Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Ethan Allen Express’

Amtrak Vermont Service to Resume July 19

April 9, 2021

Amtrak service to Vermont will resume on July 19.

The service has been suspended for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the trains suspended since March 26, 2020, are the Washington-St. Albans Vermonter and the New York-Rutland Ethan Allen Express.

The routes will be among the last of those suspended during the pandemic to resume service.

“We are very pleased to announce the restart of these vital transportation services for Vermonters and those who wish to travel to and from Vermont by train or bus,” Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn said in a statement.

 “With the Governor’s announcement this week of the Vermont Forward Plan to re-open Vermont fully during the next few months, we now have a target date for when we will be able to safely resume Amtrak and transit services.”

Amtrak Trims More Service, Brightline Suspended

March 26, 2020

Additional Amtrak service reductions have been announced and Florida intercity rail passenger operator Brightline has suspended all service.

The latest Amtrak cancellations include reducing the level of service of Missouri River Runner service effective March 30

The two daily roundtrips between St. Louis and Kansas City will be cut to one with trains leaving Kansas City at 8:15 a.m. and St. Louis at 4 p.m.

The St. Louis-Kansas City corridor was the last in the Midwest to be unaffected by the COVID pandemic-induced service reductions.

Effective today Vermont Gov. Phil Scott has ordered all Amtrak in that state to be suspended.

The Vermonter, which normally operates between Washington and St. Albans, Vermont, will not operate north of New Haven, Connecticut.

On its reduced schedule, the Vermonter will not operate on Sundays.

The Ethan Allen Express, which normally operates between New York and Rutland, Vermont, will not operate north of Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Scott said he took the action after consulting with Amtrak. He also issued a stay-at-home order for residents of his state and directed the closure of in-person, nonessential businesses in order to minimize unnecessary activities outside of homes.

In Florida, Brightline, which is owned by Virgin Trains USA, laid off 250 of its more than 300 South Florida workers this week.

Brightline said on Wednesday that it was suspending all service in the wake of the pandemic.

The layoffs included Bob O’Malley, vice president of corporate development.

In a statement, Brightline said it hoped to rehire most of its workers once service resumes, but said it could not say when that might be.

A report in the Miami Herald said more than 700 construction workers on a project to extend Brightline track to Orlando remain employed.

Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian to be Suspended

March 17, 2020

Amtrak said today that effective March 18 it will suspend all Keystone Service trains.

The New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian will be suspended effective March 19.

A service advisory said the decision was made in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

More Amtrak service suspensions are expected as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will likely include corridor services in California and possibly elsewhere.

Also service cuts that have recently been announced include the Ethan Allen Express between New York and Rutland, Vermont.

Downeaster Service between Boston and Maine has seen the suspension of Trains 688 and 689 effective March 17.

Effective March 21 Downeaster Service will be covered by two train sets.

A news report also indicated that Amtrak will seek $1 billion in assistance to cover revenue lost from the pandemic.

The carrier said bookings are down by 50 percent and reservation cancellations are up by 300 percent.

Equipment Storage Site in Burlington Remains Elusive

February 26, 2020

Vermont transportation officials continue to study where to store Amtrak equipment laying over in Burlington, Vermont, between runs.

Although Amtrak does not operate into Burlington now, the state has proposed extending the New York-Rutland, Vermont, Ethan Allen Express 68 miles north to Burlington.

Officials have looked at six options and appear to be favoring building a new siding near the McNeil Generating Station just west of Intervale Road or a new siding adjacent to Burlington Union Station.

Both options have drawn opposition, particularly the location next to the station.

Much of that has come from Main Street Landing, which owns property east of the railroad tracks.

MSL said noise and engine emissions from the train’s locomotive would be within 14 feet of apartments in the Wing Building south of the station.

Extending the Ethan Allen Express to Burlington would also bring service to Middlebury and Vergennes.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation wants to implement the extension by the end of 2021.

A decision on where to store the train overnight had been expected by late 2019, but has been delayed.

VTrans now doesn’t expect a decision to be made until late March.

“The state is giving the city more time to consider all of the options more thoroughly,” said city spokeswoman Olivia LaVecchia.

Other options for storing the train include the Vermont Rail System freight yard just south of the station, a rail spur in Burlington’s south end, and two sites in the city’s Urban Reserve, north of the station.

In the meantime, host railroad VRS plans to rebuild the track and work on signals on the mainline track at the station.

VRS leases from the right of way upon which is tracks are located between College Street in Burlington to Bennington.

The railroad has notified the city that it plans to terminate the city’s lease for the alignment of the Burlington Greenway bike path, which uses part of the right of way east of the mainline tracks.

VRS plans to realign the tracks to reduce a sharp curve south of the station.

If the equipment for the Ethan Allen is stored elsewhere other than by the station, VSR officials have indicated that it might not build a siding there that would house the train overnight.

The Ethan Allen equipment could also be taken 32 miles north of Burlington to St. Albans, Vermont, where the equipment for Amtrak’s Vermonter is stored overnight.

However, VTrans has indicated it wants to store the Ethan Allen equipment somewhere in Burlington.

VTrans is facing a late 2021 deadline to launch the Ethan Allen extension or facing having to return $10 million in federal funding it received for the extension of the route to Burlington.

Work Continues on Vermont Rail Line

January 22, 2020

A rail line between Rutland and Burlington, Vermont, is expected to be rebuilt for Amtrak service sometime within the next year say Vermont transportation officials.

They said that the track work is needed to extend Amtrak’s New York-Rutland Ethan Allen Express to Burlington.

The work involves 75 miles of rail and a new tunnel in downtown Middlebury.

The work has been underway for a few years and also involves grade crossing upgrades and new stations.

The Ethan Allen Express is funded by Vermont. Burlington has never been served directly by Amtrak although nearby St. Albans is the northern terminus of Amtrak’s Vermonter to and from New York.

Vt. City Wants More Info About Amtrak Expansion Plan

November 6, 2019

A plan to bring Amtrak to Burlington, Vermont, has hit a snag.

The city council is asking Vermont’s Agency of Transportation about plans to extend Amtrak service to Burlington after several residents expressed opposition to having the trains layover at Burlington Union Station.

Vermont officials are eyeing extending the state-funded Ethan Allen Express from its current northern terminus of Rutland, Vermont, to Burlington in 2021 or 2022.

The state transportation agency has proposed building a second track in front of the station between King and College streets that would be used to store the trainset overnight.

The 900-foot track has drawn objections from residents who contend storing the train at the station will bring additional noise and pollution, with some saying it would destroy their quality of life.

One person who spoke at a council meeting contended the location could become a railroad yard for host railroad Vermont Rail System.

He said once the siding is built “the railroad will do whatever it wants and we’ll be powerless to stop it.”

Some are also concerned that construction of the siding will displace an existing bike trail.

The council has expressed concern about the cost to replace it.

Track Work to Delay Trains in Empire Corridor

October 7, 2019

Track work being performed between New York City and Albany-Rensselaer, New York, between Oct. 11 and 13 will affect operations of Amtrak’s Empire Service, Ethan Allen Express, and Lake Shore Limited.

On Oct. 11, Train No. 49 will operate 15 minutes later than normal at all stations from Rhinecliff to Albany-Rensselaer, departing the latter at the normal time of 7:05 p.m.

Trains 238, 242 and 244 will depart Albany-Rensselaer up to 20 minutes later than normal and will operate on a later schedule at all stations between Albany and New York.

Train 290 will depart Albany-Rensselaer at 11:25 a.m, 15 minutes later than normal and will operate on a later schedule at all stations en route to New York.

On Oct. 12 and 13, Train 49 will operate 15 minutes later than normal at all stations between Rhinecliff and Albany-Rensselaer, but depart the latter at the normal time of 7:05 pm.

Train 68 will operate five minutes later than normal at all stations between Rhinecliff and New York.

Trains 238, 244, 256 and 260 will depart Albany-Rensselaer up to 20 minutes later than normal and will operate on a later schedule at all stations en route to New York.

Train 292 will depart Albany-Rensselaer at 2:30 p.m, 20 minutes later than normal and will operate on a later schedule at all stations en route to New York.

Train 296 will operate 10 minutes later than normal at all stations from Rhinecliff to New York.

All other trains will operate normally but may see delays up to 15 minutes through the work area.

Train Storage Site in Burlington Raises Concerns

August 13, 2019

A developer in Burlington, Vermont, has raised concerns about a proposal to store Amtrak trains overnight at the city’s Union Station.

The issue has arisen because the state-supported Ethan Allen Express is expected to be extended to Burlington in 2021 or 2022.

The Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission has identified five potential sites to store the trains between runs with Union Station ranked at the top of the list.

However, Melinda Moulton, CEO of Main Street Landing said storing trains along the waterfront would threaten its current use as a public park and recreation area.

“By allowing the railroad to basically expand the railroad onto the waterfront, it’s not just about expanding an Amtrak,” said Moulton, who supports the return of rail. “It’s about changing the character of the community.”

Eleni Churchill, the regional planning commission’s transportation director, said the study examined air quality and noise as well as other factors.

“We actually had a very colorful public meeting, I would say,” Churchill said. “A lot of people came out to give us their comments, and that was good. We needed to hear all that.”

The Vermont Agency of Transportation, which funds the Ethan Allen Express, will make the final decision on where the trains are to be stored overnight.

The Ethan Allen Express currently operates between New York and Rutland, Vermont.

The extension to Burlington would add additional stations in Middlebury and Vergennes.

The equipment to be used for the service includes two locomotives and five passenger cars.

Churchill said that regardless of where the train is stored overnight, a siding will be built adjacent to the existing railroad track along the waterfront because the line is used for freight service.

Nick Cartularo, a VTrans spokesperson, said the report created by the Chittenden planning agency is not binding and there is no set timeline for making a decision on where to store the train.

Also sites studied for storing and servicing the trains during their layover include two sections of the Urban Reserve, land north of the waterfront near the bike path; Flynn Avenue, next to the new City Market store; and the existing railroad near Perkins Pier.

Union Station topped the list because it would have a low impact on current train operations.

It also had advantages in terms of cost, infrastructure, horn noise and travel distance for the crews.

It also was rated the closest site in proximity to residences and posted the worst score for air quality and emissions.

Track Work to Delay Trains in New York

July 2, 2019

Eastbound trains 48, 64, 238, 244, 250, 252, 254, 256, 260, 280, 284, 290 and 292 will operate five to 15 minutes later than originally scheduled.

Westbound trains 49, 233, 253 and 259 will operate 10 minutes earlier or 10 minutes later than originally scheduled.

Summer Discount Fares Announced

May 19, 2019

Amtrak has announced two summer fare programs, including a buy one get one free sale seeking to boost off-peak ridership on Saturdays in the Northeast Corridor.

The special fares will be available on both Acela Express (in business class) and Northeast Regional (in coach class) trains between May 18 and Sept. 7.

Reservations must be made by June 5th and require a three day advance purchase.

In partnership with New York State, Amtrak will offer 15 percent discounts on regular coach fares for travel across New York State on Empire Service trains on the Maple Leaf, Ethan Allen Express and Adirondack.

Travel on the Maple Leaf and Ethan Allen Express must be within New York State, but the fares on the Adirondack apply to travel to and from Montreal

A five-day advance purchase is required and black-out dates will apply.