Thanks, edbear. I hadn't known this, though I was aware of the downgrading (and subsequent dismemberment) of the WN&P.
John Barlow: I read in several newspapers a few years ago that there were estimated to be well fewer than a hundred rattlesnakes left in New England north of the Mass.-Conn. border (and that Connecticut apparently had very few as well). They were thought to live in tiny colonies scattered here and there. But they do exist, at least outside Maine, and you may indeed have chanced upon one. The only rattler I ever encountered in my life was on the Cheshire Branch of the B&M in Fitzwilliam, about 45 years ago. I had been camping overnight on a nearby pond and decided to go for a walk on the roadbed in the morning. In those days the Cheshire was almost, but not quite, abandoned, so I figured (correctly) that I probably wouldn't meet a train. I did, however, meet a rattlesnake, curled up and sunning itself in the middle of the track. As I approached it, it began to rattle. I promptly turned around.