The Central Vermont Railway


The Central Vermont Railway (CVR) occupies an unusual place in North American railway history. Located in the American states of Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, the railway line was owned and operated for more than seventy years by the Government of Canada. For a period of time, Canadian ownership was the key to survival for this important bridge line and regional railway.
Acquired almost by chance, Canada chose to invest in the CVR for a number of reasons. For a young country with vast spaces and a limited population, the Vermont‑based railway offered Canada direct access to New England markets. At the same time, Canadians welcomed the arrival of fresh produce and other products from south of the border.
Under the watchful eye of Canadian National Railways (CNR), the Central Vermont Railway negotiated times of financial hardship, natural disaster, war and, on occasion, good profits. For nearly a century, the railway ensured the flow of goods, services and people between Canada and the United States, and helped pave the way for future trade and travel between the two countries.
The following photos offer a brief glimpse into this colourful chapter of Canadian railway history.