Trolley Mail in Vermont - Page 4

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 (7)      Rutland Street Rwy Co (Main Line, fairgrounds to West Rutland, 5.5 miles; and a City Line in the village, 2.5 miles, originally; electrified by November 1894, and extended to Castleton, Lake Bomoseen (summers only), Fair Haven and Poultney in 1906, total 35 miles.  No mail contract in 1906 (Annual Rpt, PMG), and none shown in the Vermont Railroad Commissioner's Report from 1902 through 1915, but the Official Register (US) for 1907, 1909, shows that there was a route in those years, route 303008.  Also, reference is made (Allan A. Sher, Rutland Historical Soc.  Quarterly, Vol X, Winter 1980) to a mail-carrying car on the Poultney run.  There is a photo of this car, no US Mail sign visible, nor is the photo dated, but it would have to be 1907 or later.  Lake Bomoseen run closed 1916, the rest in 1924.

(8)       Bennington and Woodford Electric Rwy (on abandoned right of way of the Bennington and Glastenbury RR), 7/14/1895, 9 miles.  Probably no mail contract, shut down 10/5/1898 after a flood.

(9)       Bennington and North Adams Street Rwy Co (originally ran from Bennington to N. Bennington, 2/10/1898; extended to Hoosick Falls, NY, 7/3/1898, and in 1906, to North Adams, Mass, becoming part of the much larger Berkshire Street Rwy), 12 miles in Vermont.  This line reported mail income to the Vermont Railroad Commissioners in 1913, '14 and '15, but it is not clear between what points the mail was being carried; probably Bennington-North Bennington.  Closed after the 1927 flood.

                    (10)     Barre and Montpelier Traction Co (State House, Montpelier to S. Main St, Barre, with branch lines in both cities), 6/29/1898, 9 miles, but apparently no mail contract , at least not in 1906, or 1912, '13 (Vt Railroad Commission Rpt, Public Service Commission Rpt).  Shut down after the 1927 flood. (This line might be the one added in 1912 or 1913, a 9-mile addition--but the Ann.  Rpt of the PMG still says only 7 routes, even though the miles went up).
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*The Springfield Reporter of Dec 22, 1899, announced that starting Dec 24th, the "electric cars" would meet the northbound B & M train at Charlestown at 11:14 p.m. "Thus was instituted the trip called the 'midnight', although it left the village around 10:30 p.m., was back around 11:45, which ran for almost 50 years thereafter ... This also developed an unusual and most useful mail service to New York City.  First class mail could be left at the Adnabrown desk during the evening.  The hotel clerk would turn it over to the midnight trolley conductor, who in turn would put it on the railway mail car of the train at Charlestown.  The mail would then be taken to White River Junction, where it would be transferred to the southbound "Owl".  The mail so handled, in spite of going through Charlestown twice, was in New York before noon.  This was a splendid arrangement and lasted for years until the Post Office Department decided to discover it.  It was then halted since neither the hotel clerk nor the trolley conductor were acting as employees of the Post Office". (The History of Springfield, Vermont, 1865-1961, Keith R. Barony, 1972, emphasis added).

**There is a very detailed history of the Mount Mansfield Electric Rwy, full of human interest, by Alton G. Wheeler in Waterbury Sketches--but virtually nothing on the mail contract (Waterbury Historical Soc, 1976).
                    ***The existence of this map was brought to my attention by J. R. McFarlane, who is working on a history of the St Albans Street Railway.  There is a copy of it in the Franklin County Historical Museum, St Albans.

                         Note: The various sources from which information was drawn (principally, AR/PMG, reports of the Vt Railroad Commissioners (PUC), and Railway Mail Service schedules) do not seem to be in complete agreement.  The inconsistencies are probably more apparent than real, however, due in part, perhaps, to such things as electric railways filing incomplete reports with the PUC, and the fact that there is no single year for which data from all three sources were available for comparison.  It does seem odd, however, that three of the lines known to have had mail contracts (Burlington Traction, Rutland Street Railway, Berkshire Street Railway) never show up in the RMS schedules, and that other lines are in those schedules for some years, but not others.

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