NEB&W Guide to the Winooski River, VT

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NEB&W Layout Table of Contents


  • The north end of Lake Champlain (which we have modeled as the south end of our fictitious Lake Richelieu) is very shallow and the land surfaces are very flat. The last miles of the Winooski River meanders across a flood plain, with plenty of oxbows. The name of the river is Indian, meaning "stinky river" because along its shores are fields of wild onions, which we have modeled with fake fur. The Rutland RR's bridge, built in 1900 as part of the island line, was washed out in the great flood of 1927, and replaced with the more modern bridge shown.

Upstream (Not Modeled)

  • Upstream, the Winooski is a pretty turbulent river, tumbling over falls and powering mills. But for the last five miles or so, it meanders across its flood plain before emptying into Champlain.

The Shoreline

  • The shoreline by the mouth of the river.

Railroad Bridge

  • The bridge across the river was built contemporary with the large swing spans on the causeway as part of the Island Line construction c. 1900. The Winooski bridge, however, fell victim to the great flood of 1927 and had to be replaced with a slightly more modern design. (How it differed from the original, I don't know.) Tony Steele scratchbuilt a generic bridge for the last layout, from an article in Model Railroader. When we moved to our current location, his model was placed in this scene.

Summer Cabins

  • Bert Pennypacker, in an article in Railroad Magazine (April, 1970) quoted a Pennsylvania RR engine foreman about the quality of Rutland RR mechanics. The foreman had a summer cabin on Lake Champlain, and in the 1940's, he could identify individual Rutland locomotives by the sound of their exhaust. He wished his own men could fine-tune the valve gear cutoff as well. Naturally, we had to model some summer cabins from which perhaps this foreman might be listening.
    Summer cabins became popular when auto travel made practical individual vacationing, away from the Catskills and Adirondack's grand hotels. Cabins thus represent 1930's and 1940's vernacular architecture, designed mainly as a place to sleep, since most daytime activities occurred outside. A screened-in porch was for evenings. As a second home for blue-collar workers, they were small and cheap, without the sturdiness needed to keep out the winter's winds. They also lacked a basement and elaborate heating facilities.

  • For a discussion and more photos of the unique architecture of summer cabins, see this section.

Summer Cabins on the Layout