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Canadian Pacific and Boston & Maine in VT and NH

My layout features the Canadian Pacific line between Newport, VT and Wells River, VT. This line operated pool CP/B&M trains as well as CP locals. The operations through St. Johnsbury will be featured. The line to the north includes an industrial park in Lyndonville, VT before entering Newport, VT/Montreal staging. The line to the south of St. J goes into staging, representing East Deerfield, MA on the B&M.

In addition, the layout also features the Boston & Maine's Berlin Branch, from White River Junction, VT up to Groveton, NH and Berlin, NH. Staging represents White River Jct., and the B&M enters the layout at Whitefield, NH. Hidden trackage carries the B&M downgrade where it emerges at the paper mill in Groveton, NH.
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Protoype CP in VT and NH 1980

The Canadian Pacific operated 90 miles of rail in Vermont. The CP dropped down from Montreal and Quebec City, Canada with 2 rail lines converging at Newport, VT. From Newport, CP track traveled south to St. Johnsbury to interchange with the Maine Central and Lamoille Valley Railroad Company (aka St. Johnsbury & Lamoille County, Vermont Northern). The CP Rail line extended further south to Wells River, Vermont where the line became the Boston & Maine's Connecticut River line. The CP and B&M operated pool power between Newport, VT and as far south as Springfield, MA.

Trains operate mainly for the B&M and MEC bridge traffic, although a few local industries are switched. A paper mill in East Ryegate, a feed mill in Richford, a plywood mill in North Troy and a furniture plant in Orleans are all served by the CP. Industries in St. Johnsbury and Lyndonville are also served by the CP.

Locomotives on CP's Vermont lines consist of RS10s, RS18s, RS23s, GP30s, GP35s and C424s. An RS2 is stationed at St. Johnsbury, while an S4 works in Newport. Locomotive facilities are maintained in Newport while a turntable is used in St. Johnsbury when needed. B&M pool power in the form of GP7s, GP9s and GP18s also make an appearance. Rarely would other B&M power (GP38-2, GP40-2) be found in this service.

Two trains a day operate between Montreal and Newport. One train operates daily between Newport and White River Junction, the B&M/CP pool train. Locals out of Newport handle work to Richford and up to Sherbrooke, Quebec. A local also operates from Newport down to Wells River. Interchange is made with the MEC and Lamoille Valley in St. Johnsbury, the B&M in Wells River and the CV in Richford.
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The CP In Vermont, shown in Red on the map here, starts in Wells River and heads north, through St. Johnsbury, to Newport, and then into Quebec.
(Click on map for larger image)
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A CP Rail RS18u switching St. Johnsbury in 1992

Protoype CP in VT and NH Today

In 1995, the CP sold many of its eastern lines to Iron Roads. Iron Roads created a new railroad, the Northern Vermont, which was part of their larger Bangor & Aroostook system. Service continued to the few remaining customers around Newport and the branch to Richford. Not much traffic moved down to St. J or Wells River. One train a week would head south all the way to White River Jct. With the BAR bankruptcy, the NVR ceased operations 12/31/02. The Vermont Railway became the designated operator of the line. Currently one train a day heads south from Newport, while another heads north from White River Junction. The trains meet and swap crews so they return back with the new train. Some rumblings have started about increasing operations in St. J and getting new clients on the MEC trackage to Gilman and Whitefield. Meanwhile, at Newport and Richford, the new Maine, Montreal & Atlantic operates between the Montreal line into Maine and the VRS interchange at Newport, with a local serving Richford.
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Protoype B&M in VT and NH 1980

The B&M operates in all 3 Northern New England States, but most of the track and service was in New Hampshire. The B&M also operates in Massachusetts and New York. In 1983, the railroad had 1574 miles of track. 46 miles were in Maine, 103 in Vermont and 600 in New Hampshire.

The main line of the B&M was Portland, ME to Rotterdam Jct., NY, traveling mostly through Massachusetts. However, a second main line was the 224 mile Connecticut River Line from Springfield, MA north along the Connecticut River into Vermont and New Hampshire, sharing some trackage with the CV in southern Vermont. From White River Jct. north to Wells River, the line continues as B&M and then crosses into New Hampshire at Woodsville for the run up to the paper mills in Groveton and Berlin. A diamond crossing with the Maine Central is in Whitefield, NH.

B&M interchanges in Vermont include the Green Mountain in Bellows Falls. There are also pool trains operated with the CV and CP. An official CV interchange is at White River Junction, and the CP interchange is a little further north in Wells River.
In New Hampshire, the B&M Conn River Line interchanged with the Springfield Terminal in Charleston, Claremont & Concord in Claremont Jct., the Maine Central in Whitefield, the Grand Trunk in Groveton and the Berlin Mills Railway in Berlin.

Freight carried by the B&M on this line was largely from the forests of the north. Pulp, paper and lumber made up over a third of all traffic. Other freight included food, plastic pellets, grain, gravel, sand, salt, cement, fuel, and chemicals.

Locomotives used by the B&M in the 1970s and 1980s were almost exclusively EMD. Some older Alco RS3s, S1s, S2s and S3s were still around but were quickly being sold or scrapped. GP7s, GP9s and GP18s still were important main line locomotives, and F3s and F7s were still being used when extra power was needed. SW1, SW8, SW9 and NW2 switchers worked many of the yards and smaller branches. Sorely needed new power was added in the mid to latter 1970s with the acquisition of GP38-2s (1973) and the GP40-2s (1977).
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Glenn Salvatore caught BM GP38-2 211 at night with a long exposure

Protoype B&M in VT and NH Today

The 1970s were tough on the B&M as it struggled through bankruptcy. After years of deferred maintenance, deficits and underhanded corporate dealings, the B&M was not even attractive as a merger or buyout candidate. It was likely the railroad was going to be carved up or turned over to the government like so many other northeastern railroads. However, the court-appointed trustees decided to try an independent reorganization. A new management team was brought in and the entire railroad was turned around, from management to marketing and trackwork to new locomotives. Unlike many of its neighbors, the B&M did survive, beating the odds and emerging as a profitable railroad. In 1981, as it emerged from bankruptcy, a private investor bought 100% of the railroad’s stock for $24 million. Timothy Mellon envisioned a new regional railroad, Guilford Transportation Industries, that would include the Maine Central, Boston & Maine and the Delaware & Hudson. This would eventually come to be, but the D&H would later be discarded by Guilford and GTI, now Pan Am, continues to exist today with the MEC and B&M.

The B&M divested many of its branch lines in the 1980s. Most of the NH branches were sold to shortline railroads. The entire 101 mile Wells River to Berlin line was sold to the State of NH and operated by the start up short line New Hampshire & Vermont RR. Today this line sees little activity, operated by the New Hampshire Central. The track from Wells River to Littleton has been removed and is a snowmobile trail. Some trains are operated by NHC between Groveton and Whitefield. The track through Gorham to Berlin has also been converted to a snow mobile trail.

In 1987, the Guilford owned B&M trackage on the Conn River in Vermont deteriorated to such a point that Amtrak was able to forcibly purchase these 50 miles and sell it to the CV who in turn upgraded it back to 59 mph passenger standards. The B&M (Guilford) was allowed trackage rights on this line and still has a local out of East Deerfield, MA that runs up to WRJ to serve customers.
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CP Rail plow extra at the south end of St. Johnsbury yard

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A B&M freight along the Connecticut River, October 1982

CP and B&M on my layout

CP/B&M pool trains will operate from staging through St. Johnsbury. Northbound train 904 will exit staging representing East Deerfield/Wells River and enter the St. J yard. The CP St. J switcher will add and remove cars for the MEC and LVRC and the train will then depart to the north, passing through Lyndonville on it’s way to Newport, represented by staging under the layout. Similarly, Southbound train 917 will depart Newport staging, travel through St. Johnsbury and then proceed to East Deerfield staging. A hot train, CP 937, will depart St. Johnsbury with hot northbound cars dropped by Maine Central RY-2.

CP local RS-2 will operate out of staging from Newport, working Lyndonville, passing through St. J and into staging for Wells River to the south. A counterpart CP RS-2 local will operate north from Wells River staging to Newport staging.

Adding interest will be a diverted Amtrak
Montrealer passenger train, and a short TOFC train, operating from staging through St. Johnsbury.

B&M local operations in New Hampshire will be represented by theGroveton local 4301 passing through Whitefield and the diamond crossing with the MEC. Here too staging will be employed as I can only model a short section of this branch. From White River Junction staging in the south and up through Whitefield, the locals will head to a paper mill in Groveton, and also interchange with the Grand Trunk (static). After completing work, the local will head back south as BM 4302 through Whitefield and into staging, working a few sidings along the way.

I am employing a B&M switcher based in Groveton to handle switching duties and assist BM 4310/4302.

The B&M locomotives on the pool trains and on the local through Whitefield were usually GP9s. Oddly, Proto 2000 has not released a B&M unit in their GP9 releases, but recently Athearn has. I'd prefer a later paint scheme then what has been released however, although I could get undecs and paint them I suppose. I have 2 Front Range undecorated GP9s that I detailed, painted and decaled in B&M blue. Unfortunately these just do not operate as nice as newer locomotives. The Proto 2000 lownose GP18 was released years ago in B&M blue, and I recently acquired one but it need DCC and some weathering. The GP18s were also found on the Conn River pool trains. And the B&M had a fleet of GP7s that also were seen on these trains. My wife gave me the Atlas Classic #1557 with the Bicentennial stripes, so that will be put to good use. I have installed a Tsunami sound decoder in that and it is real nice to operate. Less frequent were the later GP38-2 and GP40-2 locomotives that generally operated in Massachusetts. I do have a few that I am using on the CP/BM pool trains. Most rcently acquired is the Bicentennial B&M #200, an Athearn GP38-2. This is fun to see and I have it on the point of the TOFC train right now.

Proto 1000 in Canada released their MLW RS10/18s and I have 2 of these in CP Rail paint. These have been converted to Tsunami sound with dual speakers. They now operate and sound great. They will look real nice on the CP/B&M pool trains as well as CP locals. Atlas C424s specifically tooled for the CP Rail's MLW units are also on the roster, and have Tsunami sound added. One thing I found out when I started to look into acquiring some CP Rail equipment is that a lot of releases are only available from dealers in Canada. So some online ordering as well as train shows has allowed me to get the CP Rail equipment I need. I also picked up a Proto 1000 RS2 in CP Rail to handle the St. J switching duties, which was the assigned locomotive on yard duty in 1980. Also seen in pictures of Vermont from this time period are GP35s and even one of the two CP Rail GP30s, plus an S2, so I have these on the roster also.

I also have the possibility of one other interesting wrinkle on my layout. I have an Amtrak F40PH along with passenger cars representing the
Montrealer, passenger service between Washington DC and Montreal. As noted above, I theorize that due to a track issue along the CV, the Montrealer is being temporarily diverted through St. Johnsbury, using the CP to connect between the CV and CN. This allows one more train to be operated in a session.
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CP Rail in St. Johnsbury, and B&M at Groveton, on my layout

Additional Information and Research:

•CP Rail In Vermont - September 1980 Railfan & Railroad, p. 50-56
•B & M Story Pt. 1 "How To Make It On Your Own" - August 1980 Trains, p. 44-49
•B & M Story Pt. 2 "Coming Out Of Corporate Chaos" - September 1980 Trains, p. 44-51
•"Northeast Kingdom", B & M, CV and CP Pt. 2 - February 1982 Trains, p. 22-32
•Paul Dolkos’ B&M New Hampshire Division - December 1995 Model Railroader
•"Railroad Blueprint", St. Johnsbury 1980 - May 2004 Trains, p. 52-57
•Book: Green Mountain Rails, Robert W. Jones, 1994
•Book: Maine Central Mountain Division, Ron Johnson, 1986
•Book: New England Rails 1948-1968, Morning Sun Books, 1989
•Book: New England's Colorful Railroads Vol. 1, Four Ways West, 2000
•Book: Boston & Maine: Three Colorful Decades, Robert W. Jones, 1991
•Book: Northern new England Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment, Morning Sun Books, 1994
•Book: Boston & Maine In Colorful, Morning Sun Books, 1997
•Book: Bluebirds & Minutemen, Tom Nelligan, 1986
•Book: Guilford: 5 Years Of Change, Scott Hartley
•Book: Before Guilford, Preston Cook
•Book: Memories Of The Boston & Maine, Henry Maywald, NJ International
•Book: Route Of The Minuteman (Quadrant Press Review #8), Tom Nelligan/Scott Hartley, 1980
Red Alcos, Green Mountains - 60 min. color, 1995
CP’s Green Mountain Gateway - 69 min. color, Tell-Tale Productions
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