1852 The Vermont & Canada Railroad, controlled by John Smith of St. Albans, and the Vermont Central Railroad connect at Painesville (later Essex Junction), providing a direct link from Boston to Canadian and western markets. Burlington, like Montpelier, becomes a spur on the line. Smith gains control of both railroads when Paine is forced out due to a financial scandal.
1853 The Grand Trunk Railroad, a joint effort by Canadian and American investors to build a line between Portland, Maine and Montreal, Canada, is completed. Island Pond, Vermont, the halfway point between these two cities, becomes a major railroad center on the line.
John Gregory Smith, with his father, John and brother, Worthington, were major figures in the development of the railroad system in Vermont. As head of the Vermont Central and the Vermont & Canada Railroad Companies, John Gregory Smith played a key role in connecting New England transportation systems with the Great Lakes. Smith was also a prominent member of the state Republican Party and was elected governor during the Civil War in 1863 and 1864. He was noted for his efforts to recruit troops and he supported the care of wounded Vermonters. Smith is credited with consolidating Vermont’s railroads. Beginning in 1866 he served for six years as president of the Northern Pacific Railroad.
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