NEB&W Guide to Summit, VT

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NEB&W Layout Table of Contents


The summit of the Rutland RR's line to Bellows Falls was appropriately named. Here trains stop to turn up their "retainers," to retain enough air in their air brakes for the long descent. To the left, the water flows toward the Hudson River, while to the right (pass the cut), the St. Lawrence watershed is encountered. The scenery at these New England summits is quite distinctive, flat and somewhat marshy, with stands of small pines. The bushes in this scene represent the ones we actually pick for our deciduous trees. We call them "Summit weed."

Summit required the Summit station. The rest of the scene was inspired by a railfan trip that Jeff English and I took in the 1980's, from Bellows Falls to Rutland and back. We had driven through that area many times, photographing Rutland buildings, but the train trip for some reason put it all into context. The sense of reaching the Summit was really felt, with the straining Alco RS-1 changing audibly. The change of scenery at the top became an important part of the story, and was needed to be added to the layout. The scene developed solely from one photo taken from the train.

This entire 40-foot section of the layout from Saratoga through Proctor was planned together, because the background hills run continuously from scene to scene. It was important that the flat open look of Summit fit in with the high hills of the neighboring scenes. The transition is abrupt but hopefully not unconvincing (an individual subjective opinion).

The Long Cut

  • The "long cut" c. 1906, photos from the Library of Congress.
I'm actually not so sure of the date. The Rutland had a 4-4-0 which in 1886-'90, was relettered Central Vermont 213 and then scrapped in 1890. This CV 213 was the only "Rutland" engine that I know of, with this number, but if so, these photos have to date c. late 1880's, some three decades or so from the given date of 1906.

  • In the 19th century, there was a covered bridge crossing over the tracks.

  • The long cut was featured on the cover of Bob Nimke's Green Mountain Railroad book. (Photo was probably taken in June. In the winter, there is more ice!)

  • I took these photos during a fan trip in 1980.

  • The "long" cut (greatly condensed) on the layout.

The Terrain

  • The prototype photo, taken from a Green Mountain RR fantrip, was the inspiration for the model scene. Note the flatness of the terrain, the row of modest pine trees and the "summit weed" bushes in the field. (Watch a clip on Youtube that shows steam-era railroad on the Rutland, including a train passing this scene.)

  • In 1953, Fred McLeod filmed trains on the Rutland, including one of a double-headed (diesel and steam) at Summit. The film was in black-and-white but does have sound.
The film was sold commercially by Blackhawk but they have since went out business. Scott Whitney has posted the entire film on Youtube. (Thanks to Dean Splittgerber for bringing this to our attention.)

  • Our model recreation.

Summit Depot

  • The station was around the bend from the field that we copied. There was a wye located up here so that helpers could be turned and sent back light.

  • This was a fantrip recorded on film by Gerrit Bruins, probably mid-'60's. (Attack of the killer bees - or just gunk on the slide that won't come off?)

  • Francis Poulin took these photos c. 1972 or '73.

  • The station in winter, c. 1972. The stick in the photo was used to scale the building in order to model it.

  • Valuation notes.

  • In post-steam days, the depot was moved about 100 feet and incorporated into a house, a ghastly fate - but has since been demolished (in this case, a mercy-killing).

Other Facilities

  • There was a milk platform here, between the depot and the grade crossing, which was retired in 1949. Don't have any other info on it. Next to the depot was a very low water column. And also a box car and shanty, both retired in 1955.

Our Model