Officials all aboard Vermont project

November 9, 2015

Nearly 80 lawmakers, state officials and friends of passenger railroading took something of a victory lap Thursday with an excursion on a vintage train from Middlebury to Burlington’s Union Station and back.Website Insert Passenger Trains Very Well copy

The journey was to commemorate the state’s recent receipt of $10 million in federal funds to groom the Rutland-Burlington Western Rail Corridor for an extension of Amtrak’s New York-Rutland Ethan Allen Express to the Queen City.

The Vermont Rail System (VRS), which provides freight service on the state-owned corridor, furnished the excursion train – a locomotive and four cars reconfigured from 80-year-old commuter coaches originally used in New Jersey. A cash bar anchored the on-board celebration, while, in another car, a guitarist and tenor saxophonist offered musical accompaniment, the sax’s notes uncannily akin to the locomotive’s blasts as the train lumbered through a gray November landscape.

The event’s sponsor, the Vermont Rail Action Network (VRAN) advocacy group, used the train’s three-hour layover at Burlington’s Union Station for the organization’s annual dinner and meeting, where Agency of Transportation (VTrans) Secretary Chris Cole offered keynote remarks. Preceding him, speakers including representatives of Amtrak and VRS, were incandescent over the prospects for passenger rail’s return to the city.

Read the full story from journalist C.B. Hall in VTDigger by clicking here.

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