model train set on track

Adventures in 1:1 Railroading on the Toy Trains Mailing List (TTML)

e*Train Issue: Oct 2018   |   Posted in:

By Rupert C. Campbell Jr., TCA HE-94-39537  Fall 2018 (rev.) 

These are the TCA Heroes that I speak about. They go the extra mile to provide us fun facts about real railroads and connections to our hobby. Are you logging in and reading the TTML? Are you utilizing our NTTL to increase your knowledge of toy trains? Just think how much you can enlighten and educate fellow TCA members at your next meet. There really is more to being a TCA member than paying dues and carrying that green card in your wallet!

It all started with our Dr. Joseph Lechner and his daily TTML posting on railroad history for August 30: Middlesex.

Editors Note: Some of you may not even be aware of the Toy Trains Mailing List.  This blog spot, yahoo group, discussion board, information center, post location, or whatever you want to call it, has been going strong since 1996.   The TTML allows participants who have joined to discuss matters of common interest regarding the toy train hobby, and open to the public.

Ed Guzman posted the first message on November 5, 1996. 

TTML has been hosted by three different “networks” during its history. They were first hosted on TTML migrated to in June 1999.  A year or so later, became part of Yahoo! with no interruption of service.  While TTML’s Yahoo! site lists 6-14-99 as the founding date, the correct date is 11-5-96.

Some of you have found the group and there are currently 1885 active members.  That means that 1884 of you can talk about toy trains with me, and 1883 of your fellow trainiacs!  It’s interesting to follow lines of discussion on a wide range of topics about different gauges, found treasures, restoration, wiring, layouts, and so much more!  There are even pictures or video links to keep us savvy on managing our computers.

Joseph H. Lechner, TCA 01-52673 wrote:

The Vermont Central Railroad (chartered October 31, 1843) planned to build from Burlington on Lake Champlain east to the state capital at Montpelier, and then south to Windsor on the Connecticut River. Actual construction (which began in December 1845) was in the reverse direction. The mainline bypassed Montpelier due to a rugged valley that was deemed impassable. Trains served the state capital via a branch line from Montpelier Junction, two miles to the west.

VCRR reached the town of Middlesex (five miles northwest of Montpelier Junction) on this date in 1849. The railroad reached its ultimate destination of Burlington on December 31 of that year.

Vermont Central endured numerous financial reverses. It became the Central Vermont Railroad in 1872. An 1884 shakeup saw it briefly reorganized as the Consolidated Railway and then, weeks later, as a second Central Vermont Railroad. That CVRR entered receivership in 1896 and was acquired by the Grand Trunk Railway, which reorganized it as the Central Vermont Railway in 1899.

CVRy operated under the flag of the Canadian National for most of the twentieth century. Rail Tex purchased it in 1995 and re-christened it New England Central Railroad. In 2012, NECRR was acquired by Genesee Wyoming, a holding company that currently has interests in 122 short lines in North America, Europe and Australia.

AMTRAK’s Vermonter operates over the former Central Vermont route. It stops at “Montpelier / Berlin” (the historical Montpelier Junction) five miles south of Middlesex, and at Waterbury five miles north of Middlesex.

The depot in September 2012. Courtesy of George Dutka.

The former Central Vermont depot at Middlesex (built in 1919) closed in 1958. Its siding was removed in the 1960s. Its frame building is slowly rotting away. A 2008 report indicated that the current owner didn’t want it. The town historical society was interested but couldn’t afford to move it. Photos taken by George Dutka in 2012 show a weed-grown property with peeling paint and broken windows.

And then, our Library Assistant added another posting.

Jacob Griffith-Rosenberger, NTTL Assistant wrote:

I got curious about what’s happened to the Central Vermont depot at Middlesex and train station since 2012. I was very happy to discover that it’s being revitalized as an artist’s studio! You can read an article about it in The Bridge, Montpelier and Washington County, Vermont’s local newspaper.

The depot in April 2018, being revitalized as the Pyralisk Art Center. Courtesy of Jim Lowe.
The depot in May 2018, being revitalized as the Pyralisk Art Center. Courtesy of Nicholas Hecht.

The linked newspaper article describes a very interesting chain of events approaching the present day. The former Central Vermont depot at Middlesex could be a building to model for your own pike. Use your imagination: cover it with weeds or bring it back to life with a second purpose.

Read the whole thread described above and see more photos of the depot on the TTML here:

A note on the TTML:

Dr. Lechner reminds us that you can subscribe to the Toy Trains Mailing List by emailing [email protected] and submit posts by emailing [email protected]. If you have a Yahoo! account, you can access the TTML at to apply to join the group, post messages, access photos, and search the group’s archive.