I was dismayed to see (in the April 20 edition of the Rutland Herald) that the former Rutland Railroad car on display at the Vermont Farmers Food Center has been vandalized. Despite the progress made with the initiatives of Project VISION and the ongoing revitalization of Rutland's downtown, this senseless act of vandalism is a black eye on the face of Rutland, a denial that this car is part of Rutland's proud heritage and a dismissal of all the good, hard work that has been done by many people to amply demonstrate that Rutland is a good place to live.
It is, perhaps, inevitable that the car will deteriorate further as time goes by; a 100-year-old wooden railroad car with a canvas roof, put on static display outdoors cannot withstand the ravages of time without proper cover. Other examples of Rutland Railroad cars survive, but they are protected within bounds of museums in Connecticut and other states. It's unfortunate that what could be one of Rutland's centerpieces of historical fame could rot away in not only its home state, but its hometown. Graffiti just adds a layer of shame.
A group that I am a member of, the Rutland Railroad Historical Society (rutlandrr.org), will hold its annual convention at the VFW hall in Middlebury on May 4. I urge anyone who has ideas on how to elicit fundraising to properly preserve former Rutland Railroad car 551 with a canopy, to bring ideas, enthusiasm and a can-do attitude to the group and, perhaps, participate in discussions as a guest so that an initiative might be formed to preserve this important part of Rutland's history and railroad heritage.
Philip R. Jordan