Ethan Allen and Vermont Service

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Joined
May 25, 2006
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Last week we were in Vermont and visited Burlington which gave me a chance to check out the Ethan Allen. For a small state, Vermont is doing a great job investing in passenger rail. The old Burlington Union Station had been developed a few years ago, primarily for offices. With the return of the Ethan Allen the ground floor has now been transformed into a very attractive station. There were several displays that showed the station in earlier days as well as ideas for expanded service throughout other parts of the state. We were there on a weekend when they were having one of the many summer events in town and had great fun at the ' Festival of Fools'.

But I did break away for the departure of the Ethan Allen. A large crowd had gathered for the train and I counted about 40 boarding with many on lookers.. I talked with an obvious railfan (SLR taking many train photos). He had come for the weekend to ride the train and said it was excellent with a good crew. They had good service and no bus detour, although they did travel slowly by the crumbling warehouse. On this trip he said the train was sold out including the BC car with 2/1 seating. He was from NYC and said it was cheaper to stay in a hotel in New York than in Burlington where the Hilton rate was $500 although he used his corporate rate.

In the the photos you can see the gorgeous lake Champlain in the backround with the Adirondack mountains behind. And of course the Green Mountains are very visible to the east of Burlington. I also included a couple photos of the very attractive Vergennes/Ferrisburg station about a half hour south of Burlington that we saw on way back. It's hard to tell it's a new station and so much better than an Amshack. Vermont has done a great job with their trains and shows that states can really do a better job than Amtrak if they are serious about promoting train service.

It's clear to me that Vermont will be adding more service if this is successful. Any bets on what it might be. One of the displays mentioned service to NY via the old Rutland RR from Rutland to Bennington and then into NY! Certainly we all would like to see the Vermonter become the Montrealer.


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thanks for your post. Although my group name here is "MontanaJim" (im originally from Montana) i know live in St Albans, Vermont. Northern nest of the Vermonter. I take it almost weekly and the Ethan Allen occasionally. Im actually riding on 290 south to NYC tomorrow. Yes this state does a good job of supporting Amtrak and public transportation in general. And you are right about hotel costs in Burlington. They are outrageous.
 
The Ferrisburgh-Vergennes station building is not new. It was built in 1851 making it one of the older station buildings served by Amtrak. The building was moved about 1000 feet to its present location and extensively renovated in preparation for the Ethan Allen extension.
 
The Ferrisburgh-Vergennes station building is not new. It was built in 1851 making it one of the older station buildings served by Amtrak. The building was moved about 1000 feet to its present location and extensively renovated in preparation for the Ethan Allen extension.

Thanks, that certainly explains why it has a classic older look but yet seem like new construction! Great job, Vermont.

This prompted me to search for the other new stop, Middlebury. It appears that the old station is still standing but not restored for Amtrak. Rather, a new covered platform serves as the station.

Hard to believe this portion of the the Ethan Allen route hasn't seen a passenger train since the Rutland RR ended service (and operation) in 1953. The portion of their route north of Burlington is now mostly a well used and very scenic bike trail, as the video clip shows, as it skirts the lake. That would certainly have been a better way to get to Canada (it connected to the CN in Rousses Point). Both the Green Mountain Flyer and the Mount Royal provided service to Montreal.

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Recently heard that because of the Rutland to Burlington connection that Amtrak now uses 2 engines on this route. Does anyone know if both are in full operation or if one is HEP and the other is in Tractive mode? Either way, wouldn’t that improve the performance or time of the route due to the extra horsepower available? Certainly should help get up to speed faster on the Albany section
 
Judging by recent photos, it does not look like the Ethan Allen runs with a trailing unit south of Albany-Ren. One unit should have no trouble pulling 5 Amfleet cars at 110 MPH.

They've pondered running it with a stripped HHP electric loco as cab car, but nothing has come of it.
 
Judging by recent photos, it does not look like the Ethan Allen runs with a trailing unit south of Albany-Ren. One unit should have no trouble pulling 5 Amfleet cars at 110 MPH.

They've pondered running it with a stripped HHP electric loco as cab car, but nothing has come of it.
Isn't the top and tail north of Albany mainly to handle the reversal that is needed at Rutland? There is no need for it south of Albany to New York.
 
Isn't the top and tail north of Albany mainly to handle the reversal that is needed at Rutland? There is no need for it south of Albany to New York.
There's been talk about using some of the HHPs as a NPCU on the Keystones as well as New Haven - Springfield in addition to the Ethan Allen as the former Metroliner cab cars have had a number of issues. If it eventually happens, any cab cars they give up on maintaining and permanently pair with an HHP are going to stick around as basic coaches.
 
Michigan DOT had 5 ex-Metroliner cars used as coaches on Pontiac trains. The cab end and the adjacent vestibule were completely covered up and blanked out. They were retired and possibly cut up over 10 years ago. I don't know what the issue was, but makes me doubt Amtrak would be any more lenient with these cab cars if replaced by HHP's.
 
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