The former Central Vermont passenger depot how houses a drive-through bank and the Barre City Visitor Center
Photo by Vic Campbell

Granite City Extra

Shortly after noon we reached the end of the currently-operable (for passenger trains) track between Granite Street and Williams Lane in downtown Barre, at MP 7.7. We would have loved to go all the way up the hill to Graniteville (and we did ask) but the track is quite overgrown and only sees an occasional car every now and then. There is talk of renewed service - the fonner Bombardier plant, probably the main reason this line has survived at all, and the birthplace of several noteworthy series of rail cars, including the l800-series of cars for the MBTA Red Line and Amtrak's 140 Superliner II bilevel passenger cars, is now occupied in part by Northern Power Systems, a manufacturer of wind turbines and associated equipment.

During our 45 minute stopover passengers were able to walk about a block farther up the line to the enginehouse (shared with an oil company) and the foundation slab of the former M&WR passenger station. The historic wooden depot burned last year in a late-night kitchen fire; it had formerly been operating as the "All Fired-Up Tavern" - we kid you not!

At Depot Square the rails pass the well-maintained brick passenger station that once served the Central Vermont and later housed Pinsly's M&BRR offices. There is a bank drive-through at the building's southern end, and the main portion of the structure has been developed into a Barre City visitors center by the VGMB group. Although it opened in mid-July, the Center will have its "grander opening" on September 12.

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