The Francis Poulin Collection

The Francis Poulin Collection is a black and white photo and color slide collection mainly concerned with the Rutland Railroad. It appears that Mr. Poulin walked substantial portions of the former Rutland Railroad right-of-way in 1961-1963 taking photos of items of interest as he went along. He covered the Rutland RR from Bennington, VT north to Alburg, VT,  and from Rutland south to Bellow’s Falls. Also included is the B&M from North Bennington toward White Creek, NY and the Addison Branch from Leicester Jct. to Larrabee’s Point. Mr. Poulin covered some sections of the railroad more thoroughly than others. Unfortunately, the volume including Burlington is not in the collection. The photo collection is contained in approx. 20 green three ring binders organized by town.

Mr. Poulin again walked substantial portions of the former Rutland Railroad in 1971 and 1972 and took over 5,000 color slides of the right-of-way and associated buildings and bridges.

Mr. Len Kilian, a prominent railroad historian in the Albany, NY area was aware of the collection and upon the passing of Mr. Poulin was contacted by the family to preserve the collection. Mr. Kilian contacted Rutland Railroad Historical Society Member Jeff English to see if he had interest in the collection. Jeff brought the collection to the attention of the RRHS and the decision was made by the members to purchase the collection. RRHS members Mike Sparks and Randy Laframboise stored the collection for many years until early 2010 when Randy completed scanning and organizing the majority of the collection. At this time, the collection was donated by the society to the Rutland Railroad Archives in the Middlebury College Library Special Collections where it is now available for perusal by all.

The CD containing the scanned images has now been uploaded into the Middlebury College Special Collections website where it is available for viewing by the public. The scanned collection is organized by Town with the photos and slides organized in a north bound direction generally starting from just south of the yard limits in each town and extending north to the approximate yard limits of the next town. I scanned every photo and slide that had any items of interest on them. I did not scan every photo and slide due to time and space limitations. The photos and slides that are not scanned are of basic right of way between towns that had little or no distinguishable features on it such as ROW through woods or fields with no buildings, bridges, etc., on it. I tried to scan enough of the ROW images to reflect the terrain between each town and give a feel on what the ROW looked like between the towns.

I found numerous errors in the dating on the images and location information on the photos and slides. I only changed the information when I was absolutely sure of the accuracy of my information thru personal visits to the locations or corresponding other information in the collection and other sources such as the Nimke books and The Rutland Road by Jim Shaughnessy.

I sincerely apologize for any errors that I introduced during the scanning and organizing process. When using this collection please take all information such as dates and locations with some skepticism and try to find other sources to confirm your assumptions. There are errors in this collection! I put ? marks on some of the captions when I was not entirely sure of the image or when there was conflicting information.

It appears that some of the images in the collection are from sources other than Mr. Poulin and that he may have copied images from other sources and put them in his collection. I did not copy images from the collection that I knew were from other sources. If I mistakenly copied images that were generated from other sources than Mr. Poulin I sincerely apologize to the sources and please know that it was not done intentionally.  

This is an important historical record of the Rutland Railroad and I feel that we owe a huge thanks to Mr. Poulin for his exceptional forward thinking and his enormous efforts to perform this project. Also, much thanks needs to be given to Len Kilian and Jeff English for their efforts to preserve this collection for us all. The Rutland Railroad Historical Society is to be commended for purchasing this collection and maintaining it until delivery to the Rutland Railroad Archives at Middlebury College Library Special Collections.

Randy Laframboise
January, 2010