Planned Passenger Services
The Vermont Agency of Transportation is always seeking new ways to serve the region's rail needs. Below you will see several of the major projects that are underway to provide expanded passenger rail service to communities throughout New England.
Intercity passenger rail has long been a transportation priority in Vermont and New York. Vermont has been a major supporter of intercity passenger rail, allocating a substantial part of its State budget to passenger rail services through Amtrak operations, and New York has one of the largest networks of intercity passenger rail in the nation.The goal of the New York-Vermont Bi-State Intercity Passenger Rail study is to provide intercity passenger rail services to parts of Vermont and New York that are currently underserved or unserved.The Vermont Agency of Transportation and the New York State Department of Transportation have obtained funding from the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) High Speed and Intercity Passenger Rail program for a planning study to develop a corridor analysis, Service Development Plan and associated preliminary engineering (PE) and environmental documentation for an intercity passenger route that would serve the communities between Albany, NY and Rutland, VT.
Feasibility & Planning Study
The Vermont Agency of Transportation, in partnership with Massachusetts and Connecticut, is conducting the Boston-Montreal High-Speed Rail Corridor Alternative Alignment Feasibility and Planning Study to identify upgrades and improvements along the Boston to Montreal corridor.
The study focues on the possibility of utilizing the "Inland Route" from Boston to Springfield, then turning north along the "Knowledge Corridor" and up through Vermont to Montreal. The Inland Route will be studied concurrently under a single consultant contract to ensure that the evaluation of infrastructure improvements and future operations will incorporate both proposed passenger rail services. The study will be funded, in part, with two FRA grants to VT & MA and will predominately follow segments of the Northern New England High Speed Rail Corridor.
The Knowledge Corridor
This project came out of a grass roots effort to restore passenger rail service to the communities along the Connecticut River line in Massachusetts. This was the route for the Montrealer, the precursor to the current Vermonter. The plan involves moving the current Vermonter service over to the line that serves the larger population cities of Western Massachusetts, Greenfield, Northampton and Holyoke. More information can be found here.
Another vision for future passenger rail service in Vermont includes the current service plus the addition of service to communities along the route 7 corridor not presently served. The project to achieve that vision is known as the ABRBE (Albany-Bennington-Rutland-Burlington-Essex Junction) Project. It is anticipated that the communities of North Bennington, Manchester, Middlebury and Burlington would be served by this new service. The first priority of this project is to complete improvements to the rail infrastructure that would allow the extension of the present Ethan Allen Express service up to Burlington. The second phase will include service to those communities south of Rutland.
In order to this service, track upgrades have to be performed.
- The addition of Continuous Welded Rail for the entire line
- Repair and maintenance at various points along the line
You can see where these upgrades are needed in the map below.
This will be an ongoing process and VTrans appreciates the public's patience as we plan and budget these upgrades.