Amtrak’s new Ethan Allen Express completed its inaugural trip from Burlington, Vermont into New York City on Friday, following a 70-year pause in service. The highly anticipated addition of this daily route now affords local area travelers more transportation options for connecting with NYC.
Where the line used to end in Rutland, the Ethan Allen Express now extends further north, with station stops in Middlebury, Ferrisburgh-Vergennes and, finally, Burlington’s Union Station.
Some train enthusiasts came from out of the vicinity to ride the rails to Burlington just to take part in the occasion. “There’s been a lot of talk for Amtrak expanding. Just to see it actually happening is a big deal. Coming to see all the people who turned out for it is really nice,” Jonah Turner, visiting from Atlanta, told WCAX local news.
Reportedly decades in the making, this project to restore rail service between the Queen City and the Big Apple was made possible by a state investment of $100 million to upgrade the tracks and construct new platforms and train stations. “I do think it’s worth it to bring more people into the state, getting them transportation from our largest city to the largest city in the world is important so we can attract more people,” said Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott.
Burlington residents told the outlet they’re glad to now have the Ethan Allen Express route as an option for making the trip into NYC. “I have family and friends in New York City. I look forward to visiting much more often,” said Ben Gorbach.
Burlington officials said they expect the rail service will help to bring in more visitors, offering the local economy a boost at this crucial time. “Today must both be a celebration in progress and an inspiration to further investment in innovation and transformation in the years ahead,” remarked Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger.
Dan Delabruere, Rail and Aviation Bureau director for VTrans, said the Ethan Allen extension is the result of many requests from the public. “We get inquiries about the train from almost every walk of life,” he explained. “There’s a lot of people that love trains and those people are very excited. There are a lot of people that want to go to New York City, but don’t drive a car. There are college students that don’t have a car. There are all those types of folks that have really been asking the question, when can we get the train? And we’re happy to deliver that to Burlington, Middlebury, and Vergennes.”
The Ethan Allen Express leaves Burlington daily at 10:10 a.m. and arrives in NYC around seven and half hours later at 5:45 p.m. The route’s northbound service departs Penn Station at 2:00 p.m. daily and arrives in Burlington around 10:00 pm. Featuring café service and onboard WiFi, a one-way trip will cost passengers around $75.
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