CLAREMONT, N.H.—On Friday October 9, 2015, civic and business leaders gathered at the Claremont station to dedicate a new enclosed, wood frame shelter that protects passengers from inclement weather and provides bench seating. A fanciful weathervane featuring a steam locomotive tops the handsome structure. Claremont is served twice a day by the Vermonter (Washington-St. Albans, Vt.).
Local businesses donated all material for the shelter, and volunteers contributed their time to finish, stain and seal the timbers, as well as landscape the surrounding area. The Claremont Cycle Depot, which occupies the former Boston and Maine Railroad passenger depot adjacent to the tracks, allowed the shelter to be constructed on its property.
“All of the recent improvements at the Claremont stop are because this community has embraced rail as an economic driver in the region.” – City Councilor Charlene Lovett
Claremont, home to western New Hampshire’s only Amtrak station, provides access to attractions including winter sports facilities and wilderness areas. City government, with the assistance of residents, has taken a proactive approach to improving the station in order to position it as a regional gateway. The shelter is the latest step in a series of improvements the community has undertaken to promote intercity passenger rail service.
In July 2014, the City Council created the Ad Hoc Committee for the Claremont Train Stop to explore ways to enhance the station. Objectives include increasing ridership, promoting economic development and supporting tourism. By the end of the year, the city had installed Trailblazer signage on local roadways to guide travelers to the station and also initiated a one-year pilot program during which a Community Alliance Transportation Services (CATS) bus meets the southbound Vermonter on weekdays.
“When members of the business community learned of the need for a waiting pavilion, they worked with the committee to provide the land, foundation and structure. All of the recent improvements at the Claremont Amtrak stop are because this community has embraced rail as an economic driver in the region,” notes City Councilor Charlene Lovett, who also chairs the Ad Hoc Committee.
The Vermonter is financed primarily through funds made available by the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. In Fiscal Year 2014, the service carried nearly 90,000 passengers, representing a six percent ridership increase over the previous year.