Bennington and Rutland 36 foot boxcar.

Rutland Railroad White River Division "The PEAVINE"

My Model Railroad

My model railroad construction has yet to begin. I'm waiting for the kids to get a little older so that the model railroad empire- which will be known as the White River Division (aka "The Peavine") of the Rutland Railroad will be able to take over the basement. It will be set in 1939 Vermont. I have a few dioramas that I use to photograph with and a "long-term, temporary" layout that I use to exercise the locomotives and rolling stock.


History- 


My grandfather was a barber and cut hair across the street from the Rutland Railroad yard in Rutland, VT. I'd hesitate to say it was during the heyday, mainly because the Rutland never had one. 


There was no White River Division of the Rutland. There was, however, a White River Railroad that went from Bethel to Rochester, VT. As the name suggests, it paralleled the White River and ran from 1899 until 1933. The Great flood of 1927 wiped it out and the railroad never recovered. The railroad had been built on a shoestring budget, using inferior construction materials and on ground that was often and easily washed out. The largest locomotive they ever had was a fleet of 4-4-0s. The Peavine, in the spirit of true Vermonters, purchased a Stanley Steemer Doodlebug in what was touted as an inexpensive, innovative and practical solution for transporting passengers along the route.


My take is that perhaps, IF!! the Rutland had somehow been able to purchase the White River RR after the flood, it could have rebuilt a stronger, more robust line. This would have supported the logging, granite, talc, marble, dairy and agriculture industries with the main Rutland Railroad providing  a vital connection to New York city and the world.


There are a few flaws in my idea- The first being that the White River RR actually connected to the Central Vermont at Bethel, so it would have made more sense to become part of the CV. Unfortunately, it connected to nothing on the southern end, which would've been a problem with efficiencies. 


The CV connection idea actually opens up a Pandora's box in that it would have made more sense for the CV, WR and Rutland to combine so that service could be provided throughout the state of Vermont and connect more easily with New Hampshire, Boston, Troy, NY and ultimately, New York City. However, I think any aspirations of this were killed off by the Great Depression of 1929. Or would it? Certainly, if these railroads combined, there would be safety in numbers. Yes, there would be layoffs to account for the reduced traffic, but I believe there would still be traffic.  


Anyhow, what attracted me to taking my misadventures away from the general populace of the Rutland Railroad is that the White River valley has always been very interesting to me. The idea of a layout with twists and turns (ala Rt.100) intertwined with towns and mountains is very appealing to me. It would have numerous and varied small industries associated with it.


I recently was passed down the share my grandfather owned of a hunting camp in Pittsfield. The camp will be on the layout and is nearly complete. A version of the camp may show up in the kit catalog at some point, along with a few other businesses that served the area. One in particular I've only found the name for, so it will be represented, if only in name. 

Learn More

Check out the Rutland Railroad, White River Railroad Vermont (there are/were several WRRRs), West River Railroad, Central Vermont Railroad, vermont verde antique marble quarry (photos don't do the marble justice as the depth brings out very interesting colors) and the Bethel Granite Railway.