Log Cabin Chronicles

train interior

All Photographs © 1998 John Mahoney

All Aboard the Foliage Special

JOHN MAHONEY

NEWPORT, VERMONT | The leaves are beginning to color up and it's passenger train time again around Lake Memphremagog.

The Northern Vermont Railroad - a short-line freight hauler that's part of the Iron Road outfit - is bringing back the glory days in the Northeast Kingdom, at least for a few weekends this autumn while the foliage is at its peak.

Several dozen enthusiastic freeloaders took District Manager Andy Major up on his offer of a day-long junket to St. Johnsbury and back on Thursday, September 10, breakfast and lunch provided. I joined the maiden voyage last year and had such a great time, I jumped at the chance to do it again.

The choice ride is in the first-class parlor car with its plump sofas, comfortable chairs, end tables with lamps, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

But the trip down the 140-year-old NVR corridor through the Barton River valley and over the summit to St. Johnsbury down by the Connecticut River is also fine if you're riding in a standard passenger car, or a double-decker urban commuter from the Ontario people-moving rail system.

This year, the NVR is hauling the executive business car from the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad from northern Maine. It's a look-but-can't ride situation but Major briefed a local alderman and two reporters on the freight business in the lounge end of the car. It's the only way to travel...

Baraw, Major
Newport Alderman Richard Baraw is briefed on the short-haul freight business and the politics thereof by NVR's Major (right).

The interior has been stripped and refurbished in elegant wood paneling and wall-to-wall. The comfy upholstered furniture is new and lush. It sleeps eight. There is a kitchen and quarters for the cook and whoever. Friends, this is my kind of decadence.

Here's what you have to do to get on board:

NEWPORT
Sat/Sun Sept. 12/13
Sat/Sun Sept. 26/27
Two 3-hour trips each day
9 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Depart from the Grand Union parking lot on the Causeway in Newport.
Foliage train rolls to the south end of Crystal Lake at Barton, north to North Troy, and back to Newport.

ST. JOHNSBURY
Sat/Sun Oct. 3/4
Sat/Sun Oct. 10/11
Two 3-hour trips each day
9 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Depart from 39 Bay St, St. Johnsbury.
Foliage train rolls to Lyndonville, south to Wells River, and back to St. J.

THE FARE
First Class: $17
Coach: $12
Under 12: $8

INFORMATION
802.334.5708

LAST YEAR'S TRIP


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© 1998 John Mahoney/Log Cabin Chronicles/9.98