New Haven train depot moves to new home

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 6:49 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:09 AM EST
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NEW HAVEN, Vt. (WCAX) - A part of Vermont’s past hit the road early Wednesday morning saving it from being derailed.

After months of discussion, Wednesday was moving day for the historic New Haven train depot. The still of the night awoken by the sounds of men and machinery.

The station built in 1868 was deemed too close to the upcoming Amtrak expansion from Burlington to Rutland. It had to be torn down or moved. Federal and state funds saved the structure.

Messier House Moving was in charge of the rollout. “We get off Route 7 will be a weight off my mind,” said Jason Messier. If this was an orchestra, Messier would be the conductor.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Jason, how’s it going so far?

Jason Messier: Usual. A little controlled chaos -- finding little details, getting set.

It’s a family business. Messier’s mom and dad, Carla and Norm, are also working on the move. At about 3:30 a.m. they’re just about ready to go for the one mile an hour trip down Route 7.

Reporter Joe Carroll: I’ve heard of an 18-wheeler, what’s this?

Jason Messier: 80.

And with the sound of the horn, they’re off. “Main thing is don’t get in front of the wheels,” Messier explained.

Carefully maneuvering the 180-ton brick structure to its first stop a quarter-mile away -- on track and on schedule. But the winds and sub-freezing temperatures test the crew. “Earning your pay today,” Messier says to a crew member.

Bernie Noble has been here since October with his camera to document the process. “I’m sure they got their fingers crossed everything will go well,” Noble said. The move is bittersweet for him and many in town. “Most people believed, wished, hoped, that it could stay where it is but that’s just not possible. They’re glad because it’s being saved.”

Its new home will be about two miles away next to the town offices. But first, they need to get it there in one piece. They maneuver between the building and the gas station canopy with just inches to spare. “Little tighter than I thought it would be,” Messier said. “Getting off Route 7 and getting past the island -- that was the main concern for me.”

And with that, the first leg of the journey is complete.

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