire line. During the first years after the purchase, a rehabilitation project was begun, upgrading the roadbed as well as the track and ties. Since the line was upgraded to higher standards, Whitehall has become a major interchange point between VTR and the D&H (now Canadian Pacific after its acquisition of the D&H).[6] Since 1996, Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express has been operating on the Rutland - Whitehall section.

In 1997, the Vermont Railway purchased the Green Mountain Railroad, which ran 52.2 miles (84.0 km) from Rutland to Bellows Falls. This led to the formation of an umbrella company, named the Vermont Rail System, which owned both railroads, as well as several other shortlines in Vermont and New York.[6]

VTR has been the designated operator of the New York & Ogdensburg Railway for over a decade (as of 2021) . This short line was once the western end of the Rutland Railway Ogdensburg Division and operates over the 26-mile line segment between Ogdensburg and the CSX connection at Norwood, NY.[7]

VTR planned to construct a new 3.3-mile (5.3 km) spur line in Middlebury, Vermont, to serve a quarry.[8] In early 2011, the company created a new subsidiary railroad called the Otter Creek Railroad to purchase land and construct trackage in preparation for construction to begin in early 2013, with a late 2014 completion date.[8] The quarry cancelled the project in August 2012 because it was no longer economically viable.[9]


The VRS owns and operates the following additional rail line:


The Vermont Railway moves a wide variety of freight, as well as furnishing track to an Amtrak passenger train, the Ethan Allen Express. VTR moves large amounts of stone products from quarries in western Vermont, largely limestone in the form of slurry from OMYA mines north of Rutland. VTR also moves large amounts of petroleum products into Vermont, including unit trains of fuel oil from Albany, New York, to Burlington.[6]

Locomotive fleet[edit]

As of August 2015, the Vermont Railway's fleet consisted of:[6][10]

Numbers Type Power Manufacturer Notes
201, 202, 204 GP38-2 2,000 hp EMD VTR 202 assigned to Washington County Railroad and lettered for WACR.
205 GP38 2,000 hp EMD
206, 207 GP38-3 2,000 hp EMD
310, 311 GP40-2LW 3,000 hp EMD VTR 310, originally CN 9650; VTR 311, originally CN 9662.
312, 316, 318 MP15DC 1,500 hp EMD Leased from GATX
431, 432 SD70M-2 4,300 hp EMD
801 GP18 1,800 hp EMD
802 GP16 1,600 hp EMD
9000 SD60 3,800 hp EMD Leased from GMTX. Shared with the Providence and Worcester Railroad. On lease to New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway as of now.

Former fleet[edit]

Numbers Type Power Manufacturer Notes
203 GP38-2 2,000 hp EMD Sold to Conway Scenic Railroad in 2021 and renumbered to 255.[11]


  1. ^ Vermont Agency of Transportation, Vermont Rail Network, accessed February 2009
  2. ^ a b Usatch, Brad (November 23, 2016). "Railroading sees a bit of rebirth". The Chronicle. Barton, Vermont. pp. 1A. 27A. Retrieved December 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "An Eastern Regional Railroad - 1930's - 1940's, Rutland Railroad"
  4. ^ Lindsell, Robert M. (2000). The Rail Lines of Northern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 35–46, 175. ISBN 0942147065.
  5. ^ Edward A. Lewis, American Shortline Railway Guide, 5th edition, Kalmbach Publishing, 1996, p. 322
  6. ^ a b c d e f Jones, Robert C. (2006). Vermont Rail System: A Railroad Renaissance. Evergreen Press. ISBN 0-9667264-5-6.
  7. ^ "NYOG Railway". Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority.
  8. ^ a b ""Otter Creek Railroad" to Build Middlebury Spur in 2013". Vermont Rail Action Network. 7 February 2011. Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
  9. ^ Edwards, Bruce (28 August 2012). "Omya rail spur sidetracked indefinitely". Times Argus. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Vermont Rail System acquires six-axle EMD power". Trains Magazine. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Conway Scenic Acquires Second Maine Central GP38". 19 October 2021.

External links[edit]