ST. JOHNSBURY – On Saturday, September 14, two locomotives and six historic coaches will depart from the historic downtown St. Johnsbury train depot and head south on one of the most beautiful train rides in New England.
The train rides, part of the daylong Colors of the Kingdom Community Festival being held in downtown St. Johnsbury, will start at 9:30 a.m. and be repeated at 11:30 a.m., 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. from the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center. The train follows the tracks of the Connecticut and Passumpsic Railroad, established in 1850, and clings to the banks of the Connecticut and Passumpsic rivers, cutting through massive rock ledges and crossing many bridges.
The train travels all the way to East Ryegate, where the train will be reversed for the trip back to St. Johnsbury. The ticket fare is $14 for adults, $7 for children 12 and under, with “lap kids” free. Food and snacks are available at the vendor fair being held throughout the day at the St. Johnsbury Welcome Center.
“We really try to make the train rides as affordable as we can,” said Darcie McCann, executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber, which organizes the event. She credits festival sponsors for their assistance in keeping ticket prices lower. Train passengers are encouraged to bring binoculars and cameras on the train excursions, as bald eagles and other wildlife are often seen along the route.
The train rides are just one part of the townwide festival, with events held all over downtown St. Johnsbury on Sept. 14. Festival activities include a vendor fair, farmers’ market, parade, bluegrass festival, pancake breakfast, pie sale, book sale, craft events, music, ghost walk and more.
Sponsors of the daylong event include TD Bank, Price Chopper, Northeast Kingdom Human Services/Northern Counties Health Care, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, Fairbanks Scales, Murphy Realty, Passumpsic Savings Bank, Community National Bank, Union Bank Weidmann Electrical Technology, Town of St. Johnsbury, Caledonian-Record, Vermont Broadcast Associates, Fred’s Energy and Begin Realty.
For more details or to reserve/purchase a train ticket, please contact the NEK Chamber at 800-639-6379, 802-748-3678 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets may also be purchased online at catamountix.org or at the NEK Chamber office, located on Route 5 in the Green Mountain Mall in St. Johnsbury Center, and at the welcome center on the day of the event. A full schedule of the day’s activities can be found on the calendar at www.nekchamber.com.