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Great Railroad Stations - Island Pond

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Great Railroad Stations 

by John C. Dahl

Island Pond, Vermont 

Photo by the author

Deep in the "Northeast Kingdom" of Vermont lies Island Pond.  Home to the first international railway in North America, Island Pond is located midway on the Grand Trunk Railway between Portland, Maine and Montreal, Quebec.  On July 18, 1853 the first through trains ran on the line which was foreseen as one link in a world wide railway and steamship transportation network.

The present grand brick and stone station was constructed in 1904 when the Grand Trunk was in the midst of a great expansion scheme all the way to the Pacific coast! The company was led by Charles M. Hayes, a rail entrepreneur of boundless energy.  Island Pond reached its zenith of railroad activity about 1912.  Residents could travel to Portland, Lewiston, Sherbrooke or Montreal utilizing the excellent passenger service to shop, and return the same day.  Boston and Montreal newspapers were readily available.  Disaster, however, struck when Mr. Hayes was lost in the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912.  This blow, coupled with severe competition from financially stronger roads such as the Canadian Pacific, and a changing Canadian and U.S. economy after World War I rendered Island Pond as a town frozen in its past.

Grand Trunk Railway, Island Pond, Vermont, August 1993.

Veteran steam photographer, Philip R. Hastings often journeyed to the remote town in pursuit of the Grand Trunk, by now a part of the vaster Canadian National system.  Island Pond offered a unique blend of Vermont scenery, situated on the forested shores of the huge pond, and steam in abundance during the days when steam power was fast disappearing from the rest of the New England landscape. Make it a point to visit Island Pond if you journey to the "Northeast Kingdom".  You'll be enthralled by the timeless beauty of the location, and its fascinating railroad history.

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This page was last updated Thursday, December 06, 2001

2001 Jim Dent
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