Today in Vermont passenger rail service is provided by the Ethan Allen Express, which leaves from New York City to Albany and eventually to Rutland, and the Vermonter, which also leaves from New York City and passes through Hartford, CT and eventually makes 9 stops in Vermont moving northward, ending in St. Albans.
Since 2014, VTrans has allocated a yearly average of $35 million to rail, some of which is provided to support the Amtrak service.
One high priority is extending Amtrak service from Rutland to Burlington. Current plans call for the service to start in 2021. At the same time, VTrans is also actively pursuing bringing rail service back to Montreal, connecting with the Vermonter on the eastern side of the state. Plans call for this service to resume in 2019.
VTrans is currently undertaking a legislative study to examine the feasibility of commuter rail services within the I-89 St. Albans-Burlington-Montpelier area. The state has a long-range goal of 400,000 annual passenger rail riders – see the state’s State Rail Plan (prepared by VTrans).
Recently, the Transportation Board, a separate entity from VTrans, hosted a number of public forums about the future of rail in Vermont. A variety of ideas and issues came up which will be documented in a forthcoming report.
The State of Vermont Transportation Board (T Board) does not have the authority to implement rail services, that lies with the Vermont Agency of Transportation. The T Board is a separate entity from the Agency of Transportation (VTrans) – information regarding the T Board and their authority can be found at their website: http://tboard.vermont.gov/
The T Board does not have any plans for commuter rail from Brattleboro to Springfield MA. In fact, it is not clear that any of the proposed Massachusettes commuter rail projects will enter Vermont. Commuter Rail operations fall under a specific set of Federal Transit Requirements.