Central Vermont DP1 #922 in CN green & yellow

When the Canadian National divested itself of the Central Vermont in 1995, it was purchased by a holding company that renamed it to the New England Central, then went on a spasm of union busting so they could operate the trains with one man crews.

In a different world this would have worked out fine for the holding company, but, sadly, even though the CV was more than a match for the Rutland it wasn’t really a match for the now expanding & militantly union PV&T. No decisions came down from the central offices in Montréal to strangle the railroad (which had a couple of lengthy electrified stretches of joint line with the PV&T and it would be bad if they were compromised) but the union crews were peeved enough at just how this competitor was planning on making money that they started to work much more efficiently than the PV&T realized was possible to pull discretionary traffic away from the NECR.

This didn’t kill the NECR, but it hurt its bottom line, so those poor one-man crews were driven harder and harder to try to keep up with their electrified and angry competition.

This is what killed the NECR; overwork w/o crew backup made the crews sloppy, and there were a string of derailments including a nasty derailment that dropped a dozen tank cars into the White River just west of White River Junction.

By the end of 1998, the holding company had had enough, so they cut ties with the NECR, which promptly filed for bankruptcy to stave off fiscal death from lawsuits. The PV&T’s head office was staying pointedly out of the intra-railway labor feud, but had been paying attention to the situation and when the bankruptcy petition hit the court made an offer to buy the railroad and its debts.

In the middle of 1999, the deal was finalized and the once again Central Vermont Railway became yet another railroad under the PV&T’s control. With 3-person union crews, as G-d and the union seats on the board of directors intended.

Over the next few years all of the EMD motive power that came with the railroad were either sold or sent up to Maine to join the existing (almost) exclusively EMD fleet based at Milo, replaced with a potpourri of rebuilt C-425’s and new switchers from ILW.

  • Copyright © 2024 by Jessica L. Parsons (orc@pell.portland.or.us) unless otherwise noted
    Tue May 3 00:41:38 PDT 2022