Letters to the Editor

Celebrating Vermont rail

Aug 2 2022, 10:05 AM

I am writing to celebrate the new Ethan Allen Amtrak service from Burlington to Vergennes, Middlebury, Rutland and Castleton to New York's Penn Station that started on July 29.

This long-awaited passenger service will connect Vermont's western corridor to the world. 

I founded Friends of Rutland Rail in 2009 to save Rutland's Amtrak Train from the budget ax when the Douglas administration attempted to shut down this vital economic link for western Vermont. We prevailed, convincing the Vermont House and Senate Transportation Committees to not only cancel those plans but, through 12 years of endless campaigning, gaining full support of the Legislature, the Shumlin and Scott administrations, as well as VTrans, Vermont Rail Action Network, Governor's Rail Council and the whole of Vermont state government with federal/state taxpayer funds of $115 million. 

I wish to thank those mentioned as well as the communities of Burlington, Vergennes, Middlebury and Rutland for their unwavering support and commitment to seeing this vital infrastructure project come to fruition. We are fortunate to have Legislative support for two Amtrak passenger trains across the Green Mountain State and I encourage Vermonters to purchase tickets in support of Vermont Rail.

Herb Russell

Rutland

Retired state representative