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Aboard the White River Flyer

Helping Passengers Enjoy Vermont’s Beauty

  • Mary Lee Haglin, of Clark's Summit, Pa., enjoys the solitude of a quiet rail car while traveling south along the Connecticut River on the White River Flyer in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. Haglin and her family had traveled to Vermont from the mid-Atlantic and Midwest specifically to ride the train. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Mary Lee Haglin, of Clark's Summit, Pa., enjoys the solitude of a quiet rail car while traveling south along the Connecticut River on the White River Flyer in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. Haglin and her family had traveled to Vermont from the mid-Atlantic and Midwest specifically to ride the train.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • On-Board Passenger Representatives (in red, from left), Janice Fleetwood-Bean, Herb Russell, and Lucy Maiolini-Heft review the seating arrangements with Conductor Bill Topovac (in neon yellow) before boarding the train on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. With several stops and a full train, seating arrangements are often difficult to coordinate. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    On-Board Passenger Representatives (in red, from left), Janice Fleetwood-Bean, Herb Russell, and Lucy Maiolini-Heft review the seating arrangements with Conductor Bill Topovac (in neon yellow) before boarding the train on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. With several stops and a full train, seating arrangements are often difficult to coordinate.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Passengers on the White River Flyer wait for a tour group to exit the train at the Montshire Museum of Science on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The train, which runs once a day, three to four times a week in the fall, stops at the museum, Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, Vt., and Pompanoosuc Mills, also in Thetford, before returning to White River Junction, Vt.<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Passengers on the White River Flyer wait for a tour group to exit the train at the Montshire Museum of Science on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The train, which runs once a day, three to four times a week in the fall, stops at the museum, Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, Vt., and Pompanoosuc Mills, also in Thetford, before returning to White River Junction, Vt.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • A group of 100 passengers wait to board the White River Flyer at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The Thursday train, which offers unique views of the foliage and the Connecticut River, was the busiest so far of the season- completely sold out. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    A group of 100 passengers wait to board the White River Flyer at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The Thursday train, which offers unique views of the foliage and the Connecticut River, was the busiest so far of the season- completely sold out.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Green Mountain Railroad's Lucy Maiolini-Heft, of Chelsea, Vt., ties the shoe of June Niles of Moira, N.Y., while Niles' friend, Ellen Smith, of North Bangor, N.Y., watches with amusement at the end of their ride on the White River Flyer in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Green Mountain Railroad's Lucy Maiolini-Heft, of Chelsea, Vt., ties the shoe of June Niles of Moira, N.Y., while Niles' friend, Ellen Smith, of North Bangor, N.Y., watches with amusement at the end of their ride on the White River Flyer in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Green Mountain Railroad's Janice Fleetwood-Bean wipes down all the tables on the White River Flyer after all 300 passengers exited the train in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

    Green Mountain Railroad's Janice Fleetwood-Bean wipes down all the tables on the White River Flyer after all 300 passengers exited the train in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013.
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap Purchase photo reprints »

  • Mary Lee Haglin, of Clark's Summit, Pa., enjoys the solitude of a quiet rail car while traveling south along the Connecticut River on the White River Flyer in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. Haglin and her family had traveled to Vermont from the mid-Atlantic and Midwest specifically to ride the train. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • On-Board Passenger Representatives (in red, from left), Janice Fleetwood-Bean, Herb Russell, and Lucy Maiolini-Heft review the seating arrangements with Conductor Bill Topovac (in neon yellow) before boarding the train on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. With several stops and a full train, seating arrangements are often difficult to coordinate. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Passengers on the White River Flyer wait for a tour group to exit the train at the Montshire Museum of Science on the Green Mountain Railroad in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The train, which runs once a day, three to four times a week in the fall, stops at the museum, Cedar Circle Farm in Thetford, Vt., and Pompanoosuc Mills, also in Thetford, before returning to White River Junction, Vt.<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • A group of 100 passengers wait to board the White River Flyer at the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. The Thursday train, which offers unique views of the foliage and the Connecticut River, was the busiest so far of the season- completely sold out. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Green Mountain Railroad's Lucy Maiolini-Heft, of Chelsea, Vt., ties the shoe of June Niles of Moira, N.Y., while Niles' friend, Ellen Smith, of North Bangor, N.Y., watches with amusement at the end of their ride on the White River Flyer in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap
  • Green Mountain Railroad's Janice Fleetwood-Bean wipes down all the tables on the White River Flyer after all 300 passengers exited the train in White River Junction, Vt., on Oct. 3, 2013. <br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Janice Fleetwood-Bean walks two miles while traveling 26. It’s not an unexplainable feat — it’s part of her job.

Perhaps a hundred times a day, she walks back and forth among the six rail cars on the Green Mountain Railroad’s White River Junction train, the White River Flyer, as the train travels to Thetford and back.

Fleetwood-Bean, along with two other passenger representatives, Herb Russell and Lucy Maiolini-Heft, act as onboard tour guides, customer service representatives, waitstaff and janitors for the 200-300 people who ride the train.

“People don’t realize how much work we passenger reps do,” said Russell, a Rutland resident in his second year with Green Mountain Railroad. He previously held a 35-year career at American Airlines as the head of the cabin crew on trans-Atlantic flights. Jet plane or 1930s train, he said, customer service is the same.

“You definitely have to be a people person and always be thinking ahead of what people need.”

Working on a historic train that winds around the colorful Vermont countryside is just about as appealing in person as it sounds on paper.

As Maiolini-Heft travels between cars, finishing her chat with a group of Californians, she smiles.

“That’s the best part of my job,” she said, “meeting new people from around the country and teaching them about my state.”