In 1964 Nelson Blount moved his Steamtown
U.S.A. steam locomotive collection from the old Boston
and Maine rail yard
in North Walpole, NH to a new site roughly two
miles north in Bellows Falls, VT. This latest location was at the former
site of a proposed Rutland yard in Riverside, just north of North Walpole
and Bellows Falls, VT. Tracks fanning out from a turntable provided an
excellent place to display his collection of steam locomotives. Over the
years, excursion trains were run out of four different locations:
Sunapee, NH, Keene, NH, North Walpole, NH, and Bellows Valls, VT.
For a more complete description of Steamtown's early history, see this page
Tragedy struck in 1967 when Nelson Blount was killed when his private
plane crashed into a tree in Marlborough, NH. Nelson was only 49.
This event took a lot of steam out of Steamtown. Most of the operational
steam locomotives were either sold or fell into disrepair. Then, in 1970,
Vermont passed air quality regulations which prohibited steam operations.
Diesel locomotives were then used on Steamtown excursions and
ridership fell dramatically. Despite the air quality regulations,
the Steamtown Foundation again began operating with a steam locomotive.
By 1983, Steamtown again had many (six) operating steam locomotives.
Despite the resurrection of steam locomotives, Steamtown was in financial
trouble. It was determined that the main problem was its location --
isolated from any major population center. In 1984, Steamtown was moved to
Scranton, PA. Still losing money, the Steamtown Foundation went bankrupt in
1986. Congress created the Steamtown National Historic Site and the National
Park Service acquired the collection.
The following photographs show the collection when it was displayed at
Riverside, just north of Bellows Falls, VT.