The History of the LVRR

While we’re just beginning LVRR Steam-Locomotive-#26to write the history of the LVRT, the history of the railway corridor itself spans two centuries and has had a number of operators and names along the way. Originally intended to be part of a rail corridor that would run from the Great Lakes to the Maine coast (the westerly section was never made), the St. Johnsbury and Lake Champlain Railroad was completed in 1877. Through the years old St J-LC railroad passit served Vermont as both a passenger and a freight line. Freight traffic primarily consisted of dairy products for the Boston market as well as timber, limestone, talc and asbestos from the Northern Vermont forests and quarries. Passenger service ended in 1956. The State of Vermont purchased the line in 1973 and renamed it the Lamoille Valley Railroad with freight service continuing until the railroad’s closing in 1994.

An old steam engine winding through the Lamoille ValleyThough its primary purpose was to provide a more efficient way to move freight and passengers across the expanse of northern New England, the unintended benefit was to provide a rare glimpse into a nearly secret landscape and lifestyle. Fortunately, the tranquil patchwork of farms and forests, mountains and villages remains largely unchanged. And unlike the passing views from the windows of clattering rail cars, the new travelers of this historic railway will enjoy an up close and personal experience of this most unique landscape and lifestyle.

Gallery of Historic LVRR Images

Click thumbnail to view larger image.

Historic mile markers for the original railway

  • Milepost 0: St. Johnsbury interchange with Maine Central Railroad and Canadian Pacific Railway.
  • Milepost 1.4: Fairbanks Scales factory
  • Milepost 11.5: Danville
  • Milepost 19.7: Walden
  • Milepost 27.8: Greensboro Bend
  • Milepost 34.7: Hardwick junction with Hardwick and Woodbury Railroad. 98-foot covered bridge built 1909 over the Lamoille River burned 1959.
  • Milepost 39: Preserved 90-foot Fisher covered bridge built in 1908 over the Lamoille River was strengthened in 1968 to be the last covered railroad bridge in service.
  • Milepost 41: Wolcott 120-foot covered bridge built 1909 over the Lamoille River replaced by steel bridge about 1968.
  • Milepost 48.9: Morrisville was the most important shipping point on the line.
  • Milepost 51.6: Hyde Park
  • Milepost 56.4: Johnson Eastern Magnesia Talc
  • Milepost 64.6: Cambridge Junction with Central Vermont Railroad. 113-foot covered bridge built 1899 over the Lamoille River replaced by steel bridge about 1968.
  • Milepost 78.4: Fairfield
  • Milepost 83: Sheldon
  • Milepost 84.6: Sheldon Junction with Central Vermont Railroad
  • Milepost 90.9: Highgate
  • Milepost 94.7: East Swanton junction with Central Vermont Railroad. Three-span 369-foot covered bridge over the Missisquoi River built in 1898 was on the main line between East Swanton and Swanton. It was preserved by routing StJ&LC trains over the Central Vermont Railroad.
  • Milepost 96.1: Swanton – Swanton Lime Works and interchange with Central Vermont Railroad