Amtrak and the state of Vermont have a special promotional fare of $12 on the Amtrak Vermonter for travel within the state of Vermont.
In addition, 15 lodging properties in communities along the route have put together special packages to encourage overnight and multiday stays in Vermont’s historic downtowns.
The Vermonter is scheduled so that passengers from northern Vermont can take day trips to eastern and southern Vermont. Passengers from Southern Vermont need to stay overnight if traveling north.
Click here for more information about Packages along the way.
To get this fare, request discount code V569 [this is the code for 2013]
To book this on the Amtrak website, start making a reseravation, which will show at the regular price. After clicking "choose this one" when it shows the train availability, the NEXT screen after gives you a chance to lower the price with the discount. Don't worry about the initial higher price being shown, you don't have to commit to pay until after the discount is applied.
You can also get this fare by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL, however you are likely to run into reservation agents who do not know this special fare exists and have to look it up. Occassionally you will have to be firm and insist that they do so or talk to a supervisor.
There is a major reason why we cannot close the Ethan Allen, because it is part of a major corridor project for the Rutland Region and Western Vermont.
The strategic funding plan for the Western Transportation Corridor Project included improvements to US RT 7 and rail improvements on western lines, from St. Albans to Bennington, ending in Rensselaer NY. The improvements are broken into small projects but are part of the whole plan to improve the transportation network in Southwestern VT. The Ethan Allen will be a stepping stone to the Albany, Bennington, Rutland, Burlington, Essex (ABRBE) Regional Passenger and Freight System to serve Vermonters in state, Tourism business travelers and the Southwestern Vt Economy (JOBS). This system is going to be a seamless service to connect to the southern and western section of US freight and passenger service. This would be the final stage. To stop at stage 1 of the plan, the Ethan Allen, would cut future federal funding and private investment to this Corridor Project. This Rail project has been key to getting major federal funding for track improvements and highway improvement funds. (Senator Jefford’s Legacy Bill $30 million rail improvement)
This was the deal to abandon the Rutland Bypass Project during the 1980's (proposed $175,000 Million project). The State and the Rutland Region agreed to improve existing corridor projects (rail and RT 7) are a major part of this agreement. Therefore, why are we not funding the largest transportation plan in the state. During the 1950’s when Interstate 91 and 89 were built, Southwestern Vermont had been promised that western Vermont was next for improvements. We cannot pull one small piece of corridor infrastructure that’s supporting the economic or transportation network in southwestern Vermont without hurting the whole structure.
We are not asking for a new highway, interstate or rail projects, we are just asking to improve what we have in place today. This has been the Agency of Transportation's policies for five years. So, when are we going to finally say that it is time to keep our promises and complete and preserve these western corridor improvement projects.
The Ethan Allen is part of this promise.
Here are numerous unanswered questions and points regarding the VAOT Amtrak Bus that should be raised with the Governor and legislators. The Rutland County delegation is unified in their opposition to the administrations proposal and understands the economic importance of the train.
1) The Administration is promoting the bus as an improvement over the train to Rutland. When asked recently no Amtrak passengers seem to agree.
2) They also say it is temporary. Even the Governor himself gave caution in the Rutland Herald recently about that point.
3) Amtrak indicated last week that there is a deficient in equipment in the US so if we eliminate the Ethan Allen Express train it will get quickly scooped up and may be a long wait to get it back.
The ETHAN ALLEN is a successful and growing service: Patronage on the
ETHAN ALLEN has been growing every month for most of the last two
years. Overall ridership in FY 2008 climbed 17.5%, with revenues up
13.6%. It is completely counter-productive to squander this gain with
a "bustitution" that will not work. Rather we can enhance the train
with a properly-designed bus connection and gain added revenues higher
than the projected savings from the train-off proposal.
Once gone there is little chance the train will ever return: The last
passenger service before the ETHAN ALLEN on the
Albany-Whitehall-Rutland route closed in 1937, 59 years before the
ETHAN ALLEN began in 1996. The last service on the more direct line
from Troy to Bennington, Rutland and Burlington was lost in 1953.
If the ETHAN ALLEN is canceled Amtrak is certain to reassign its
equipment, as the company is already desperately short of cars. Once
the cars are gone Vermont will have to buy new cars in order to
restore service. Even at today's prices this would cost us at least
$3,000,000 per car and probably more by 2013.
[Published in the Times-Argus, and the Rutland Herald]
Used with Permission.
It was very disturbing to see the recent piece in the Free Press
suggesting that the Vermont Agency of Transportation was flirting with
massive cut-backs in Vermont's Amtrak services. This comes just as we
have a new administration in Washington strongly committed to rail and
after our Congressional delegation got language into the new Amtrak
authorization making future Vermont/Amtrak capital projects like the
purchase of new diesel multiple unit cars potentially eligible for 80%
Federal funding. Most particularly it is alarming in the face of the
unprecedented recent ridership gains on our trains.
According to the latest edition of the Transportation Energy Data Book from Oak Ridge National Laboratory's website (edition 26):
In 2005, domestic airlines on average consumed 20.5% more energy per passenger-mile than Amtrak, while cars consumed 27.2% more than Amtrak. Looked at the other way round, Amtrak consumes 17.0% and 21.4% less energy per passenger-mile than airlines and cars, respectively. [One passenger-mile is one passenger traveling one mile.]
Those percentages are derived from these Oak Ridge figures (British Thermal Units or BTUs per passenger-mile, 2005 data), organized here most to least efficient:
Commuter rail: 2,743
Rail transit: 2,784
Certificated air carriers: 3,264 (excludes international services)
notes of interest:
Amtrak consumed 14.6 trillion BTUs in 2005, which was 8.2% less than 15.9 trillion in 2003 and 19.3% below Amtrak's peak year of energy use (2001, with 18.1 trillion BTUs).
Amtrak in 2005 consumed 65,477,000 gallons of diesel fuel and used 531,377,000 kilowatt hours. [Both figures exclude consumption by commuter railroads for which Amtrak provides services.]
This indicates that 62.3% of Amtrak energy is diesel fuel vs. 37.7% electricity.
[Note that about half of Amtrak's ridership is on the more efficient electric powered routes in the Northeast.]
The tables from this document you may find most useful are:
Table 2.12 Passenger travel and energy use, 2004
Table 2.13 Energy intensities of highway passenger modes, 1970-2005
Table 2.14 Energy intensities of nonhighway passenger modes, 1970-2005
Table 9.10 Historical Amtrak figures including car-miles, train-miles, etc.
Table 9.11 Summary statistics for commuter rail operations, 1984-2005
Table 9.12 Summary statistics for rail transit operations, 1970-2005
Table A.15 Intercity Rail Fuel Use
[Note: Table 2.12 has 2004 data because 2005 data is not yet available for some modes. As the relevant footnotes explain, the airline statistics in Table 2.12 include "1/2 of international scheduled services" whereas those in Table 2.14 do not include any international services. This report also has considerable freight data.]
The "What's New" page for Edition 26 reports that, "The transportation share of U.S. energy use reached 28.4% in 2006 which is the highest share recorded since 1970."
Several comments regarding what is the most energy-efficient way to travel . . . [By Christopher Parker]
First, the decisions are different if you are an INDIVIDUAL or a society. For us individuals, if we travel on something that's already going there, we are using NO fuel and causing NO pollution - unless we displace someone else who then has to drive.
Figures on energy efficiency are different, depending on if you measure seat-miles or people-miles. Airlines do better than Amtrak at cramming every last seat full of people. Automobiles are typically occupied by one person - so they get twice as efficient if two people are in them.
Much of the environmental impact of driving comes when building the car in the first place, which is added on top of the figures above. There is a lot of value in going car-free, and for society, in enabling people to be car-free. Thus renting a car every weekend is preferable to owning one.
Another measure, not often talked about, is the amount of land required. On this railroads are much superior to roads. I'm not sure if airports (which are very big) have enough footprint to cancel not needing any land at all once you are in the air.
It seems ironic that a train named for a legendary Vermonter comes to a halt almost as soon as it enters the Green Mountain State! But every mid-day a train departs New York City, glides up the scenic Hudson Valley, stops in Saratoga but only sticks it's nose into Vermont at Fairhaven and Rutland. Unlike the real Ethan Allen, it leaves Vermont for New York. Whenever it comes back, it quits.
It’s time for this train to live up to its name: let it service Vermont’s western corridor as well!
The legislature has recognized by resolution what the logic of population suggests. This train should go to Burlington! We should be serving the greatest number of people with the best service! As there is no interstate corridor on this route, the train becomes even more important!
Operating the Ethan Allen Will be $237,000 Cheaper From Burlington
Yes, it’s true! Extending the train will make it cheaper to run! How’s that? Because Burlington is many times the size of Rutland, which means that Amtrak forcasts ridership to rise at least 50% (a conservative estimate), yet it’s only an hour and forty minutes further to operate, meaning only marginal additional costs. The extra revenue from Burlington passengers exceeds the extra costs.
Adding revenue is another way of saying that there is a demand for the service!
By adding ridership and improving the economics, the sustainability of this train will be improved, helping the environment and the long-term success of this important economic asset to Rutland and the western part of Vermont.
It has been estimated that perhaps 10% of current airline passengers from Burlington would switch to trains if they were available. Others who now drive would also welcom rail service. The several colleges in Burlington and Middlebury would no doubt contribute a heavy student traffic (as they do now for the Vermonter).
Train service should be available the length of the western side of the state, serving all communities from Bennington to Rutland to Burlington and beyond.
Greyhound has absorbed Vermont Transit and no longer serves passengers up and down the western edge of the state. Major Vermont cities are thus completely unlinked except by private automobile.
In order for train service to be competitive on this route, some of it needs to be upgraded from it's current 30mph top speed to 59mph. In the scheme of things this is not a large expense, and even better we are excited to report that the money is there, thanks to a Federal appropriation Jim Jeffords managed to secure. VTRANS has not yet spent these funds, but we are confident this will happen soon, giving the green light to passenger service.
Amtrak, like all other forms of transportation, depends on tax dollars, which means poltical will. You must let your legislators know that you want train service up and down the Western Corridor. Let them know it's time to get this train back on OUR Vermont tracks!
Railcars now enter Vermont without a full load because Vermont’s rail network doesn’t meet the national weight standard of 286,000 lb. Rebuilding the track for passenger trains will also improve the standards for freight, benefiting all Vermonters who depend on the fuel and commodities handled.
Talking Points About Extending the Ethan Allen
The added White River Jct.-New Haven train frequency in the Colorado railcar DMU plan and the knowlege corridor plan 1b restores connections to Amtrak’s Chicago, West Coast and Florida routes. Before schedule changes imposed by Amtrak for operational reasons broke these connections to the existing train, they typically accounted for 25+ passengers daily. The restored St. Albans-Montreal VT/”Ambus” connection should also produce at minimum 25 passengers each day. Combined these actions alone raise ridership by 50+ per day.
These 50 passengers per day, over the course of a year, would alone increase ridership by 18250. Given present VERMONTER ridership of about just over 50,000 per year [since increased to more than 70,000], this would give us a 36% overall ridership improvement even with no other gains.
The most critical needs for the VERMONTER are new equipment, aggressive local marketing and coordination of the train with local connecting buses.
Ø Marketing should be targeted primarily at in-state media sources. In the past, emphasis was placed on out-of-state advertising of Vermont Amtrak services. While it is true that an ad in the Sunday New York Times Magazine may reach several million readers, the number of those readers intending to travel to Vermont is likely to be limited. For the same cost as a single ad in the Times, the message could be repeated for weeks in the local Vermont papers.
Ø In a general way, Vermonters know the train exists; but they have little real knowledge of where or when it goes or how comfortable, reliable and convenient the service is. By advertising locally, we can sell the benefits of using the train to ski, visit family, sightsee, attend the theater in New York, or take the family to the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Ø The trains need to be coordinated with local transit. The state should immediately charter a replacement connecting bus from St. Albans to Montreal. This service produced an average of 20-25 passengers per day for the train, most of them riding long-distances at higher fares. When VT dropped the Montreal service, the state did not pick it up as a state charter. A great part of the decline in VERMONTER patronage ensued. California is the national model for “Ambus” operations. Experience there has shown that an average of 20-25 passengers per day will more than pay for added bus connections.
Ø Existing local bus services should be coordinated with the train. The most obvious examples are Stowe to Waterbury; Newport to St. Johnsbury and White River Junction; Okemo/Ludlow to Chester and Bellows Falls; and Mount Snow to Wilmington and Brattleboro. To succeed, these services must appear in the Amtrak timetable, be ticket-able by any Amtrak agent, and closely coordinated to the arrival times of the train.
Ø We should seek agreement with Massachusetts to rebuild the track from East Northfield VT to Springfield MA. This would speed up operations to New Haven by nearly an hour and add the large population centers of Greenfield, Northampton and Holyoke to the route. It eliminates the time-consuming directional reverse at Palmer MA on the present route and shortens the line. With a pro-rail administration in Boston and our pro-rail VT/MAdelegations in Washington, this could now very well be possible.
We need to continue the VERMONTER and improve its services. The DMU plan should be adopted and fully funded.
[Adopted from testimony by Carl Fowler before the Vermont legislature]