St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad Sign In or Register to add photos
St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad (StJ&LC) was constructed in the 1870s as the Vermont Division of the Portland and Ogdensburg Railway to connect the Great Lakes with the seaport of Portland, Maine. The westerly connection with the Great Lakes was never made. The eastern end of the Vermont Division was leased to the Maine Central Railroad in 1912, and the remainder of the line became a subsidiary of the Boston and Maine Railroad. The Boston & Maine operated their segment as the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad after 1925. This segment was reorganized as the St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County Railroad in 1948.
Freight traffic was 30% inbound commodities, 20% outbound dairy products to Boston, 15% outbound forest products, and 25% outbound limestone, talc and asbestos. The remaining 10% was bridge line traffic (westbound paper and eastbound feed) for the Maine Central Railroad Mountain Division. Six 70-ton General Electric Diesel locomotives replaced steam locomotives over the line's light rail and covered bridges. Passenger service ended in 1956. Trucks had taken all of the milk traffic by 1961, but bridge line traffic had increased six-fold following the 1953 dissolution of Maine Central's joint operating agreement with Boston and Maine Railroad. Light rail and covered bridges prevented the line from accepting new heavier "incentive" freight car loadings. The covered bridges were replaced or reinforced so worn out light diesel locomotives could be replaced by larger locomotives; but track conditions deteriorated under the heavier loads.
The State of Vermont purchased the line from Samuel Pinsley in 1973. The line was then operated by Morrison-Knudsen as the Vermont Northern Railroad for a time. In 1978, local shippers took over the operation and it became the Lamoille Valley Railroad. In 1989, the line was leased to a Florida company and was operated by them until major flooding in 1995 and 1997 damaged the line so much that it was not profitable to repair the track. In 2002, the state of Vermont started converting the 96 mile route into a recreational trail and created the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail. Information from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.