Jim Dufour recently sent images and info on Randy Laframboise’s and Mike Sparks’ HO scale Rutland Mainline subdivision, circa 1952. It was too nice not to share. Many thanks to Randy, Mike, and Jim for permission to share with our readers. Here’s Jim!
This dispatch highlights some of the trackside industries that caught my eye along Randy and Mike’s Rutland Mainline subdivision, circa 1952. The lead image, above, is a hardwood mill at Brandon. It’s been said that many of the homes in Brandon featured the very best hardwood floors in Vermont!
Some of the industries along the Rutland are typical of many small towns, but facilities often differ in design. Here is the J.H. Wheldon Coal Pocket in Brandon. Although the actual structure is still standing, Randy mentioned that it is probably on borrowed time.
Jackman Fuels in Vergennes is like many small oil dealers.
Anyone else interested in the bulk movement of milk by the railroads? Certainly, there weren’t many stretches of railroad anywhere with a higher concentration of online creameries than the Rutland Mainline.
Here’s an example of a trackside creamery that gives you an idea of the volume and importance of milk traffic on the Rutland. This facility was a Hood’s concern located in Vergennes. It’s a safe bet that most of the milk leaving here was delivered via the Cheshire Branch to the Boston market in Boston & Maine train 5500, the nightly “Milk” out of Bellows Falls.
Vergennes boasted two creameries. I believe this one was a Dairymen’s League operation.
Sheffield Farms was a major player on the Rutland. Here’s a beautiful rendition of their creamery at Florence. If you attend Randy Laframboise’s presentation at the upcoming New England/Northeast RPM (NERPM) in Farmington, CT, you might hear Randy relate how he was able to create such an accurate model of this creamery.
Another Sheffield operation was in Ferrisburgh.
And finally, this little Hood’s milk station was at New Haven.
Believe it or not, a portion of the Hood’s creamery building in the last image still exists within this Phoenix Feeds operation at New Haven. Attendees of the recent 2019 Rutland Railroad Historical Society convention were given a tour of this Phoenix Feeds facility during our Saturday afternoon field trip. Vermont Rail System was nice enough to highball a freight through here during our tour.
Here are resources for further reading on Milk Trains and the Rutland:
- Twenty-odd years ago I produced a website entitled Remembering the Rutland. It included a section dedicated to milk trains.
- Here’s an interview with the late Walter Dunn, who related his memories as an engine man on B&M train #5500 the “Milk” from Bellows Falls to Boston.
These photos of structures and scenes on Mike and Randy’s layout reveal the high level of craftsmanship and detail they bring to bear. But the photos cannot convey the sudden burst of WOW! that I experienced when I entered the layout room and confronted the totality of the thing. That’s true of any good layout, of course, but when it is a prototype layout depicting a railroad and a region that one is very familiar with the impact is memorable.
Many thanks to Jim Dufour, Randy Laframboise, and Mike Sparks for sharing this review of Rutland industries. I hope they share more of their modeling with the RCW blog. For another look at the layout, check out Model Railroad Planning 2016.
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