By Justin Franz
Parts of the Vermont Rail System will be out of service for at least two or three weeks following a storm that dumped as much as nine inches of rain in parts of the state on July 10.
President Selden Houghton told Railfan & Railroad that the Green Mountain Railroad between Bellows Falls and Rutland, and the Washington County Railroad between Montpelier Jct. to Websterville, suffered the most damage and will be out of service the longest. Houghton said there were numerous washouts along both lines and some of the damage rivaled what was seen in 2011 following Tropical Storm Irene. One major difference between the two storms: Irene took out a number of bridges on the Green Mountain.
“At least we don’t have bridges in the water like last time,” Houghton said, adding that fact will play a factor in how long it will take the get the lines back open.
Some of the worst damage on the Green Mountain was centered around Chester and Ludlow. Houghton noted that as of Thursday afternoon, railroad officials were still trying to assess all the damage.
A washout along the Green Mountain Railroad near Ludlow. Photo Courtesy of Vermont Rail System.
The Vermont Railway between Burlington and Hossac Jct. (by way of Rutland) had a few washouts but those would be repaired quickly. The Washington County’s line White River Jct., and Newport (the former Canadian Pacific) was also impacted by flooding and one section of track near Orleans had more than four feet of water above the rail. However, the damage was limited and service resumed on July 13.
While the GMRC is out of service, Houghton said freight traffic would be detoured over Canadian Pacific and CSX Transportation.
Other railroads were also impacted by the flooding, including the New England Central, which reported some washouts along its route. As a result of the flooding, Amtrak was forced to cancel the Vermonter north of New Haven and Ethan Allen Express north of Albany.
The storm that drenched Vermont also caused damage in the Hudson River Valley in New York, forcing Metro-North and Amtrak to suspend service on Monday. All services were restored by the middle of the week.