NORTH BENNINGTON - In January 1964, the Vermont Railway began servicing over 125 miles of former Rutland Railway track from Burlington to White Creek, N.Y., which included four and a half miles of rail between North Bennington and the Bennington Station. Although the North Bennington station had closed in the early 1970s due to neglect, the Second French Empire-style station was restored by the Scotts family in 1972 for public meetings in the village, but was no longer a part of VTR.
VTR invited the public to ride a passenger train on a round trip to and from Manchester on the system's 50th anniversary on Saturday, in which over 700 people climbed aboard between two departures. Additionally, the North Bennington Village Board of Trustees held an open house for the station until the second departure at 2 p.m.
"This was a part of the original Vermont Railway, and we wanted to include the southern end of the system," said VTR assistant Vice President Seldon Houghton. "We haven't run any passenger trains down here in quite a few years. We thought this was a good opportunity to do that."
Saturday's train ride was offered as a part of a series of free train rides across the state this year. Houghton said it is VTR's way of showing appreciation for community, town and customer support. To make reservations for other free trips this year that are a part of the anniversary celebration, visit http://www.vrs.us.com/vrs50 trips.html.
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