PHOTOS: Hartford Village and WRJ start to bounce back

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Eric Francis

Railroads expect to be back in action Wednesday night

HARTFORD VILLAGE - Railroad tracks were still hanging in space with nothing to support them on Sunday morning even as a small army of 20 dump trucks and a couple dozen railroad contractors from as far away as Ohio arrived on scene determined to have trains rolling back through White River Junction by late in the day Wednesday.

The washout left a huge open space beneath the tracks paralleling Old River Road

Dump trucks for the railroad rebuild arrive at a staging area off Mill Road on Sunday morning

    Meanwhile, on Old River Road, just below where the tracks washed out in Saturday evening's flash flooding, Hartford's fire marshal condemned several buildings, including an apartment that housed a couple and their two young children.

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    Peter West and Jessica Greenwood waited outside Den & Company's beauty salon and stared up at the windows of their apartment above it on Sunday morning hoping to hear word as to whether they would be allowed back in even briefly to try and salvage their belongings.

    "I'd just brought the dog in and all the sudden there was a big whooshing noise and my son looked outside at the garage and we saw the van poking out," Greenwood recalled Sunday as she waited with West outside.

    AC Motors owner Chuck Gordon, whose buildings were destroyed, said he was amazed at the outpouring of support he's received since the sun came up Sunday, which included a visit from Governor Phil Scott.

    "The governor's been here this morning, the chief of police has been here, the head of the fire department, the selectman have been here to meet with us this morning and I'm really thankful for the response," Gordon said, "Just having them showing up and giving us a word of wisdom and encouragement makes a lot of difference."

     "At this time right now they are going to condemn the whole center section of this building," Gordon said as he wiped away some of the ubiquitous mud that was everywhere in the aftermath.  "We are trying to work with the railroad but being a holiday weekend it's hard to get everyone here.  They've brought in a lot of equipment, including a big excavator with a long reach, but they still don't know how they are going to get to the back side of my building to rebuild it."

    "The first building is going to be okay and the five-bay garage at the end," will likely end up standing, Gordon said, adding, "Hopefully we are going to save the stuff that is in (Pete's Coffee's) warehouse.  He's got $400,000 worth of product in there.  They distribute Pete's Coffee and honey and maple syrup so we've got storage units coming down from Lucky's Trailer Sales and we are trying to get everything out fast because they are afraid the bank is going to let go again, especially when they start shaking stuff up there," as they repair the train tracks.

    "There's no salvaging my daughter's beauty salon," Gordon said. " The whole back wall is totally blown out.  It just totally filled right up with mud.  It's sad because she didn't have an insurance.  My insurance adjuster is on his way from Maine, but you never know what's going to happen.  I have to be thankful to the people who showed up this morning to give support.  The governor said he will do whatever he can do to help us out.  The biggest thing right now is just not knowing.  There are a lot of people we can't even get through to until Wednesday."

Chuck Gordon, in front of his badly damaged buildings, expressed gratitude at the outpouring of support

Inside Gordon's repair garage where the rear wall was shoved completely inside by the wave of mud

Outside the relatively unscathed warehouse for Pete's Coffee

Working to save undamaged products from inside the warehouse on Sunday

A trailer residence just down the street at 130 Old River Road was pushed forward several feet off its footings

The mudslide filled the backyard of the residence a couple of feet deep

An ATV in the backyard was partially buried by the rocks and debris

    In downtown White River Junction, Amtrak passengers were loaded onto buses for the southbound run on Sunday morning in a pattern that is expected to persist until at least mid-week.

Three chartered buses rolled into White River Junction Sunday to pick up Amtrak passengers


Amtrak passengers cued up next to the parking lot rather than on the station platform

Amtrak Vermonter conductors Clark Zelazo (left) and Jim Leatherman still made the journey with their passengers despite the lack of a train

In a sign of life returning rapidly to normal, Robert Varela sang and played his guitar downtown at Fred Briggs Park.

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