The legislature of Vermont granted a charter to construct the railroad in 1863, but little was done until 1867, when enough money was raised to begin construction. Construction began in earnest in 1868, and proceeded fitfully until 1875, when the line was finally completed and the first train made the trip. While never very busy, the line continued running until 1933, when it was abandoned. The last run took place on Saturday, April 15, 1933.
During construction two major obstacles were overcome: a one mile (1.6 km) long cut in Stanley Hill, and a substantial trestle over the Quechee Gorge, formed by the Ottauquechee River, The original trestle was replaced first by a wooden arch bridge, then in 1911 by one made of steel. At one time the 163-foot (49.7 m) high structure may have been the highest railroad bridge in New England.
Originally the Woodstock Railroad, a financial reorganization in 1890 caused the name to change to Woodstock Railway.
An 1877 timetable listed the following stops from east to west:
- White River Junction, Vermont - interchange with the Central Vermont Railway
- Hartford, Vermont
- Dewey's Mills, Vermont
- Quechee, Vermont
- Taftsville, Vermont
- Woodstock, Vermont
- Jones, Robert C., Railroads of Vermont, Volume II, 1993.
- Mead, Edgar T., Over the Hills to Woodstock, 1967.
Archives and records
- Woodstock Railroad Company records at Baker Library Special Collections, Harvard Business School.