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December 19th, 2004

Travelling from Ste-Agathe, QC (the site of the Ste-Agathe sub, abandonned in the late 1980s) where I grew up to the US, we stopped at Ste-Thérèse yard, near a recently abandonned and torn down GM car factory and the site of a CP-QGRY interchange, then on to Beaconsfield and across the border to the origin of Amtrak's Vermonter at St. Albans.


St. Albans, Vermont

(map) CN and NECR (New England Central Railway) meet at St. Albans. Amtrak's Vermonter originates here at 06:35 and returns at 20:45. There is a large yard in the town and the station is sufficiently well lit for readable night shots without a tripod or flash in the winter.

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December 20th, 2004

We woke up at 6am in St. Albans hoping to catch the 6:35am Vermonter outbound. We missed it by a hair, and after learning from NECR's friendly AGM that there would be no more trains scheduled until about 13:00, we headed South to Burlington, eventually working our way down the VRS line to Rutland. We then headed to White River Junction to spend the night, finding NECR 324 switching in town shortly after we arrived. They continued switching until well after we went to sleep.

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September 7th, 2005

We headed from my parents' place in Quebec to Laura's parents' place in Brattleboro, Vermont via the scenic route. While Laura had a meeting in Montreal, I spent an hour on the pedestrian bridge in Beaconsfield where I caught 6 trains from 4 companies (CP, CN, AMT, Via), with one foreign unit for good measure. We went to eat on the border between the burroughs of St-Henri and Verdun in Montreal and caught a CN TankTrain unit train heading through town on our way to find food. After that, Laura and I headed to Farnham in the townships to see what Montreal, Maine, and Atlantic had to offer. We found a pair of MMA-lettered GEs switching the yard there but not too much else. From there we went across the border to St. Albans where we caught NECR train 324 leaving town. We heard it get a clearance to Milton to meet a northbound. We did beat it to Milton, but then didn't find the tracks. By the time we found the tracks, we watched the train go by from five or six cars back at the grade crossing line up and didn't try to photograph it. We then found the train it was meeting, which turned out to be a unit train of 6-bay hoppers, but we found no roads to the head end of the train.

NECR #324's power backs into the yard to pick up its train.

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NECR #324 passes the NECR office building on its way out of St. Albans.

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September 3rd, 2007

The very last day of our trip saw us waking up at a friend's house in Burlington, Vermont and stopping in at St. Albans to see what was around, crossing Lake Champlain to see Rouses Point and finding the Amtrak Adirondack with its complement of border guards and not much else. We saw a few other trains from the 401 as we returned home later in the afternoon but did not have the time to stop. With that, our 10-day, 4300 km mixed social and railfan trip came to an end.

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SD9 GSWR 1901 works St. Albans yard.

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December 29th, 2007

We left Brattleboro for my parents' place in the Laurentians, stopping only at St. Albans to see CN 323 with 8814-8840, my first of the CN 88xxs. Weather was miserable and rainy all the way up, so we did not stop to see NECR 323/324 meeting in Brattleboro, VRS 307 coming into Burlington, or the three trains queued up at Rouses Point on the D&H. Next time.

CN #323 works NECR St. Albans yard with a pair of 8800s.

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February 14th, 2009

We started our day in Rouses Point, New York, where we found the D&H quite quiet. We crossed Lake Champlain over to St. Albans, Vermont, where the NECR showed equally little sign of life, so decided to follow the VRS through Rutland to get to Brattleboro, our destination. Not long after leaving Burlington, we heard two extras being set up to meet in Chester, Vermont. Being two hours from there we had lots of time to wonder if we'd see it, and along the way we were distracted by an SBU blaring around New Haven, Vermont. We knew we were near a train on the Rutland-Burlington line but after trying to find it unsuccessfully for a while, we pushed on, ultimately reaching Chester about an hour after the meet had taken place. We caught the westbound in the woods about 5 miles out of town, but didn't get ahead of the eastbound until Bellows Falls, where the train was headed.

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June 5th, 2014

We stopped to check out the engine shop in St. Alban's and NECR 324 at Brattleboro on our way to Massachusetts.

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March 5th, 2016

The final leg of our trip saw us wake up to the persistent sound of a symmetric braking unit on the scanner in Bellows Falls, which led us to parked-running Guilford engines on the Walpole side of the river, before we turned north to see the Claremont and Concord, west to Rutland, and north to Burlington, stumbling completely by chance on a local working the Omya plant in Florence that we did not hear on the radio. We wrapped up our impromptu vacation stopping in Montreal to visit family.

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