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 typeInter-city rail
StatusOperating
LocaleVermont
First serviceDecember 1996
Current operator(s)Amtrak
Ridership50,717 total (2016)[1]
Route
StartNew York City
Stops12
EndRutland, Vermont
Distance travelled241 miles (388 km)
Service frequencyDaily
Train number(s)290-293, 296
On-board services
Class(es)Business class and reserved coach
Seating arrangementsAirline-style coach seating
Catering facilitiesOn-board cafe
Baggage facilitiesCarry-on only
Technical
Rolling stockAmfleet coaches
Track gauge4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Operating speedUp to 110 mph (180 km/h)
Track owner(s)Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad
Canadian Pacific Railway
CSX Transportation
Metro-North Railroad
Amtrak
Route map
Burlington Bus interchange
Vergennes
Middlebury
proposed extension
0 mi
0 km
Rutland
9 mi
14 km
Castleton
14 mi
23 km
Fair Haven
44 mi
71 km
Fort Edward
63 mi
101 km
Saratoga Springs
82 mi
132 km
Schenectady
100 mi
161 km
Albany–Rensselaer
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
241 mi
388 km
New York enlarge…
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NJ Transit MTA NYC logo.svg Port Authority Trans-Hudson
Detailed diagram
showing all road crossings
Burlington Bus interchange
Vergennes
Middlebury
proposed extension
0 mi
0 km
Rutland
9 mi
14 km
Castleton
14 mi
23 km
Fair Haven
44 mi
71 km
Fort Edward
63 mi
101 km
Saratoga Springs
82 mi
132 km
Schenectady
100 mi
161 km
Albany–Rensselaer
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
241 mi
388 km
New York
BSicon SUBWAY.svg NJ Transit MTA NYC logo.svg Port Authority Trans-Hudson

The Ethan Allen Express is a 241-mile (388 km) higher-speed 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 states of Vermont and New York, 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. Between Penn Station and Rensselaer, it operates along the Empire Corridor.

History[edit]

The Ethan Allen Express at Rutland in 2001

In April 1995, the Montrealer was shifted to daytime operation, cut back to St. Albans, and renamed as the Vermonter, providing daytime service to eastern and central Vermont for the first time since 1966.[2] The western part of the state then advocated for rail service to Rutland as well. $4.7 million in federal funds was secured to upgrade the former Delaware and Hudson Railway line between Whitehall and Rutland for passenger speeds.[3] Service was initiated in December 2, 1996.[4] This was the first passenger service between Fort Edward and Whitehall since 1953, and the first between Whitehall and Rutland since 1936. The Rutland Railroad shutdown the Burlington to New York City passenger service in 1953.[3]

The Ethan Allen Express began with stops in Rutland, Fort Edward, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Albany–Rensselaer, Hudson, Rhinecliff, Poughkeepsie, Croton, Yonkers and New York.[5] A stop at Fair Haven was added in November 1997.[6]

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

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.[7] VTrans again proposed ending service in January 2009. Two hundred people rallied at Rutland station against the proposed cut.[8] Rail advocates, led by the Vermont Rail Action Network[9] and local political leaders[10] organized to fight the cut and plans to drop the service were abandoned.[11]

On January 2, 2010, the Ethan Allen Express began stopping at Castleton. Service to Fair Haven ended on January 9.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] 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.[14] 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.[15]

On April 10, 2018, Amtrak announced that all trains using the Empire Connection, excluding the Lake Shore Limited, will operate into Grand Central Terminal from May 26, to September 4, 2018 to allow work on the Empire Tunnel, the Spuyten Duyvil movable bridge, and Track 19 in New York's Penn Station.[16]

Proposed extension to Burlington[edit]

Union Station in Burlington, Vermont will be the northern terminus of the Ethan Allen Express beginning around 2018

There have been plans to extend the Ethan Allen from Rutland to Burlington since at least 2000.[17] The last passenger service between the cities was in 1953 on the Rutland Railroad's Green Mountain Flyer and Mount Royal.[2]

In 2005, a $30 million earmark was obtained by Senator Jim Jeffords to, in part, fund the extension. Of this, $19 million remained by 2011, the balance having been used for other projects such as a new spur for freight traffic.[17][18]

Advocates, led by chambers of commerce and the Vermont Rail Action Network, renewed the push for an extension to Burlington.[19] They believed that service to Burlington would secure the long-term sustainability of the service by generating much more ridership than Rutland is capable of.[20]

The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) applied for American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 funds to rebuild the tracks between Rutland and Burlington to passenger standards (59 mph (95 km/h)).[21] While the initial application was not approved, the state subsequently entered a second US$70 million application for similar grants,[22] and later a third, all of which were rejected.[18]

In 2013, the extension received additional funding via a $9 million grant from the fifth round of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER V) program to pay for the replacement of jointed rail with continuously welded rail.[23] In October 2015, the Vermont Agency of Transportation was awarded a $10 million TIGER 2015 grant to rehabilitate 11 miles of track, add a wye in Rutland, add crossovers and passing sidings, and install passenger platforms in Middlebury, Vergennes, and Burlington. These improvements will result in increased speeds of up to 40 mph (64 km/h) for freight and 60 mph (97 km/h) for passenger trains between Rutland and Burlington.[24]

In October 2015, VTrans said that service to Burlington would begin in three to four years.[25] However, service is currently not expected to start until 2021 or 2022. When it starts, it is anticipated that the train will arrive in Burlington in the evening and depart in the morning. Middlebury has hired a consultant to study locations for its station, while Burlington has hired a consultant to study where the train should overnight.[26][27]

Route details[edit]

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

The Ethan Allen Express meets the performance speeds of higher-speed rail. Between Albany and Schenectady, New York, CSX Transportation's Hudson Subdivision allows for speeds of up to 110 mph (180 km/h).

Equipment[edit]

In the 2010s a typical Ethan Allen Express had three-four Amfleet passenger cars, an Amfleet business class car, and an Amfleet cafe car, with the train being pulled by a GE P32AC-DM dual-mode locomotive.[28]

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 Railway: 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
Megabus: M27 to Ridgewood, New Jersey and New York City
Vermont Translines: Vermont Shires Connector to Bennington and Manchester, Vermont
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, and ​E trains
NYC Transit buses: M7, M20, M34 / M34A Select Bus Service, Q32
PATH: HOB-33, JSQ-33, JSQ-33 (via HOB)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Amtrak FY16 Ridership & Revenue Fact Sheet" (PDF). Amtrak. April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Lindsell, Robert M. (2000). The Rail Lines of Northern New England. Branch Line Press. pp. 35–46, 175. ISBN 0942147065.
  3. ^ a b Lloyd, Barbara (December 19, 1996). "Train Trip to Vermont Offers Some of the Fun". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2010.
  4. ^ "In Amtrak History" (PDF). Amtrak Ink. 18 (11). December 2013.
  5. ^ "Amtrak Northeast Timetable". Amtrak. November 10, 1996. p. 24 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  6. ^ "Amtrak Northeast Timetable: Fall/Winter 1997-98". Amtrak. October 26, 1997 – via Museum of Railway Timetables.
  7. ^ "Ethan Allen Safe...Until January". December 18, 2008. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Hirschfeld, Peter; Peters, Stephanie M. (January 20, 2009). "Amtrak rally draws 200 people". Rutland Herald. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  9. ^ "2009 Vermont Rail Action Network Accomplishments". Vermont Rail Action Network. November 25, 2009. Archived from the original on April 24, 2012. Retrieved October 24, 2009.
  10. ^ Peters, Stephanie M. (January 10, 2009). "State panel, county delegation speak against Amtrak bus service". Rutland Herald.
  11. ^ Hirschfield, Peter (February 26, 2009). "Official softens stance on Amtrak". Rutland Herald. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  12. ^ "AMTRAK ETHAN ALLEN EXPRESS TO PROVIDE SERVICE AT RENOVATED CASTLETON, VERMONT DEPOT" (PDF) (Press release). Amtrak. December 29, 2009.
  13. ^ "Amtrak ranks Vermont last as worst railroad". The Burlington Free Press. February 24, 2011. Archived from the original on February 25, 2011. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  14. ^ a b "Vermont Rail System posts progress on trackwork for Amtrak's Ethan Allen service". Progressive Railroading. August 12, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011.
  15. ^ "Vermont Rail System's bolstered track improves Amtrak transit times". Progressive Railroading. February 8, 2012. Retrieved February 9, 2012.
  16. ^ "Most Hudson Line trains to Operate to/from Grand Central Terminal during Infrastructure and Bridge replacement Period" (Press release). Amtrak. April 10, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Critics question whether money for rail in western Vermont is being well spent". Vermont Public Radio. May 15, 2008. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "To Rutland by train: 68 miles and many millions of dollars". The Burlington Free Press. August 21, 2011. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2011.
  19. ^ "Chambers push for revitalized rail system". Rutland Herald. March 24, 2009. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  20. ^ "Extending the Ethan Allen To Burington". Vermont Rail Action Network. July 29, 2008. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved August 5, 2018.
  21. ^ Hirschfeld, Peter (December 28, 2009). "Rutland to Burlington state rail service tied to stimulus". Barre Montpelier Times Argus. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  22. ^ "State Will Re-Submit Application to Rebuild Track for Ethan Allen to Burlington". Vermont Rail Action Network. April 21, 2010. Retrieved June 26, 2010.[dead link]
  23. ^ "USDOT announces $474 million in TIGER V grants". Progressive Railroading. September 6, 2013. Retrieved April 11, 2018.
  24. ^ "TIGER 2015 Awards" (PDF). United States Department of Transportation. p. 40.
  25. ^ Mansfield, Erin (October 27, 2015). "Vermont lands $10 million to finish Rutland to Burlington passenger rail". VT Digger. Retrieved May 23, 2016.
  26. ^ Flowers, John (2018-04-30). "Middlebury begins search for passenger rail platform". Addison County Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  27. ^ Dawson, Cory (2017-12-15). "Waterfront denizens to Amtrak: stop but don't stay". VTDigger. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  28. ^ Vermont Agency of Transportation (January 2010). "Passenger Rail Equipment Options for the Amtrak Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express" (PDF). Vermont Legislature. Retrieved December 29, 2014.

External links[edit]