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All aboard' for the fall-foliage express - Part 1

This used to be part of the old Rutland Railroad line, said engineer Gary McFarland. This line, between Bellows Falls and Chester, was built in 1849.

Along the route passengers enjoy plenty of idyllic Vermont scenery. There are also many opportunities for photographers and videographers. One locale where the Flyer slows down to let you gape in wonder is the Brockway Mills Gorge along the Williams River. The deep, narrow canyon and waterfall can only be seen from the train crossing the Green Mountain Railroad trestle at Brockway Mills.

The Green Mountain Flyer could reach a brisk 65 MPH if it was in a hurry, but the idea here is to relax. So, dont expect to go faster than 40 MPH along the varying grades between Bellows Falls and Chester.

Between Bellows Falls and Chester Depot, the Flyer crosses the Williams River seven times. It is difficult to imagine all the work that was involved in creating the 1849 railbed. Many rocky cuts are encountered that would have involved considerable blasting.

A fall foliage rail trip in Vermont wouldnt be complete without a covered bridge. Passengers have a chance to view two of Vermonts lesser known covered bridgesthe Worrel and Bartonsville bridges. Both bridges were built in the 1860s. The original 152-feet-long long Bartonsville Bridge, built in 1869 by Sanford Granger, stood for only a year; it was replaced in 1870 after a roaring flood washed out many bridges, mills and homes along the Williams River.

A 30-minute layover in Chester Depot permits passengers to do some gift shopping at circa 1858 Cummings Hardware Store or buy a deli sandwich at the general store across the tracks. Then its back to Bellows Falls. Total elapsed time, a little over two hours. Every minute worth $17 ticket for adults and $13 for children.

To reserve train tickets, check out a train schedule, or simply learn more about the Green Mountain Flyers fall excursions, check out www.rails-vt.com or call, toll-free, 1-800-707-3530.

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