BURLINGTON, VERMONT – Officials from the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) were joined by federal, state, municipal and Amtrak leaders, as well as local residents and rail advocates, on the morning of July 29, 2022, to celebrate the extension of daily Amtrak Ethan Allen Express service from Rutland to Burlington, Vermont’s most populous city. It marked the first time since 1953 that Burlington and intermediate stops at Ferrisburgh-Vergennes and Middlebury had been served by regularly scheduled passenger trains. The Ethan Allen Express, which is financed primarily through funds made available by VTrans and the New York State Department of Transportation, connects 15 communities from Burlington to New York City.
Following refreshments and live music at historic Burlington Union Station on the shore of Lake Champlain, the crowd listened to remarks from Sen. Bernie Sanders, Governor Phil Scott, Vermont Secretary of Transportation Joe Flynn, Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell, Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner and many others.
“After decades of work and over a hundred million dollars in state and federal investments, today’s re-opening of Amtrak services from downtown Burlington is an exciting day for Vermonters,” said Scott. “All of us here in Vermont are grateful for the support of our federal Department of Transportation partners, our Congressional delegation, state legislators and countless rail advocates to bring this service to fruition. We are very proud of the collaborative efforts and widespread support to deliver passenger train service from Vermont’s largest city to New York City.”
“The thing that unifies everybody at Amtrak is a really simple idea – which is that trains can do and must do a lot more for the nation. We need more trains in more places serving more people. Today’s event is about… setting a new narrative for a sustainable, just, convenient rail service across the nation.”Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner
“This elusive milestone was forged by years of hard work and investment by advocates and officials of all levels of government. To some, train service brings back past memories and nostalgia. But train travel is also an important part of our future,” added Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger. “This new route will provide a needed boost to our local economy and will give Vermonters a lower-carbon connection to New York City and the rest of the Amtrak system.”
After officials together cut a large green ribbon, they boarded the first southbound train along with hundreds of customers. Cheers greeted the train as it made stops at Ferrisburgh-Vergennes, Middlebury, Rutland – the train’s former northern terminus – and Castleton, the last stop in Vermont before the route enters New York State and heads west to Albany-Rensselaer and then south along the majestic Hudson River to the Big Apple.
VTrans rehabilitated historic passenger facilities and built new accessible components to get ready for the start of service. In Burlington, customers have access to a spacious waiting area at Union Station and a new concrete platform. In Ferrisburgh-Vergennes, customers use one of the oldest railroad depots (c. 1851) in the state and the national Amtrak system, along with a new platform. Located within walking distance of the Village Green, the Middlebury stop includes a new platform and canopy across from the town’s 1891 railroad depot, which was repurposed for commercial use many years ago.
Vermont committed more than $115 million in state and federal resources to extend service north to Burlington. In addition to the Ethan Allen Express, VTrans, along with the Connecticut Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, also provides financial support for the daily Vermonter. It operates between St. Albans, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., via Springfield, Massachusetts, New Haven, Connecticut, and New York City.
Posted August 2, 2022.