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Short Haul

July 2024
1min read

In the December, 1973, issue we ran the sad news that the St. Johnsbury & Lamoille County Railroad had gone out of business, thereby endangering the world’s shortest covered railroad bridge, which protected ninety feet of the Vermont line’s right of way. However, Robert L. Hagerman of Morrisville, Vermont, tells us that service has been revived: Of your selection of handsome photographs of American bridges by David Plowden I’m happy to report that the railroad using the covered bridge that appears on page 47 has not been abandoned as reported in the caption. It was a close call, however, and the St. Johnsbury & Lamoille is still not out of the woods—either literally or figuratively (the tracks are overgrown with brush in some places).

A petition for the line’s abandonment had been filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission, but that became void when the state of Vermont purchased the roadbed from its private owner and subsequently leased it to a different operator. Service on the east end of the ninety-eight-mile line, which includes what is known as Fisher Bridge, was restored late in 1974 after some two years of idleness. Major rehabilitation is needed, and whether it will be carried out is still very uncertain. But for now at least, as my accompanying photo attests, trains are again rolling through the historic timbered bridge, which has been reinforced by the addition of steel girders and a pier in midstream.

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