NEB&W Guide to Gassetts, VT

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NEB&W Layout Table of Contents


  • There were members of both the Gassett and Gassette families (same family, different spelling) in Vermont that go back to at least the 1790's. Apparently the town was first named "Gassett's Station" so the "S" is not for the plural but the possessive of this family. The name of the village apparently dates back to 1859 and was still called Gassett's Station through the 1880's. (Haven't found which specific Gassett the town is named after.)

  • Gassetts is just north of Chester on the Rutland- Bellows Falls sub-division of the Rutland RR. The talc plant was built in 1957, and despite its anachronism for this layout, is modeled here. Talc, or soapstone, occurs throughout the southern Green Mountains. This plant at one time was the sole supply of Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder, but talc has other uses besides talcum powder. It is also an important ingredient in paper making and roofing shingles. Bagged talc is shipped in box cars, or shipped bulk in covered hoppers.

  • Topographic map c. 1929, before the talc plant was built and the overpass moved slightly north.

Early Views

  • Here are some early photos (c. 1900) of the area around Gassetts that we model.

Railroad Bridge

  • Like so many 19th century bridges, at first there was a wood covered bridge here. In 1903, it was replaced by a through-girder built by American Bridge Co. This might still be the bridge in use today.

Highway Overpass

  • The highway bridge over the tracks was originally closer to the talc mill. Originally the road crossed at grade, the overpass was built c. 1933 and replaced with a new one slightly further north in 1961.

Talc Plant

  • The Gassetts talc plant sat nestled in a valley just around a curve north of the depot area. Prototype views c. 1970's.

  • Richard Hutter took these photos in the 1960's.

The Model

  • The talc plant on our layout was scratchbuilt by Al Wood.


  • The only traffic being shipped out of Gassetts in later years was talc.
  • 1956 - 75 carloads.
  • 1957 - 94 carloads.
  • 1958 - 215 carloads.
  • 1959 - 312 carloads.
  • 1960 - 330 carloads.
  • 1961 - 330 carloads.
So it got up to just about one car a day on average.
According to Bob Nimke, the midwestern and western traffic was split about half going via Rouses Point, NY, the other half going through Norwood and to the NYC. He also said that R 504, one of the PS-2's the Rutland acquired about this time, was assigned to talc service.

North of the Overpass

Gassetts, Not Being Modeled