When will Amtrak routes resume in Vermont?

Vermont travelers who prefer the train may be able to take Amtrak by the end of the year, as local officials and advocates call for a return to service.

Two Amtrak trains that previously ran through Vermont—the Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express—stopped coming into the state in late March, following Gov. Phil Scott’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order.

In a meeting conducted by the Vermont Rail Action Network last month, advocates called on the public to contact their local officials to push for the reopening of both passenger lines.

More recently, the Burlington City Council unanimously passed a resolution that “supports the resumption of Amtrak passenger service in Vermont as soon as possible and urges the Governor and his administration to announce a date for service resumption.”

“Many states have resumed Amtrak service and Amtrak has indicated their willingness and readiness to resume service into Vermont as well,” said Burlington city council Jack Hanson (P – East), who sponsored the resolution, during a meeting on Sept. 14.

In an email to the Free Press in June, an Amtrak spokesperson did not give a clear date for passenger lines returning to the state, but stated that “trains will return to service by monitoring demand and working with state partners to prioritize safety.”

Coronavirus: Amtrak temporarily dropped two routes in Vermont, not coming back just yet

A 2013 file photo of an Amtrak train in Richmond.

Scott weighs in on Amtrak service resumption

“We’re continuing to talk with Amtrak, obviously we want to get that going just as quick as we can when it’s safe,” said Scott in a news briefing on Sept. 11. Scott cited low ridership on public transportation throughout the state, but indicated that there were promising signs things could resume prior to the end of the year.

“I’ve heard that there’s some news  [Amtrak] want to start coming back to Rutland first, maybe in the coming weeks, and we’re engaged with them to do whatever we can to provide for the service into Vermont when it’s safe,” said Scott.

The bookends for the Vermonter, a nearly 14-hour ride, are Washington, D.C. and St. Albans. The passenger line has stopped providing service north of New Haven, Connecticut, excluding Massachusetts and Vermont out of the equation.

Similarly, Ethan Allen Express, a five-and-a-half hour ride between New York City and Rutland, is not traveling north of Albany.

The governor added that his administration would work with VTrans and the Department of Health “to make sure we have provisions in place when we do have Amtrak running again.”

“I would say…at least in the next 2 or 3 months, we’ll see Amtrak running again in the state,” Scott said.

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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