st johnsbury

New Hampshire and Vermont #405 in 1993

I’ve referred to watching the New Hampshire and Vermont Railroad at St. Johnsbury, Vermont, before. Memories of chasing RSC14’s here on PEI made watching the NHVT’s RS11 in person all that much more meaningful. I’d seen this video posted on Youtube before and thought I’d post a copy here now for those that haven’t seen it already and because the style of railroading here really reflects that which I had in mind for the plan I’ve shared.

I went to St. Johnsbury to chase CP in Vermont and hoping to catch memories of the Lamoille Valley or it’s predecessors. The town never failed to let me down.

St. Johnsbury – great to be back

St Johnsbury, Vermont - July 2014
The last time I stood here in this parking lot I was watching a New Hampshire and Vermont RS11 switching some covered hoppers in a very overgrown yard. That trip was all about tracing the Lamoille Valley’s line as well as the CP’s Vermont trackage out of Newport. I arrived in St. Johnsbury and stopped at McDonald’s for a coffee and a Big Mac. I never expected to be eating it, sat on the hood of my trusty Honda Prelude watching that Alco working away.

That memory is high on my list of favourite railfanning moments so when our vacation road trip last week brought me back to St. Johnsbury I was pretty excited to get back down into the yard. I was surprised to see the work completed on the station and some new buildings around the yard. The yard itself was in terrific shape with lots of fresh ballast, new ties, and good rail. No trains to watch and certainly no Alco’s kicking cars around but it felt terrific to have been offered a chance to get back.

Here are a few other photos I took last week. Enjoy.

Say it in paint

White River Junction, Vermont - New England Central - July 2014

White River Junction, Vermont – New England Central – July 2014


I took the above photo at White River Junction, Vermont, last week. In the classic Mears style, that fence and my shadow really aren’t helping my story.

I thought the orange paint on the rail joints was an interesting detail. Since not every rail joint is painted, something about these particular joints must make them special? I’m assuming that these joints mark the end of each siding, the point where you can safely park a train without fouling the other track. On past layouts I’ve used a “special” barrel, figure, or other detail to mark this same point on a layout. A little orange paint on my track to serve this same purpose would be a simple way to incorporate a prototypical detail to serve an equally practical purpose on the layout.

St. Johnsbury, Vermont - Washington County Railroad - July 2014

St. Johnsbury, Vermont – Washington County Railroad – July 2014


The greatest thing about a great assumption is the realization that it might not be correct. A couple of days later I was in St. Johnsbury, Vermont and saw similarly coloured rail joints. At first I was delighted to see them, then I noticed that while the first set seemed logical in their placement, the Washington County folks seemed to paint most of the joints. Perhaps in this second case it just makes finding the joint bars easier?