Palmer, MA
  next stop to theupleft Amherst, MA Montrealer (1989 to 1995)   Willimantic, CT next stop to thedown 
Vermonter (1995 to December 28, 2014)
Trains Reversed Direction
  next stop to theleft Springfield, MA 
 Lake Shore Limited   Worcester, MA next stop to theright 
Home<Amtrak<Palmer, MA - Not a Passenger Stop

Palmer, MA is the town of the seven railroads and 3 still call it home today. There is not currently any passenger service today but from 1995 until December 28, 2014 the Vermonter underwent its back up move (crossing two manually operated switches) to switch from the New England Central railroad from Northfield, Mass (just south of the Vermont border in Massacussettes) to CSX tracks to Springfield where it joins Amtrak trackage for the rest of its journey south to New York and Washington. The Lake Shore Limited also passes through. This is all in view of the former Palmer Union Station, a large brick station surrounded by railroads and former platform areas on two sides and was built in 1883 by H.H. Richardson. It is now the Steaming Tenders Restaurant that includes an outdoor ice cream window, and a few railfans used to venture there everyday between 1:30 and 3:30 when first the westbound Lake Shore Limited passes, followed by each direction's Vermonter within a hour of each other. The train schedule on their website is relatively accurate. A low fence runs along the former platform offering excellent views and photo opportunities of the passing trains. In parking lot of Steaming Tenders is a 1915 Porter 0-6-0 Engine #102 once Owned By Southern Sand & Graver, and another old parlor car.

Palmer has never been a station stop in the Amtrak era, although I did find an article from the freak snowstorm in late October 2011 when the eastbound Lake Shore Limited and the Vermonter nearby got stranded overnight (passengers were all given food). The next morning passengers on the Lake Shore (I assume here) were offloaded onto buses to finish the rest of their trip on buses (Lisa Caruso. 'Amtrak Restores New England Service After Snowstorm Strandings' Bloomberg, November 4, 2011 Link and '48 spend night on halted Amtrak train from Chicago', ABC WLS-TV Chicago, October 30, 2011 Link). One newspaper article from 1992 discusses how the classic depot is trying to become a hub of passenger rail service again ('Palmer Wants to Be All Aboard Amtrak' Worcester Telegram & Gazette, July 12, 1992, Link).

Since Vermonter service was rerouted to the more direct Pan Am Railroad Knowlege Corridor/Connecticut valley route, I highly doubt rail service will ever be restored to this town of 12,000 that also even lacks regular bus service. I ended up visiting the station by car, taking a slight detour while driving back from Vermont, it was a Tuesday and Steaming Tenders was closed. I wanted to make sure I got photos of the back-up move before the Vermonter is rerouted. The crews were even friendly with their acknowledgment: the conductor had opened the back door of the last Amfleet coach of the Lake Shore Limited to wave at the few of us at the railfan spot. The crew of the Vermonter waved as they did there switch work (a few tracks away from the former platform). There is also a nondescript building owned by the New England Central Railroad. The final photos are out the window of the last Vermonter doing its switching move in Palmer going northbound.
Photos 1-40 taken on 20 March, 2012, 41-49: 28 December, 2014

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Looking across the CSX tracks to the depot beyond them
The steam engine and parlor car in the parking lot
Speed Limit for both cars and horses
This fence is all that separates railfans from the trains
Locomotive #102
A front view of #102
The depot turned restaurant
#102 on its own tiny section of track
NECR Leased SW1500 #2340 and a mixed raw materials train, mostly lumber
A NECR Palmer sign
The large parking lot and depot beyond
The old parlor car
The Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited #449 approaches
Lake Shore Keeps Approaching
P42 #119 is the first of 3 locomotives pulling just 5 cars of the Boston section of the Lake Shore Limited (they will gain 8 more come Albany from the New York section added in back)
The Lake Shore Limited keeps approaching
P42 #119 is the first of 3 locomotives pulling this 5 car train
P42 #198 is the third locomotive
P42 #198 passes and the baggage car beyond it
The one Viewliner Sleeper of the Boston Section
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Home<Amtrak<Palmer, MA - Not a Passenger Stop

Last Updated: 29 December, 2014
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