Get Email Updates!

Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

ALL Aboard! RAIL IN VERMONT

VRANS Highlights & Accomplishments

By Christopher Parker

44% of greenhouse gasses in Vermont are produced by transportation. If you want to support the environment, transportation is the next place to look.

44% of greenhouse gasses in Vermont are produced by transportation. If you want to support the environment, transportation is the next place to look.

Vermont Rail Action Network attends meetings at the state house and with the Agency of Transportation. We engage the railroads and Amtrak. We show up around the state, engaging the public. We even went to Washington DC, advocating for better trains in Vermont. Here is a sampling of what has been and is being accomplished:

In-state Amtrak fair

The popular $12 in-state Amtrak fare will continue in 2014 with a new fare code: V657. The Amtrak website has recently changed, making it harder to book this fare online. You can call 1-800-USA-RAIL, but you must ask specifically for the discount. Reservations must be purchased at least one day prior to travel. The fare is not available on certain peak travel days and has limited availability, so do book as far ahead of time as you can.

TIGER Grant

Vermont succeeded in receiving a federal TIGER program grant for the Western Corridor. When the work is done only 12 miles of rail will remain to be redone between Rutland and Burlington, as well as some bridge and crossing work. The upgrade will enable competitive speeds for a planned extension of the Amtrak Ethan Allen north to Burlington by 2017.

VRAN has made investing in the Western Corridor a priority and continued to advance it with the Agency of Transportation, the Governor and in Washington DC.

Bikes on Trains

VRAN has been actively advocating for carry-on bikes on Amtrak trains, working with the Vermont Bike-Ped Coalition and the state of Vermont. We can now report that Amtrak has tested a car with bike racks, and details are being worked out for this service on the Vermonter and Ethan Allen.

Trains to Montreal

The cost to extend the Vermonter to our nearest big city is low, but the complexity of dealing with two customs services and Canadian unions is high. We do need the support of congress members beyond Vermont and New York to finish the work. Please spread the word among your friends in other states to write their representatives.

Regional Cooperation. VRAN works in affiliation with Trainriders/Northeast of Maine, the National Association of Railroad Passengers and other regional advocacy groups.

Commuter Trains in Burlington. We’ve had conversations and helped refine plans for a future effort to establish a Middlebury-Burlington-Essex Junction – Saint Albans/Montpelier Junction network.

Converting Freight Shipments to Rail. We are pursuing several opportunities to convert significant truck flows in Vermont to rail freight. This has involved putting together ‘win-win’ proposals that make rail shipment attractive as well as profitable. Our role is to bring people together.

Christopher Parker is the Vermont Rail Action Network Executive Director.

The new VRANS website at www.RailVermont.org. The number is 802-579-3394.

1 comment to ALL Aboard! RAIL IN VERMONT

  • I enjoyed reading a few days back, on AMTRAKS’s Twitter feed, the little snippet about Amtrak K9 units playing a key role, assisting in helping USA rail passenger system users, get to their destination safe and sound. These K9’s and their well trained human handlers, deserve genuine thanks and traveler support. So, if you have hunted down yourself, a great value train ticket, well done, but your AMTRAK train travel experience is, every trip, a serious “top collar” professional effort, from the experts, including some four legged ones, behind the scenes, sniffing away, on the job!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>