In the late 1800s, Springfield needed a railway in order for the town to grow. Across the River, tracks of the Sullivan County Railroad were already laid north as far as White River Junction. Establishing a rail connection from Springfield became such a priority that in 1896 the Town created the Springfield Electric Railway Company, and gave municipal funds to support building a 4-mile link to Charlestown.

The power house and dam at Gould's Mills supplied the power to run the railway.

The trolleys that ran on that line from Springfield to Charlestown were affectionately called the "Toonerville trolleys" after a cartoon strip popular during the early 20th century.

The rail service gave rise to an industrial boom that gained Springfield the title "Precision Valley", on account of its reputation for industrial craftsmanship and precision manufacturing.

A trolley in downtown Springfield, 1941

Gould's Mill fire, 1901

Film of the Springfield trolley in motion...

And here's the electric-powered freight train...

More: Springfield Vermont Online History Links