Monday, October 14, 2013

Historic Rutland Railroad Coach Finds a New Home

(SOURCE: - By Ali Freeman)

RUTLAND, Vt. -  "It's pretty interesting to see them lift a train -- and to rotate it," said Rutland resident Donna Zeller.

Zeller was among dozens of spectators who gathered on West Street in Rutland Sunday to watch a crew move a 51-ton railcar. The sight of the 60-foot car being moved drew a crowd -- and so did the railcar itself.

"This is the original 1913 passenger rail car that came in and out of Rutland and throughout Vermont every  single day.  So passengers were really coming in and out on the train you see, and it's a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Tom Donahue with the Rutland Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The railcar was donated by the Vermont Rail System -- and thanks to $5,000 in donations from the Vermont Country Store and Omya, the train was restored and moved to its permanent location next to the Vermont Farmers Food Center.

"It's one of the most visible places in Rutland. It's a very well traveled road -- it's virtually two blocks away from downtown Rutland," said Food Center's Greg Cox.

Cox said every Saturday more than 2,000 people flock to the site for a farmers market, so it will be a great place for people to enjoy a piece of Rutland history. "We want to have this as a public treasure, open to the public as often as possible so people can see and really touch and feel what the train history of Rutland was," he said.

Cox said they will be building a shelter around the train and will be open for public viewing October 22nd. The railcar will be free for everyone to explore. Donahue says railroads are a significant part of Rutland's history -- both freight and passenger trains have been rolling through the city for over a century. "It is a very, very important -- not only part of our history -- but a part of our future. Rutland is still a major switching yard for the entire State of Vermont," he said.

And although some locals were just there for the heavy machinery, others say they can't wait for it to be stationed in the city permanently. "This is good. There are a lot of people that comes to the farmers market. Trains are really important to Rutland history, so having it here is really pretty cool,"  Zeller said.
Bringing back a 100-year-old railcar, to take the city into the future.


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