Bradford Worthen: Give your car a break — Amtrak service returns to Vermont

This commentary is by Bradford J. Worthen of Richmond, vice president and treasurer of the Vermont Rail Action Network.

We are fortunate to have two Amtrak train services in Vermont. It is the hope of the Vermont Rail Action Network that more people will discover the train as a viable upgrade to traveling by car, bus or airline. 

On July 19, the Vermonter will return to St. Albans with service to Washington, D.C., and the Ethan Allen will return to Rutland with service to the newly renovated Penn Station in New York City. 

There is a direct impact on climate change when we leave the car in the garage and hop on the train. As folks move in and out of our state, let us remember we are linked by Amtrak to these destinations, and soon to Montreal. Similarly, a day in Montpelier, Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Keene, Claremont and White River Junction is possible using the southbound and northbound Vermonter. Next year, Burlington will be linked with the Ethan Allen, providing direct service to Manhattan. 

Vermont Rail Action Network members are requesting that our transportation and rail leaders make some significant improvements to our Amtrak services. 

At the top of the list is designating Vermont’s two Amtrak trains, the Ethan Allen and the Vermonter, as ambassadors of the Vermont Brand. What does this mean? Each year more than 100,000 people ride our trains. When a visitor or a resident gets on the train, it should feel like Vermont., staffed with Vermont food service workers and supplied with Vermont foods. 

The Vermonter should be marketed with community events and destinations as part of the promotion. A joint marketing campaign between Amtrak and our community could reach new audiences: Securing overnight visitors and patrons to resorts, hotels, B&B’s, restaurants and shops are all possible. Our vast area sports trails are worth sharing too, since Amtrak (through the efforts of the Rail Action Network) now allows bikes on the train. Skis have always been welcomed! 

If you are seeking more information about tickets, please visit the Amtrak website. There is a special fare promotion to be posted the week of July 4 for in-state trips on July 19 only. You can travel by coach between any two stations in Vermont for just $1 each way. 

If you are a rail enthusiast, please consider joining the Vermont Rail Action Network

Welcome passenger service back to St Albans and Rutland on July 19 — and give your car a break, take the train. 

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