PHOTOS: Rare gathering of railroad "speeders" has Connecticut River residents asking "What was that?"

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A rare and eye-catching sight took place Saturday as fifty restored "Speeders" took over the railroad tracks on the Vermont side of the Connecticut River and spent the day making their way from White River Junction up to Newport, Vermont.

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    Known officially as "railway inspection motorcars," the spiffy little speeders were a common sight on railroads for most of the 20th century until they were replaced by pickup trucks equipped with rail wheels known as "high-railers" that were also capable of driving on regular roads in between stints on the tracks.

    Today, those speeders that remain are prized by collectors from the North American Rail Car Operators Association who painstakingly restore and then lug them all over the country to go on excursions along scenic railroad lines that they rent out specially for the occasion.

A restored speeder from the Susquehanna Railroad (left) is maneuvered onto the track behind the Amtrak Depot

The hundred or so participants get a safety briefing before setting out first thing Saturday

A speeder brought down from northern Ontario gets ready to roll

Laurie Knight of Illinois squeegees off the windows of her Union Pacific speeder

Engine smoke fills the air as one of the more finicky speeders fires up for the morning

A last minute adjustment to an antenna before setting off along the Connecticut River

The interior cabs of the little rail cars are sparse and completely utilitarian

Vermont News can be contacted at

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