Editor's Note: This article was updated on July 16, 2021, at 4:40 p.m., to include comments from Christopher Parker, of Vermont Rail Action Network.
DUMMERSTON — A culvert on Mill Brook near the Connecticut River got washed away by stormwaters, stranding railroad tracks in the air.
But the washed-out culvert won’t prevent the return of Amtrak to Vermont on Monday, said Tom Ciuba, a spokesman for Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, the owner of New England Central Railroad, which operates on 228 miles of rail in the state.
“We are working to get this restored on Sunday,” Ciuba said.
"I have heard the washout is 70 feet and involved a blocked culvert, blocked by a beaver making a damm" wrote Christopher Parker, of Vermont Rail Action Network, on Friday.
He said the bank gave way while a rail inspector was present on Tuesday.
"Two northbound freight trains were in Brattleboro waiting to go north over that section," said Parker. "If not for the precautions taken, there would have been a derailment for sure."
Two crews from New England Central Railroad and one crew from a contractor are working to replace the culvert that was washed away by stormwaters from a thunderstorm on Tuesday.
While the tracks are used for daily freight traffic, the washout was discovered by a crew driving a hi-rail pickup that inspects the tracks every day, he said.
Crews are using excavators and a bulldozer and trucks to haul in fill to repair the damage, Ciuba said.
Because the culvert is owned by the railroad company, the state has not been involved except to grant permitting and to close the Dummerston boat launch so it can be used as a staging area for repairs.
Ciuba noted that while it might be fascinating to stop by and take a look at the work, New England Central Railroad is asking that folks stay away for their own safety.
“The scene of the washout is private property, and only authorized persons can access the site,” he said. “Heavy-haul traffic will be moving to and from the repair site, making it potentially unsafe for unauthorized people to approach.”