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Nostalgia & History > Champlain Flyer Burlington VT 2002

Date: 03/17/23 22:31
Champlain Flyer Burlington VT 2002
Author: erielackawanna

In July of 2002 I was in New England for a family reunion. We added a couple days in Stowe, which gave me a chance to ride the Champlain Flyer, a commuter train that ran from Burlington to Charlotte (railfan dad strikes again). The operation was still fairly new and ran all day with a HEP-added GP38-2 painted in a nice service-specific livery. The cars were "Boise Budds," de-powered RDCs that had been used on Virginia Railway Express and the MBTA prior to that. I am guessing, but I think they were originally Boston & Maine. The track was Vermont Railway's former Rutland. The morning of July 1, 2002, I got up before dark, leaving two toddlers and one tired wife in the hotel in Stowe, drove the half hour or so to Burlington, passing the University of Vermont on the way, and found the grand two-story edifice of Union Station in downtown Burlington. The boarding area was disconnected altogether from the station. North end of the train was an RDC turned into a cab car. South end was the GP38-2. I was psyched as the sun angle was going to be perfect, only to find a small fence in front of the engine at Burlington obstructing the view. I paid the $1 fee and boarded the train. As I got on, the conductor (trainman?) was there and I told him I was riding to Charlotte and back, only I pronounced it like one pronounces the large city in North Carolina. He looked at me like I was quite slow and asked back, "Do you mean Char-lot?" "Sure," I answered. It was a nice ride, rural and trees, with a good view of the Vermont Railway yard just south of the station. We got to Char-lot and I got out for what I assumed would be a beautifully lit shot, but the tracks were fenced off, so I shot from the dark side. I got back on and rode to Burlington. Figured I'd be back and see this neat operation again, but it would be shut down seven months later due to low ridership. (IMPORTANT - The photo in Burlington has been Photoshoped. I removed a fence that was blocking part of the front of the engine.) First image, Burlington VT, July 1, 2002. Second image, Charlotte VT, July 1, 2002.

Date: 03/18/23 06:29
Re: Champlain Flyer Burlington VT 2002
Author: Gonut1

Good look at what was a very short-lived operation. It looked promissing but just not enough population density to make it a go.
Thanks for the look back.

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