Essex Junction-Burlington, VT (ESX)

The Essex Junction station, which also serves the nearby city of Burlington, was once part of a major crossroads served by six railroads.

29 Railroad Avenue
Essex Junction, VT 05452

Station Hours

Annual Ticket Revenue (FY 2021): $254,375
Annual Station Ridership (FY 2021): 4,091
  • Facility Ownership: New England Central Railroad
  • Parking Lot Ownership: New England Central Railroad
  • Platform Ownership: New England Central Railroad
  • Track Ownership: New England Central Railroad

Jane Brophy
Regional Contact
governmentaffairsnyc@amtrak.com
For information about Amtrak fares and schedules, please visit Amtrak.com or call 1-800-USA-RAIL (1-800-872-7245).

The Essex Junction station, which also serves the nearby city of Burlington, was once part of a major crossroads served by six railroads. The current facility, a single-story contemporary depot, was constructed in 1958 for the Central Vermont Railroad (CVR). Amtrak passengers share the building with its current owner, the New England Central Railroad, and a cellular station. The station is also served by local Green Mountain Transit bus routes.

The depot stands near a busy intersection known as Five Corners, where main east-west roads from Burlington meet two major north-south roads – in addition to the at-grade rail nexus that intersects these roads. Essex Junction is served by the Vermonter (New York-New Haven-St. Albans), but residents also have access to the Ethan Allen Express (New York-Albany-Burlington) that stops about six miles to the southwest at Burlington Union Station on the shore of Lake Champlain.

Local citizens have made a practice of picking up litter in the vicinity of the train tracks, weeding and planting flowers near the station and promoting the Vermonter with informational flyers. A weekly farmer’s market is held across the road from the depot as part of events celebrating Railroad Avenue and the village’s railroad heritage, which include special day trips on the Vermonter.

When European explorers first visited what is now central Vermont, it was primarily inhabited by bands of Western Abenaki American Indians who spoke an Algonquian language. They lived with the landscape, moving throughout the year to take advantage of opportunities for hunting – including deer, moose and waterfowl – fishing and foraging of nuts and berries. They also came together on a seasonal basis to plant crops such as squash, beans and corn.

In 1609 Samuel de Champlain of France was one of the first Europeans to navigate the lake that now bears his name. But Vermont remained beyond the sphere of most European-American colonists well into the mid-18th century and acted as a buffer zone between the French towns of lower Canada and the English settlements of coastal New England. The region became attractive to English colonists after the British defeated the French in 1760 and gained permanent control of Canada.

Burlington was part of the colonial New Hampshire land grants made by Governor Benning Wentworth in 1763 to Samuel Wills and 63 others, but it was not truly settled until after the American Revolution, and the town was organized around 1785. The village on the shore of Burlington Bay looked across Lake Champlain, and soon developed an active wharf supporting both commercial and passenger traffic.

Not far away, across the Winooski River, which enters Lake Champlain to the north of Burlington, Ira Allen, brother to the more famous Ethan Allen, constructed a dam at the bend of the river between what is now Essex Junction and Williston. Hubbell Falls, as it was called, became the site of early industry, beginning with a sawmill. Early in the 19th century a tavern and rest station were built there, conveniently close to the east-west road to Burlington. However, the village of Essex Junction truly came into its own with the arrival of the railroad in 1849.

The Vermont Central Railroad (VCR) was chartered on October 31, 1843, to build a line across the center of the state from Windsor on the Connecticut River, through Northfield (the railroad’s headquarters) up the valley of the Winooski River through Williston, Essex and finally to Burlington. A second line, part of the Vermont & Canada Railroad, was to go from Essex to St. Albans. In the late 1840s, a line was planned from Burlington to Montreal, through St. Albans and Essex, as were several others. The VCR finally ran into Burlington in December 1849; two weeks prior, the Rutland & Burlington Railroad had arrived from the south, and its depot was within blocks of the VCR’s.

During the 1850s, a depot was constructed in Essex Township to accommodate passengers, and the area was formally named Painesville. However, conductors on trains pulling into the station would announce to passengers that they were approaching Essex Junction, to let them know this was the place to change trains; the name stuck. Essex Junction prospered from this through-traffic and was incorporated as a village in 1892.

The next incarnation of the village’s passenger depot went up in 1862, with a large covered shed that sheltered three tracks and passenger platforms. In the late 19th century, horse-drawn trolleys also served the area, running between Winooski, Fort Ethan Allen and the Essex Junction depot. Within a decade, in 1872, the VCR was reorganized as the Central Vermont Railroad (CVR). This building was torn down in 1958 and replaced with the current structure. A small depot at Essex Center, on the Burlington and Lamoille Railroad, which ran east from Essex Junction, is still standing but was abandoned when the rails were torn up in 1938. Today it has been renovated as a private residence.

The railroads passing through Essex Junction saw considerable prosperity in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first of the 20th, which was when the precursor of the Vermonter had its inception. The Montrealer/Washingtonian (Washington-New York-Montreal) launched in 1924 and became the flagship of the CVR’s passenger service. The northbound train was known as the Montrealer and the southbound train was called the Washingtonian – nicknamed “Bootlegger” during Prohibition years.

When Amtrak began operations in May 1971, Vermont was initially left out of the company’s system since the last passenger rail service within state borders had ended in 1966. Vermont leaders and advocacy groups mounted an effective campaign to revive rail service, finding success with the launch of the revived Montrealer/Washingtonian (Washington-New York-Montreal) in September 1972.

The train – later known simply as the Montrealer – gained a reputation for its cosmopolitan flair, with menus and other information printed in English and French.  Amtrak heavily promoted the train to skiers, since it stopped at towns such as White River Junction, Montpelier and St. Albans that were in close proximity to major ski centers including Stowe, Bolton Valley, Jay Peak and Smuggler’s Notch. The train was well-known for its tavern-lounge car called “Le Pub,” which had the atmosphere of a cocktail lounge complete with piano player. The overnight Montrealer was replaced on April 1, 1995, with the daytime Vermonter, which ends its northbound journey at St. Albans.

Much of Essex Junction’s economy from the 20th century through today has been supported by IBM, which established a facility for its Data Processing Division in the village in 1957. The plant expanded over time to become IBM’s Microelectronics Division – producing microchips – and was the largest private employer in Vermont at its height, with 8,500 employees and more than 3.3 million square feet of building space. In 2014, IBM sold the plant to GlobalFoundries. The facility has long served as the hub of a growing network of technology consultants and software developers that fuels the regional and statewide economy.

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.

Station Building (with waiting room)

Features

  • ATM not available
  • No elevator
  • Payphones
  • No Quik-Trak kiosks
  • No Restrooms
  • Unaccompanied child travel not allowed
  • No vending machines
  • No WiFi
  • Arrive at least 30 minutes prior to departure
  • Indicates an accessible service.

Baggage

  • Amtrak Express shipping not available
  • No checked baggage service
  • No checked baggage storage
  • Bike boxes not available
  • No baggage carts
  • Ski bags not available
  • No bag storage
  • Shipping boxes not available
  • No baggage assistance

Parking

  • Same-day parking is available; fees may apply
  • Overnight parking is available; fees may apply
  • Indicates an accessible service.

Accessibility

  • Payphones
  • Accessible platform
  • No accessible restrooms
  • No accessible ticket office
  • No accessible waiting room
  • No accessible water fountain
  • Same-day, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
  • Overnight, accessible parking is available; fees may apply
  • No high platform
  • Wheelchair available
  • Wheelchair lift available

Hours

Station Waiting Room Hours
Mon08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Tue08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Wed08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Thu08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Fri08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Sat08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Sun08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Ticket Office Hours
No ticket office at this location.
Passenger Assistance Hours
No passenger assistance service at this location.
Checked Baggage Service
No checked baggage at this location.
Parking Hours
Mon08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Tue08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Wed08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Thu08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Fri08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Sat08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Sun08:44 am - 10:44 am
07:15 pm - 09:15 pm
Quik-Track Kiosk Hours
No Quik-Trak kiosks at this location.
Lounge Hours
No lounge at this location.
Amtrak Express Hours
No Amtrak Express at this location.