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Passenger Trains > 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlington


Date: 09/11/19 12:16
'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlington
Author: Dcmcrider

Vermont Public Radio reviews the 23-year saga of the proposed Rutland-Burlington rail link.

https://www.vpr.org/post/did-it-work-bringing-amtrak-train-service-rutland-burlington#stream/0 

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 09/11/19 12:28
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: joemvcnj

There is some controversy on where to park the train overnight in Burlington, so whether or not to extend it to St Albans via Essex Jct, which requires upgrading 9 miles of track east of Burlington. Then which VT train, or both, becomes the Montreal service, how to schedule them.

If they both go there, or one becomes overnight like the Montrealer, and considering the presence of the Adirondack, would there be conflicts within Montreal Station with use restricted to just Track 23 with Customs ?

Right now the Rutland train is on a Manhattan-oriented corridor-like schedule on weekdays, with consideration for weekend trips to Rutland on Friday nights and back Sunday night. That all goes away if put on a daily, long, daytime schedule to points much farther north.   



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/19 12:30 by joemvcnj.



Date: 09/11/19 12:38
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: Lackawanna484

Thanks for that background.

How is the NYC - Rutland traffic doing? It used to be very strong to sold out on weekends, light during the week.

Posted from Android



Date: 09/11/19 13:22
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: Dcmcrider

Amtrak hasn't seen fit to update its "State Fact Sheets" since 2017.

2017 numbers were 14,267 on/off at Rutland and another 4,198 at Castleton. Of course, those are not broken down by weekday/weekend. I couldn't find any patronage data on the Vermont Agency of Transportation site.

Paul Wilson
Arlington, VA



Date: 09/11/19 13:29
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: CPR_4000

Dcmcrider Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> 2017 numbers were 14,267 on/off at Rutland

By my math, that comes out to about a busload a day ... 38 passengers. But then we don't know about patronage at intermediate stations (except the one noted).



Date: 09/11/19 13:57
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: PRSL-recall

I'm sure there are a lot of on's & off's at Saratoga Springs - a staffed station. No checked baggage though as neither this nor Adirondack carry a baggage car. One big reason I never use it as a connecter when going to and from the west.



Date: 09/11/19 16:31
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: GenePoon

There is not a lot of population between Rutland and Burlington on the old Rutland RR line, that all this money
is proposed to be poured into; not enough to justify the expense.

Green Mountain Transit runs a frequent service between Essex Jct. Amtrak and downtown Burlington VT.  20 minute
headways in daytime, 30 minute headways at night.  Negotiate a Thruway Bus deal with them, through-ticketed
with the Vermonter.

Not every train, or proposed train, is a good train.  But then, it IS Vermont's money.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/19 16:31 by GenePoon.



Date: 09/11/19 17:14
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: PRSL-recall

You make a very logical point Gene, what you say is very true - the largest population center would no doubt be Middlebury. Shelburne might have potential as well though just south of Burlington. Vermont in general seems to be more pro-rail, passenger train-friendly than some other areas. The Vermonter has become quite popular with so many VT stations (9). The extended Ethan Allen could possibly steal some passengers from the Vermonter (especially in Essex Jct., even if only Burlington becomes the northern terminus of the Ethan Allen) because running time via New York State beats via Springfield, Hartford and New Haven. This could at least be true for those NYP-bound since anyone going further south are bound to prefer the Vermonter to avoid changing at NYP - any time gained would be quickly lost, plus great inconvenience.

The other negative, as joemvcnj mentions, will no doubt be later NYP arrivals, earlier departures. Silver Meteor connections severed. There are certain dynamics subject to change. No doubt VTRANS in VT will have some kind of expectations when the service starts. 

Another point here re. Green Mountain Transit. Their busses are definitely geared for commuters only. I don't think they are equipped for baggage underneath and the passenger area seats are close together. Don't even believe there are any overhead racks. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/11/19 17:39 by PRSL-recall.



Date: 09/11/19 17:34
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: joemvcnj

Green Mountain Transit is the local transit bus operator. This is their Route 2, though that and Route 6 are thru-routed and now called the Blue Line. The fare is $1.50. There is no need for thru-ticketing. The point of extending the trains beyond Burlington to St Albans is to avoid lay-up issues in Burlington and use what exists in St Albans.

http://ridegmt.com/?fbclid=IwAR2Q_9E4wGc-EsRY2o_KDS8-Zd3IcbotwKObewPL5ZKWuNFTD6d0cSCfLsE



Date: 09/11/19 17:45
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: Lackawanna484

Vermont Translines bus also provides service from Burlington and its airport to Rutland, and on to Albany and Albany airport.

https://www.vttranslines.com/bus-schedules/

Burlington VT airport has been very popular with Canadian visitors to the US. The (relatively) low costs to places like Clearwater FL, Fort Myers FL, Vero Beach FL are attractive to many travelers.  Many flights to Newark,  JFK, Charlotte, Boston, etc.



Date: 09/11/19 17:49
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: joemvcnj

They basically back-filled for the Vermont Transit/Greyhound Albany - Burlington Service that the latter killed about 10 years ago. It was a well patronized sevice that ran twice day whose loads averaged 2 passengers below break-even. 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/19 06:59 by joemvcnj.



Date: 09/12/19 07:26
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: 4489

joemvcnj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> There is some controversy on where to park the
> train overnight in Burlington, so whether or not
> to extend it to St Albans via Essex Jct, which
> requires upgrading 9 miles of track east of
> Burlington. Then which VT train, or both, becomes
> the Montreal service, how to schedule them.
>
> If they both go there, or one becomes overnight
> like the Montrealer, and considering the presence
> of the Adirondack, would there be conflicts within
> Montreal Station with use restricted to just Track
> 23 with Customs ?
>
> Right now the Rutland train is on a
> Manhattan-oriented corridor-like schedule on
> weekdays, with consideration for weekend trips to
> Rutland on Friday nights and back Sunday night.
> That all goes away if put on a daily, long,
> daytime schedule to points much farther north. 
>  
Customs in Central Station.  Yup STILL waiting, Still waiting!!!!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/19 19:15 by 4489.



Date: 09/12/19 22:53
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: jp1822

The western corridor has no interstate highways to compete with - only U.S. Route 7 that gets easily backed up due to the traffic lights. 

You've also got a HUGE college population that I think would use the Ethan Allen Express if extended - especially Middlebury College, and the five or so colleges in Burlington. It would be seen as a faster option to get to southern destinations, especially NYC. The Vermonter already does a pretty descent college patronage. 

The major final destination should be Burlington, downtown Burlington at best. It would be the fastest rail route to the city from southern Vermont and down state NY, and especially NYC. 

Scheduling would be the trick, as would final end-point. Would it make more sense to run the Vermonter on its current route from St. Albans/Montreal and through central and southern Vermont to Springfield, but then head due east to Boston as final destination? Change of trains in Springfield for continuation to NYC and Washington DC? Maybe there's even through cars subtracted and added at Springfield, MA for travel to/from NYC and Washington DC? The Burlington train -  Ethan Allen Express - is the main NYC terminal train. The Ethan Allen Express may benefit from a late afternoon departure from NYC and reaching Burlington, VT at 11:30 pm. Perhaps the Montreal trains remain to be just the Vermonter and Adirondack. Same sort of timing southbound, leave Burlington late afternoon (alternative to the Vermonter out of Burlington) and reaches NYC at 11:30 pm. Near the turn of the 21st century - there were plans for a high speed train to go from Montreal to Boston. It was believed to have been a good market. Plans called for existing stations from Montreal to White River Junction and then sort of a southeast route from White River Junction to Boston over ROW that is now abandoned or not used. But could use existing track from WRJ to Springfield and then to Boston. Regardless, if proper scheduling was done between the Adirondack, Ethan Allen Express, and Vermonter, and perhaps some changes to the overall routes, different markets could be tapped and all train equally successful. 

Why hasn't the issue of the "backup move" that would be required at Rutland been brought up? This is actually one of the major hurdles, or at one time was identified as such, in getting up to Burlington. Discussions have ranged from re-designing the junction to being forced to do a multi-mile back-up move of some sort. The Rutland station is actually located south of where the line comes in to head north to Burlington.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
 As for storage - The Green Mountain Flyer train gets serviced in the Burlington Train Yard just south of the station. Is there any reason as to why this is not being considered? I mean you are talking about a dinner train that has to be stocked, fueled, and stored with many more cars than what the Ethan Allen Express would ever have........

As much as I'd love to see the Vermonter become an overnight train between Montreal and NYC/Washington DC once again (catering to another market), I don't ever see that happening again, even though it would be a perfect "hotel on wheels" type of operation. You could actually limit the dining car operations or food and beverage options. After all, the Montrealer never had a full dining car that I remember; passengers had to use the Amfleet cafe car or Heritage Lounge car. As crazy at that sounds, it was recently proposed by some entrepreneur to run a train of four sleeper cars to/from Montreal once again on the Adirondack's route. 
 
Done smartly, I could see the Vermonter, Adirondack, and Ethan Allen Express working well together. Perhaps Vermont could even sponsor - through the Green Mountain Flyer or local funds and equipment - a train that connects Rutland and Bellows Falls (cross-state train). Millenials tend to not own cars and live in big cities. They would see the "train to Vermont" as a positive travel option I would think. More importantly, the colleges directly along the Vermonter's route and Ethan Allen Express route should add patronage. Since the 1920s, Vermont has always championed itself as a tourist driven state   

I'd be a frequent rider on the Ethan Allen if extended to Burlington, VT, or if the Vermonter is ever an overnight train once again (a wishful prayer!).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             



Date: 09/13/19 06:52
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: PRSL-recall

JP1822, you certainly have some intelligent thoughtful ideas. If only Amtrak had a management team that did. The CEO and Board are woefully out of touch which has been discussed many times. If only Congress can / could be convinced of it. I would hope that continued evidence of Amtrak charting their own course to the disregard of Congress will be a wake-up call. It would also be nice if there was a national rail advocacy group that would work to this end since the past 20-21 months have demonstrated the drastic need for it.

Vermont does have a pro-rail attitude. You see almost no adversarial efforts. There are no Class I freight corporations to fight with. The population-at-large is supportive and approving of the Vermonter - and the Ethan Allen as well though so far only 2 VT station stops.  When it was seriously challenged (under the Douglas Administration) there were many coming to its rescue, me included. All 3 of the Congressional delegation are pro-rail.

Re. the routing between WRJ and Concord NH, as you say most of it is abandoned.I can only guess that the NIMBY's of NH would be out in force if revival was on the table. Via Springfield MA may be the only practical potential routing. Also, a routing on the Concord line would probably necessitate a North Station end-point?

Re. a diner on the Montrealer, I may stand to be corrected, but it may not have had one at all in Amtrak days (if so it would have only been for a short time after re-inauguration). You'd probably have to go back to the CN-CV-B&M-NH-PRR era.  I do remember seeing in print in the Official Guide on B&M's page that there was a note stating that all their trains were without meal service, running with RDC's with the exception of the Washingtonian & Montrealer.

 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/13/19 07:10 by PRSL-recall.



Date: 09/13/19 10:05
Re: 'Did It Work?': Bringing Train Service From Rutland To Burlin
Author: sums007

PRSL-recall Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> JP1822, you certainly have some intelligent
> thoughtful ideas. If only Amtrak had a management
> team that did. The CEO and Board are woefully out
> of touch which has been discussed many times. If
> only Congress can / could be convinced of it. I
> would hope that continued evidence of Amtrak
> charting their own course to the disregard of
> Congress will be a wake-up call. It would also be
> nice if there was a national rail advocacy group
> that would work to this end since the past 20-21
> months have demonstrated the drastic need for it.
>
> Vermont does have a pro-rail attitude. You see
> almost no adversarial efforts. There are no Class
> I freight corporations to fight with. The
> population-at-large is supportive and approving of
> the Vermonter - and the Ethan Allen as well though
> so far only 2 VT station stops.  When it was
> seriously challenged (under the Douglas
> Administration) there were many coming to its
> rescue, me included. All 3 of the Congressional
> delegation are pro-rail.
>
> Re. the routing between WRJ and Concord NH, as you
> say most of it is abandoned.I can only guess that
> the NIMBY's of NH would be out in force if revival
> was on the table. Via Springfield MA may be the
> only practical potential routing. Also, a routing
> on the Concord line would probably necessitate a
> North Station end-point?
>
> Re. a diner on the Montrealer, I may stand to be
> corrected, but it may not have had one at all in
> Amtrak days (if so it would have only been for a
> short time after re-inauguration). You'd probably
> have to go back to the CN-CV-B&M-NH-PRR era.  I
> do remember seeing in print in the Official Guide
> on B&M's page that there was a note stating that
> all their trains were without meal service,
> running with RDC's with the exception of the
> Washingtonian & Montrealer.
>
>  

#60/61 did have a dining car in its consist in Amtrak days, along with a lounge that skiers loved on winter Friday nights.



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