This is how your day railfanning on the White River Division might unfold if you were to follow the rails around my layout. A typical day in 1958 would begin in White River Junction around the coal tower checking out what power is around before heading to the station. Today as you arrive you note B&M #1264 has just uncoupling from CV #4928 under the tower and is now running back to the station on the next track over. You watch as the B&M engineer notches the throttle and almost instantly the Alco blows a cloud of smoke out of the exhaust stack as it motors away. The B&M does the shuffling of power as need be. Leaving the engine facility you note the string of milk cars waiting to be picked up off to your right. In the background you can hear that distinctive sound once again and you can see another plume of smoke which spells more Alco's in town.
|Early morning action at the Central Vermont coal tower.|
|The CNR baggage car is being loaded on the B&M trackage for lifting later in the day.|
|Looks like the milk train is all set to go. Central Vermont RS-3 #3901 is handling the milk traffic to St. Albans today.|
|Action at West Barre, Vermont can at times seem very busy. But if you don't arrive early enough you will miss it all. It normally all happens in a matter of a few action packed minutes.|
|The Montreal bound Boston and Maine passenger train arrives at Bellows Crossing slowing down for a station stop.|
|CNR 9403-9407 handles the regular freight today. This is not a normal stop for a through train but today cars need to be set off. The reefers are always handled on the head end. When switching the reefers are held while doing the work.|
|A quick stop at Summit to photograph the unused water tower. Its days are numbered.|
Westminster Center is a junction location guarded by a ball signal. The location is out of the way with no station but a make shift sectionman-operator shanty. The only industry is the Borden's creamery and the spur to the marble quarry that is serviced by the Rutland Ry. Your in luck as you arrive, the CV regular freight is held up at the ball signal while the Central Vermont local does it's moves to the creamery. Geeps are normally used on the local and today #4549 is the power. The creamery is pulled and spotted while the freight looks on. It does not take long and the local departs. Once the ball signal is reset the regular freight is on the move again. You decide to give up on chasing the freight and take a look at the Rutland Ry. marble operations not far away. The Rutland use Alcos also and why not watch the display of smoke and noise once again.
|At Westminster Center the CV local is about to clear the regular freight and spot a milk car at the Borden's creamery on the spur.|
The Marble Spur is not all that long. The Rutland Ry has already cut off the caboose near the section shanty at the end of the causeway. RS-1 #405 has run up to the switch and is backing down the spur to pickup the loaded flats and gondolas of marble blocks and chips. This is good business for the spur since the only other customer these days is the Borden's creamery but it is switched by the CV. It is a lengthy operation so you get your photos and head off for supper.
|Rutland #405 has coupled to the marble loaded flats as you look down the spur.|
Once supper is over it is dark but you decide to swing by Westminster Center one more time and check things out. To your surprise there is a B&M freight with a pair of F7's on the head end sitting at the order board You see a headlights in the clear on the other side of the ball signal. The operator is setting the ball so the B&M can proceed towards Boston. You decide to leave your headlights on and see if you can get a shot of the F units. It might just work with the other engines headlight still on and shining down the track. The F's headlight is on also. Click you have your shot and it will be a couple of weeks before they are developed. Boy are you amazed with what you caught on film that night when the slides do arrive...the best Kodak moment of the day.