Ethan Allen Express

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Ethan Allen Express
Ethan Allen enters Croton Harmon 08 12 08.jpg
Rutland-bound train #291 entering Croton Harmon
Station, August 12, 2008
Overview
Service type Inter-city rail
Locale Vermont
First service December 1996
Current operator(s) Amtrak
Ridership 149 daily
54,376 total (FY12)[1]
Route
Start New York
End Rutland, Vermont
Distance travelled 241 miles (388 km)
Service frequency Daily
Train number(s) 290-293, 296
On-board services
Class(es)
  • Business class
  • Reserved coach
Catering facilities On-board cafe
Baggage facilities Carry-on only
Technical
Rolling stock Amfleet coaches
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s) Canadian Pacific Railway
Route map
Dist. Station
0 mi 
0 km 
Rutland
US 4.svg US 4
9 mi 
14 km 
Castleton
14 mi 
23 km 
Fair Haven
Vermont
New York
border
Adirondack to Montreal
44 mi 
71 km 
Fort Edward-Glens Falls
I-87.svg Interstate 87
63 mi 
101 km 
Saratoga Springs
Mohawk River
Empire Corridor
82 mi 
132 km 
Schenectady
Hudson River
100 mi 
161 km 
Albany–Rensselaer
Lake Shore Limited
to Boston
128 mi 
206 km 
Hudson
153 mi 
246 km 
Rhinecliff-Kingston
169 mi 
272 km 
Poughkeepsie MTA NYC logo.svg
209 mi 
336 km 
Croton – Harmon MTA NYC logo.svg
227 mi 
365 km 
Yonkers MTA NYC logo.svg
Hudson Line
to Grand Central Terminal
241 mi 
388 km 
New York New Jersey Transit MTA NYC logo.svg

The Ethan Allen Express is a 241-mile (388 km) passenger train service operated by Amtrak between New York City and Rutland, Vermont via Albany, New York. The scheduled total trip time is 5.5 hours. Operations are subsidized by the state of Vermont, and the train is popular among vacationers travelling to the ski resort area of Killington, Vermont. The Ethan Allen Express is named for the American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen.

History[edit]

When Amtrak's Vermonter began operating in the central and eastern portions of Vermont with state funds in 1995, the western side of the state pushed for train service to Rutland as well. Federal funds were secured to rebuild the Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad line to permit speeds up to 59 miles per hour (95 km/h). Service was initiated in December 1996. It was the first train on that route since 1953. Notably, the Rutland–Whitehall segment had not seen a passenger train since 1936.[2]

Until May 2002, the train included a baggage car for skis and unboxed bicycles as well as checked baggage.[3]

In October 2008, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) proposed eliminating the Ethan Allen Express and replacing it with a bus citing budgetary restrictions. The proposal was rejected by the appropriate legislative committee.[4] VTrans again proposed ending service in January 2009. Two hundred people rallied at Rutland station against the proposed cut.[5] Rail advocates, led by the Vermont Rail Action Network[6] and local political leaders[7] organized to fight the cut and plans to drop the service were abandoned.[8]

On February 23, 2011, VTrans began an investigation into the Vermont Rail System's (VRS) handling of the Ethan Allen Express between Whitehall, New York and Rutland after Amtrak notified the state that track conditions meant the train was frequently delayed. Amtrak evaluated the line as the worst in the nation.[9] During the summer of 2011, VRS conducted work to improve the track in question, planned to result in an eighteen-minute reduction in travel time by the end of the year, with additional work planned for the summer of 2012.[10] The project was funded by both the railroad and the state of New York at a cost of $3.25 million, and involved rebuilding about 8 miles (13 km) of track and eight grade crossings.[10] By February 2012, the trackwork had resulted in a 15-minute southbound and 25-minute northbound reduction in travel time between Rutland and Whitehall, while the total time the Ethan Allen Express operated behind schedule fell to 135 minutes in December 2011, from 11,068 minutes a year earlier.[11]

Proposed extension to Burlington[edit]

Plans have existed to extend the Ethan Allen to Burlington from at least 2000.[12] A $30 million earmark was obtained by Senator Jim Jeffords in 2005, partially to fund the work, of which $19 million remained by 2011, the remainder having been used for other projects such as a new spur for freight traffic.[12][13]

Advocates, led by Chambers of Commerce and the Vermont Rail Action Network renewed the push for an extension to Burlington.[14] Advocates believed that service to Burlington (an hour and 40 minutes north of Rutland and the state's largest city) would secure the long-term sustainability of the service by generating much more ridership than Rutland is capable of.[15]

The Vermont Agency of Transportation applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds to rebuild the tracks to passenger standards (59 mph) which would enable the extension.[16] While the initial application was not approved, the state subsequently entered a second US$70 million application for similar grants,[17] and later a third, all of which were rejected.[13]

In 2013, the extension received additional funding via a $9 million TIGER V (fifth round of Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant. The money will pay for the replacement of jointed rail with continuously welded rail.[18]

Route details[edit]

The Ethan Allen Express operates over trackage owned by the following railroads:

The Ethan Allen Express began with stops in Rutland, Fort Edward-Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Albany, Hudson, Rhinecliff-Kingston, Poughkeepsie, Croton-Harmon, Yonkers and New York City (Penn Station).[19] Amtrak added Fair Haven in 1997 and discontinued service there in 2010 with the addition of Castleton.[20]

Station stops[edit]

State/Province Town/City Station Connections
Vermont Rutland Rutland
Castleton Castleton MVRTD "The Bus": Fair Haven-Rutland Connector
New York Fort Edward Fort Edward-Glens Falls Amtrak: Adirondack
GGFT: 4, Train-Catcher Service
Saratoga Springs Saratoga Springs Amtrak: Adirondack
CDTA: NX Northway Xpress, 471, 472
Saratoga and North Creek Railroad: to North Creek, NY
Schenectady Schenectady Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Rensselaer Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
CDTA: 214, 24
Hudson Hudson Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Maple Leaf
Rhinecliff Rhinecliff-Kingston Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Maple Leaf
Poughkeepsie Poughkeepsie Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Maple Leaf
City of Poughkeepsie Transit: Main Street
Dutchess County LOOP: Poughkeepsie RailLink
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
Croton-on-Hudson Croton–Harmon Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf
Bee-Line: 10, 11, 14
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
Yonkers Yonkers Amtrak: Adirondack, Empire Service, Maple Leaf
Bee-Line: 6, 9, 25, 32, 91 (seasonal service)
Metro-North Railroad: Hudson Line
New York City Penn Station Amtrak: Acela Express, Adirondack, Cardinal, Carolinian, Crescent, Empire Service, Keystone Service, Lake Shore Limited, Maple Leaf, Northeast Regional, Palmetto, Pennsylvanian, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Vermonter
LIRR: Main Line, Port Washington Branch
NJ Transit: North Jersey Coast Line, Northeast Corridor Line, Gladstone Branch, Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line
NYC Subway: 1 2 3 A C E trains
NYC Transit buses: M4, M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amtrak Sets New Ridership Record" (PDF). Amtrak. 10 October 2012. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  2. ^ Lloyd, Barbara (December 19, 1996). "Train Trip to Vermont Offers Some of the Fun". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-14. 
  3. ^ FW: Erosion of Amtrak bike access Posted June 11, 2002
  4. ^ Ethan Allen Safe . . . Until January Posted Thursday, 18 December 2008
  5. ^ Hirschfeld, Peter; Stephanie M. Peters (January 20, 2009). "Amtrak rally draws 200 people". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  6. ^ Vermont Rail Action Network 2009 Accomplishments January 5, 2010
  7. ^ [1] Rutland Herald: State panel, county delegation speak against Amtrak bus service]January 10, 2009
  8. ^ Hirschfield, Peter (February 26, 2009). "Rutland Herald: Agency Soften Stance on Amtrak". Rutland Herald. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Amtrak ranks Vermont last as worst railroad". Burlington Free Press. February 24, 2011. Archived from the original on February 24, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Vermont Rail System posts progress on trackwork for Amtrak's Ethan Allen service". Progressive Railroading. August 12, 2011. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Vermont Rail System's bolstered track improves Amtrak transit times". Progressive Railroading. 8 February 2012. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012. 
  12. ^ a b "Critics question whether money for rail in western Vermont is being well spent". Vermont Public Radio. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  13. ^ a b "To Rutland by train: 68 miles and many millions of dollars". Burlington Free Press. 21 August 2011. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  14. ^ Rutland Herald: Chambers push for revitalized rail system March 26, 2009
  15. ^ Vermont Rail Action Network: Extending the Ethan Allen To Burington April 6, 2008
  16. ^ Hirschfeld, Peter (December 28, 2009). "Rutland to Burlington state rail service tied to stimulus". Times-Argus. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  17. ^ "State Will Re-Submit Application to Rebuild Track for Ethan Allen to Burlington". Vermont Rail Action Network. 21 April 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2010. [dead link]
  18. ^ Tiger V grants awarded, NARP News, September 2013, National Association of Rail Passengers, p.3
  19. ^ "Amtrak Northeast Timetable". Amtrak. November 10, 1996. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  20. ^ "Castleton revives Amtrak service". WCAX. January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 

External links[edit]