Vermont Rail System: Chasing Green Mountain Train 263 (Rutland to Bellows Falls, VT)
January 16, 2017
On a crisp Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday morning, I (as well as Railfanning 101 Vermont) set out once again to catch the Newly Redone Vermont Railway (SD70m-2) 431 lead Green Mountain train 263 for the third time in a row. However, this time it was the real deal! We chased the train for pretty much all of it's trip from Rutland at US Route 7 to the Bartonsville Covered Bridge in Rockingham. The chase was long, and lasted most of the day but it was a good one.
This time, I wasn't the only one chasing the train. Since many people saw the first video I posted of this beautiful locomotive on the road, many people have come from New York, Massachusetts, and even farther to get a glimpse of big red in all it's glory.
Apparently this locomotive has also been quite an icon traveling around the world and beyond, being the center of many photoshopped pics and memes on Flickr and beyond
Info (timeslots coming soon):
1. Rutland, VT- The conductor has to manually activate the signals at US Route 7 and flags the crossing (which I have never seen before) before departing the yard.
2. East Clarendon, VT- The train makes it's way across VT Route 103, as well as the Appalaichan and Long Trails.
3. East Wallingford, VT- The train makes it's way in full throttle over the Mill River and route 103 on the infamous Cuttingsville Trestle.
4. Summit- The train finally reaches the top of the mountain in Mt. Holly, aside route 103.
5. Healdville- The 431 now makes it' way through a rural crossing in Healdville (summit road).
6. Ludlow- The grade starts moving downhill now as the train passes by the Okemo Ski Resort in Ludlow.
7. Proctorsville- The 431 gives out a nice hornshow across Route 103 in Proctorsville.
8. Chester- We were going to try to catch the train at Bailey's Mills, but we got asked to leave so we went straight to the timely Chester Depot.
9. Bartonsville- Last but not least, I got my DJI Phantom 3 drone to work and got an aerial shot of the train as it passes by the Bartonsville Covered Bridge.
Date of footage:
January 16, 2017
VTR 431 (SD70M-2)
GMTX 2208 (GP38-2)
GMTX 2205 (GP38-2)
Thanks For Watching!
(C) 2017 GMRP
Vermont Railway Train Chase Through the Green Mountains Spring 2011
Follow a Vermont Rail System freight and ethanol train through the Green Mountain Gateway passing scenic and historic locations amidst the spring bloom. This train, complied of 6 locomotives representing almost all schemes and locomotive types on the VRS at the time, makes the 40 mile, 4+ hour journey restricted to 10 MPH on jointed rail from the yard in Rutland, VT to the interchange with New England Central Railroad in Bellows Falls, VT. Power for the train is:
VTR GP40-3 312
CLP GP38 203
VTR GP40-2LW 310
GMTX GP38-2 2663
GMRC GP40 304
CLP GP38 204
May 8, 2011
The forecast was for sun, but unfortunately a large band of clouds made for a relatively dreary day. Despite that fact, the chase is full of a lot of excitement, mainly because of a the rare, six locomotive consist leading a train through blooming flowers and budding trees as Spring starts to take hold in Vermont. There are also scenes that will never be repeated, such as the train passing the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, which was tragically wiped out 3 months later in the high, fast flowing waters from Hurricane Irene.
The train is ready to go at Rutland, having just left the yard. The conductor had to step out and activate the gates for the busy US Highway 7.
Just out of town, the train is starting up the grade into the Green Mountains, crossing Vermont State Route 103, which follows the tracks for most of the journey. The Appalachian Trail also crosses the tracks here. We are not the only ones chasing the train, as VRS requires personnel to follow the train by road and high rail vehicle. This would prove to be an annoyance beyond anything else, but VRS takes their ethanol business very seriously. Track speed for freight is 25 MPH; 10 for ethanol.
After winding through the hills, the train crosses the Cuttingsville Trestle, which carries the train over Route 103 and Mill Stream. This would be the only location where the sun would break through the clouds.
At Mt. Holly, the change in grade and the jointed rail are noticeable as the train slowly moves toward my position near the summit. The line of sun would unfortunately cut off here as the clouds were moving slower than the 10 MPH train.
A short distance later, the train starts downhill at Healdville with air brakes applied. This is one of the many steeply-banked super-elevated curves found along this route, which in the past decades, would have accommodated fast-moving freight and passenger trains.
The train rounds the mountain as it approaches Ludlow, seen here passing through the property of the Okemo Mountain Ski Resort. Then, we just beat the train in town by the freight depot—some of the ski slopes are somewhat visible in the background.
The next few scenes take us away from Route 103 and into the woods near Cavendish and Gassetts. The train is just over half way on its journey at Milepost 22 as it leans into the curve with the Black River in the background. A short drive down the road allows us the catch the train at another Ye Olde Vermonte dirt private crossing, with the typical house and mountainscape as a backdrop.
Back on the path of Route 103, the scenery of the Green Mountains unfolds itself along the Williams River. The next location at Baileys Mill Road is another typical rural Vermont setting. Spring is coming alive here, and scenes like this is one of the many reasons why I love Vermont.
Chester is up next, with the station and town typical small town Vermont hardware store making up scene.
The following scene is one that made the entire chase worth its weight, despite not having sun or a nice red or green locomotive in the lead. The Bartonsville Covered Bridge was built in 1870 and spans 151 feet across the Williams River. No one knew that three months later the bridge would be destroyed by Hurricane Irene. A few flowers in the foreground also make this place a nice scene. From what I was told, they grow in that spot every year.
The train is now close to Bellows Falls, entering a causeway where the Williams River joins the Connecticut River. There was just enough view between the trees for this shot.
Finally, arriving in Bellows Falls, the conductor aligns the switches for the train to enter NECR trackage. The train has dropped off its freight in the siding before proceeding to the diamond. This was a long process that I have distilled down into a couple minutes. The train then backs north to park the ethanol cars on North Walpole siding, where an NECR crew will pick up the train and take it south later that evening. After uncoupling, it was worth seeing the power one more time on the New Hampshire side of the river.
VT Railway 5 16 14 VT Railway Train - 5-16-14 - North Bound - Cavendish Cutaway
Here is a north bound freighter that Aries the Siberian Husky and I caught first as it rolled through Chester, them around the large cut out bend in Perkinsville.