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.