Why doesn't the Vermonter terminate in Burlington?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by velotrain, Aug 9, 2019.

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  1. Aug 9, 2019 #1

    velotrain

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  2. Aug 9, 2019 #2

    PVD

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    Actually, a good deal of discussion has focused on extending the Ethan Allen as opposed to the Vermonter....there is a 3 year old thread on the subject since the Feds announced a grant in 2016....
     
  3. Aug 10, 2019 #3

    lordsigma

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    While the station is officially unstaffed, in reality it is a de facto staffed station. The caretakers at Essex really go above and beyond and will answer questions and make sure passengers that need assistance boarding are taken care of.

    A couple of the other unstaffed stations on the route also seem to have enthusiastic folks that help out, some of which are official caretakers and some unofficial (Claremont, NH has what appears to be volunteer station hosts.) it’s nice to see the enthusiasm along this route.
     
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  4. Aug 10, 2019 #4

    dogbert617

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    For now, I believe the most direct way one could get to Burlington proper would be to take the Adirondack train to Port Kent, NY then take the ferry across Lake Champlain(sorry I forget the name of it) over to a port that's somewhere near downtown Burlington. There is of course also the option of getting off in Essex, VT, and say taking an Uber/Lyft(assuming they serve Essex) from that station over to Burlington. Not sure if any public transit bus routes serving the Burlington area run as far east as Essex, but maybe they do?

    Small edit: the Port Kent ferry, is seasonal and not all year. Also, why do I too often incorrectly say Fort Kent? Grrrr!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  5. Aug 10, 2019 #5

    PVD

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    Unless something has changed it's about a half hour on Green Mountain Transit bus.
     
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  6. Aug 10, 2019 #6

    John Bobinyec

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  7. Aug 11, 2019 #7

    Anderson

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    The Vermonter is on the wrong tracks for direct access to Burlington without turning around and going the "wrong" way. In that respect, by way of an analogy, this is sort-of like asking why a bunch of DC-originating Regionals don't terminate at NYG (or why the Zephyr doesn't go to San Francisco proper).
     
  8. Aug 12, 2019 #8

    jis

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    Suffice it to observe that in the rest of the world such en route reversal are pretty routine on many routes. There is a train in India which changes direction four times in course of its journey. So that should not be, in and of itself a disqualifier for a route as long as its serves a useful purpose.
     
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  9. Aug 12, 2019 #9

    brianpmcdonnell17

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    In this case it wouldn't even need to reverse, and while somewhat roundabout, the route would be far less out of the way than the mentioned examples in New York and San Francisco. However, that is only the case if service terminated in Burlington. If the train were to continue to St. Albans and/or Montreal, a significant backup move would be necessary.
     
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  10. Aug 12, 2019 #10

    jis

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    Actually, coming to think of it, it might have made more sense to terminate the Ethan Allen at St. Albans, and leave the Vermonter/Montrealer as is, if the timetable of EA could be made to work.
     
  11. Aug 12, 2019 #11

    MARC Rider

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    Essex Jct. isn't really that far from Burlington proper. Some years ago we did a circle trip up the Adirondack to Port Kent, over on the ferry, taxi to the airport, rented a car and went to Maine, then returned the car and took a taxi from the airport to Essex Jct., where we boarded the Vermonter for the ride back to Baltimore. I don't recall the taxi rides being particularly long or expensive.
     
  12. Aug 12, 2019 #12

    pennyk

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    In June 2018, I did a circle trip up on the Adirondack to Port Kent, over on the ferry, overnight in Burlington, Uber to Essex Junction where I boarded the Vermonter back to NYP. The Uber trip was not very expensive and did not take too long.

    In the 1990s, we took the Adirondack to Plattsburgh and rented a car at the airport. Then we drove to Lake George and then toured Vermont, leaving the car in Burlington. We took a cab to Essex Junction and then took the Vermonter to WAS and connected with a train to Florida (without overnighting in DC if I remember correctly).
     
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  13. Aug 12, 2019 #13

    velotrain

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    I was going on the basis of the link I included in the initial post - "The stop is the busiest station in the state of Vermont and has always been a stop on the Montrealer/Vermonter, it would probably be the terminus of the train if a train yard was present instead of having trains continue virtually empty 24 miles north to St Albans, the Amtrak terminus with the fewest passengers. I also wonder why the train can't simply use the still existing rail spur and enter downtown Burlington instead . . . " It just seems to make more sense to terminate at the city supporting the busiest station in the state vs. "continue virtually empty" to the terminus with the fewest passengers.
     
  14. Aug 12, 2019 #14

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  15. Aug 12, 2019 #15

    velotrain

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    /=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/=/

    V: Interesting that this earlier thread indicates that both the Ethan Allen Burlington extension and the Vermonter going to Montreal will be in place by 2017, while it now looks like 2022 at the earliest.
     
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  16. Aug 12, 2019 #16

    oregon pioneer

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    FYI, here are the current transit schedules for the area: http://ridegmt.com/gmt-schedules/
    Burlington and Essex are in Chittenden County. The Blue Line goes from Essex Amtrak to downtown every 20 minutes on weekdays, 30-45 minute intervals on weekends. The ride takes 40 minutes. Cash fare is $1.50.
     
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  17. Aug 13, 2019 #17

    neroden

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    The Burlington extension was delayed largely by arguments in Middlebury, which took five years to resolve. It is, however, resolved. Current squabbles about overnight train parking and platform modifications at Middlebury and Burlington will probably not hold it up any longer.

    The Montreal extension is indefinitely delayed because it's waiting for the Government of Quebec -- all the plans have been approved for the new international platform at Gare Central, but Quebec hasn't been willing to step up and fund it, and pretty much nobody else involved is in a position to fund it. Don't expect it to happen by 2022, or ever at all in fact.
     
  18. Aug 13, 2019 #18

    jiml

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    Montreal has the same problem as Toronto when it comes to funding proposed rail service improvements or expansion. Each one's downtown station and associated infrastructure is focused on commuter trains, with LD passenger service an afterthought. Really I guess that's no different than NYP, Chicago or LA. The commuter railroads call the shots with VIA and Amtrak getting what's left over. Without government dollars Nathaniel's last line is likely correct.
     
  19. Aug 13, 2019 #19

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Jennifer, thank you so much for posting (and explaining) this. I have wanted to go to Burlington for ages, but it seems so difficult to get to. It's not clear, though, on the Blue Line schedule, which stop is downtown Burlington. I would also be concerned because the Vermonter gets to Essex Junction so late--and I would be afraid of trying to find a bus that late somewhere I had never been. Did you do it when you were out here in the east?

    The ferry looks like the best bet, but of course it's only summer, and unless I'm reading it wrong, it looks like the train gets to where the ferry is about two hours earlier than the ferry leaves, so you're sitting around in the summer sun (even up there it would be hot) out in the middle of a field or something with nowhere to go in and get out of the heat.
     
  20. Aug 13, 2019 #20

    MARC Rider

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    I think the northbound Adirondack gets to Port Kent sometime between 2:02 PM (the Westport stop) and 3:20 PM (the Plattsburgh stop). Of course, being Amtrak, we can expect the train to be late on a regular basis. There are ferry departures from Port Kent at 4:10 and 6:35 PM. Even if the train is on time, you shouldn't have to wait for more than an hour, and if it's late, there's the backup crossing at 6:35. I'd hate to be stranded at Port Kent. There's absolutely nothing there but a platform at a road crossing. You follow the road down the hill a couple of hundred feet to the ferry dock. I would strongly recommend having a roller bag or backpack to make this transfer.

    Also, although downtown Burlington is reasonably walkable, most of the city and surrounding area (like most places in the US outside of a few select large cities) is best accessed by car (or taxi/Uber). Their public transport is infrequent enough that you have to pay close attention to the bus schedules, which may not always be convenient for tourists. I'm not sure whether their bus system offers real time GPS tracking, which means you might be in the dark about when or whether the bus is going to arrive. Also, all of the car rental places appear to be a distance from the ferry dock, so you might need a taxi/uber to get you there, which is what we did.
     
  21. Aug 13, 2019 #21

    velotrain

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    Dragon - The schedule shows the bus stopping at the Downtown Transit Center - 6th column, and the UVM Medical Center - 5th column, which is closer to the chain motels clustered around the I-89 - US 2 intersection a mile+ west of downtown. There are a few hotels downtown, but quite expensive - especially for lake-view rooms.

    As for the ferry. there is a restaurant-bar right on the pier, so no need to sit in a field - unless you want to.
     
  22. Aug 13, 2019 #22

    PVD

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    I was working on a project at JFK and needed to be in Lake Placid for a USA Hockey event I was helping to run. JetBlue JFK to Burlington, rental car, ferry...On a clear day, that run up lake Champlain is beautiful....
     
  23. Aug 13, 2019 #23

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Thank you all--trying to plan where to get out of NJ next summer, and this is a possibility (yes, I know it will be hot everywhere, but not like here). I think I like the restaurant on the pier and then the ferry idea best--good food and a nice water crossing--better perhaps than the bus for me.:)
     
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  24. Aug 13, 2019 #24

    Bob Dylan

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    Spot on Patty! You'll Love it!:cool:
     
  25. Aug 13, 2019 #25

    MARC Rider

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    Is the restaurant on the pier at Burlington or Port Kent? I seem to recall that there was more or less nothing but a little ticket booth for the ferry at the pier in Port Kent. The satellite photo shown on Google Maps suggests that there might be an actual building now (we pass through in 2010), so maybe there's an indoor waiting room.
     

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