Union Station (Burlington, Vermont)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Burlington Union Station
Union Station Burlington Vermont.jpg
View of Union Station from Main Street
Location 1 Main Street
Burlington, Vermont
United States
Coordinates 44°28′33″N 73°13′10″W / 44.475709°N 73.219577°W / 44.475709; -73.219577Coordinates: 44°28′33″N 73°13′10″W / 44.475709°N 73.219577°W / 44.475709; -73.219577
Platforms 1 side platform
Tracks 1
Opened 1916
Preceding station   Vermont Railway   Following station
Terminus Champlain Valley Flyer
  Planned services  
Preceding station   BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak   Following station
Terminus Ethan Allen Express
  Former services  
Preceding station   Champlain Flyer   Following station
Terminus Champlain Flyer

The Union Station building is located at 1 Main Street in Burlington, Vermont. The building, which is not currently used as a railroad station, is owned by Main Street Landing Company, and houses offices and art studios.[1]

The Vermont Rail System operates scheduled excursion trains from the railroad platform behind the building.

Railway history[edit]

Former service[edit]

Union Depot, circa 1910

The former Burlington Union Depot opened in 1867 near what is now the northwest corner of the College Street and Lake streets. The depot served as the passenger station for the Vermont Central and Vermont and Canada railroads'.[2]

The structure was built of brick on a granite foundation. It was 204 feet long from south to north and 88 feet wide which allowed it to straddle three north-south tracks. The train shed was open at the north and south ends, with walls 27 feet high, an arched roof, and tall, narrow, arched windows. Each of the four corners featured a 2-story, 11-foot square tower, for storage and ornamentation.[2]

The former site of Union Depot is now taken up by part of the lawn at waterfront park, the Island Line Trail for biking and walking, the current train track, the red-roofed information building for tourists, and part of a parking lot for Main Street Landing.[2]

Union Station, circa 1920

Burlington Union Station opened on January 23, 1916.[2] The building was built by the Central Vermont Railway and the Rutland Railroad at the cost of between $150,000 – $200,000, including $15,000 from the City Of Burlington, and was designed by New York architect Alfred Fellheimer with Charles Schultz as supervising architect. The W. Shelton Swallow Company of New York was the general contractor.[3]

Union Station was built of tan-colored brick, and limestone trim. The underlying structure was steel and reinforced concrete. Vermont marble was used extensively inside. Contrasting with the romantic, heavier-looking, darker brick depot, its style was fairly simple, very symmetrical Beaux Arts. The three-bay, central entry was topped by a low-pitched pediment, with five-bay wings on either side. Pilasters defined each bay.[2]

The interior of the station circa 1920

From the street, passengers entered through the eastern doors directly into the 30-foot-by-75-foot main waiting room. The tracks were on the west, at the first floor level. An enclosed bridge projected west from the building. From there, staircases led down to the tracks, so that passengers would not have to walk across them. Two long shelters ran between the train tracks, over the platforms.[2]

Union Station served rail travelers for less than 40 years. The station was closed in 1953 when the Rutland Railroad closed its passenger operations.[2]

In 1955 Green Mountain Power Corporation transformed the building into office space.[2]

Between 2000 and 2003 the remaining platform behind the former station was the terminus of the Champlain Flyer commuter rail route that was operated between Charlotte and Burlington.[4]

Current service[edit]

The platform behind Union Station currently serves as a terminus for the Champlain Valley Flyer, a scheduled excursion train that is operated by the Green Mountain Railroad.

Planned future service[edit]

Efforts are underway to extend Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express service from Rutland to Burlington by 2020.[4]

The building today[edit]

The Union Station building is currently owned by Main Street Landing Company. Most of the large main waiting room on the Main Street level is divided into offices, rented by the state of Vermont Agency of Transportation, arts organizations and studios, the Christian Science Monitor, the Lake Champlain Land Trust, fitness clubs, the Vermont Association for Justice, and others.[2]

Four steel statues of winged monkeys currently adorn the roof of Union Station. Created by artist Steve Larrabee, the monkeys were originally commissioned in 1976 for a local waterbed store named "Emerald City" after the capital city of the fictional Land of Oz. The two original monkey statues from the store, along with two statues of monkey children, rest on the roof of the former train station, while two more recent statues are located on the roof of the nearby Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center.[5]


  1. ^ "Main Street Landing". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Bosworth, Barbara (2012). "Wonderfully Pretty: Union Depot and Union Station of Burlington, Vermont". Burlington, Vermont Early 20th-century Postcard Views. University of Vermont. Archived from the original on October 7, 2015. 
  3. ^ Cramer, Adele; Dumville, John P.; Schoettle, B. Clark (1976), National Register of Historic Places - Nomination Form for the Battery Park Historic District, (PDF), Montpelier, Vermont: United States Department of Interior, National Park Service, p. 11 
  4. ^ a b Hall, C. B. (November 9, 2015). "Officials all aboard Western Rail Corridor project". VTdigger. Montpelier, Vermont. 
  5. ^ Polston, Pamela (20 April 2011). "Monkey See". Seven Days. Da Capo Publishing, Inc. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 

External links[edit]