Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Random Steam Train Interlude, Part Deux

As I was reminded by Mr. Joe, I promised to put up some random steam train pictures. In this case, as I'm currently in the US, an American one. Here's Southern Pacific 4449, a 4-8-4 express passenger engine that toured the US in 1975-76 with the "American Freedom Train" project.

The American Freedom Train was a neat idea - it was essentially a museum on wheels that took American history across the country to the people through 1975-76. And it even came to Vermont that first spring - it left Albany NY on April 6th and was open for visitors in Burlington VT on April 11th 1975.

I believe it even came through my mother's home town, North Bennington on the way, though I haven't got a picture of it. But here's a picture of the picturesque North Bennington Station (or Depot, depending on your sensibilities). It's a gorgeously over the top piece of American Victoriana, which was rescued by the town from dilapidation thirty years ago. It now houses the Town Offices.

Better yet, though the platform has a statue awaiting a passenger train, the last of which ran sometime in the 1950s (when it was possible to go direct to New York and with a single change, overnight to Miami), last night marked the beginning of a major study into reinstating passenger service to New York via Albany, and Burlington via Middlebury. This would be of great economic and social benefit for western VT, which currently has no meaningful public transport beyond some local buses, after it lost Greyhound services a few years back. All the details are here.

So, with luck, this will be 4hrs 15 mins from Penn Station, New York in 2014-15. We can but hope - it'd sure beat driving!

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