Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

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shadyjay
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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by shadyjay » Wed Aug 24, 2011 9:45 am

Railjunkie wrote:We do use the wye to turn the train everynight, however Im pretty sure its FRA excepted track. You cannot use excepted track in anyway with a live passenger train, (carrying passengers) I dont have my books at home so I cant look it up to be sure.
Mass Bay RRE ran a special excursion called the Otter Valley Limited from Burlington to Rutland and back in the spring of '07. Upon arrival at Rutland, those who wanted to detrain could, while most remained on the train and rode around the wye while it changed direction. I chose to get off the train in Rutland and shoot it as it was coming back into the station. Amtrak was alongside as well.

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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by Noel Weaver » Wed Aug 24, 2011 1:20 pm

shadyjay wrote:
Railjunkie wrote:We do use the wye to turn the train everynight, however Im pretty sure its FRA excepted track. You cannot use excepted track in anyway with a live passenger train, (carrying passengers) I dont have my books at home so I cant look it up to be sure.
Mass Bay RRE ran a special excursion called the Otter Valley Limited from Burlington to Rutland and back in the spring of '07. Upon arrival at Rutland, those who wanted to detrain could, while most remained on the train and rode around the wye while it changed direction. I chose to get off the train in Rutland and shoot it as it was coming back into the station. Amtrak was alongside as well.
They ran the same trip out of Rutland back in the 90's, Rutland to Burlington to Essex Junction where they turned the entire train on the wye and returned. It was a good trip. Funny thing was that we changed power at Burlington, a CV GP took us over to Essex Junction and back. They turned the VTR engine on the turntable at Burlington while we went to Essex. It gave me some new territory and was a nice ride in the country by train.
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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by NellieBly » Wed Aug 24, 2011 3:50 pm

I missed the trip to Essex Junction, but a couple of years earlier (1989, I think) Mass Bay ran a two-day trip. Rutland to North Bennington and return the first day, and Rutland to Burlington the second. At that time, VTR was a good, solid 25 MPH railroad. I don't remember any slow orders to speak of.

The next year Mass Bay ran the trip again, and this time they went all the way into Bennington, on the line that used to connect to the NYC to Chatham. That line is now abandoned.

I'm sorry I missed Essex Junction. Doesn't look like I'll ever get that mileage unless Amtrak starts running to Burlington (and presumably wyes the train at the junction).

By the way, the connection from North Bennington to Hoosick Falls on Pam Am Southern is in service, and VTR has been interchanging cars there for more than a year now. I doubt, however, that it's in condition to carry passenger service.
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shadyjay
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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by shadyjay » Wed Aug 24, 2011 8:10 pm

From what I've heard, there is some welded rail laid south of Manchester down to Hoosick Jct (don't think the whole way) since there was big talk of getting Amtrak to Manchester.

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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by 7express » Thu Aug 25, 2011 7:39 pm

As stated earlier, it wouldn't make sense on the current routing, because you'd have to switch ends at Rutland to go north, however, they could run it the same route as the Vermonter up to Bellows Falls, and send it on the inland route to Rutland on the railroad the Green Mountain Railroad goes on, possibly adding a stop (winter only??) in Ludlow where Okemo mountain is. Going that way, you have the train going the same way for the route towards Burlington.

CNJ

Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by CNJ » Thu Aug 25, 2011 8:14 pm

7express wrote:As stated earlier, it wouldn't make sense on the current routing, because you'd have to switch ends at Rutland to go north, however, they could run it the same route as the Vermonter up to Bellows Falls, and send it on the inland route to Rutland on the railroad the Green Mountain Railroad goes on, possibly adding a stop (winter only??) in Ludlow where Okemo mountain is. Going that way, you have the train going the same way for the route towards Burlington.
Not a very practical routing.

It makes more sense to get the line from Troy to N Bennington and north rehabbed.

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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by Noel Weaver » Sat Aug 27, 2011 9:15 am

CNJ wrote:
7express wrote:As stated earlier, it wouldn't make sense on the current routing, because you'd have to switch ends at Rutland to go north, however, they could run it the same route as the Vermonter up to Bellows Falls, and send it on the inland route to Rutland on the railroad the Green Mountain Railroad goes on, possibly adding a stop (winter only??) in Ludlow where Okemo mountain is. Going that way, you have the train going the same way for the route towards Burlington.
Not a very practical routing.

It makes more sense to get the line from Troy to N Bennington and north rehabbed.
Skiiers are not going to flock to a once a day train to get to Ludlow. White River Junction is a very important stop because it is next door to Dartmouth and a reasonably busy part of both Vermont and New Hampshire. I agree that the important step is to get the line through North Bennington in shape for regular passenger service and run it that way and through to Burlington. I think if there is any expansion of this service the North Bennington route would fit right in the big picture.
Noel Weaver

Greg Moore
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Re: Expanding the Ethan Allen to Burlington

Post by Greg Moore » Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:10 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:
CNJ wrote:
7express wrote:As stated earlier, it wouldn't make sense on the current routing, because you'd have to switch ends at Rutland to go north, however, they could run it the same route as the Vermonter up to Bellows Falls, and send it on the inland route to Rutland on the railroad the Green Mountain Railroad goes on, possibly adding a stop (winter only??) in Ludlow where Okemo mountain is. Going that way, you have the train going the same way for the route towards Burlington.
Not a very practical routing.

It makes more sense to get the line from Troy to N Bennington and north rehabbed.
Skiiers are not going to flock to a once a day train to get to Ludlow. White River Junction is a very important stop because it is next door to Dartmouth and a reasonably busy part of both Vermont and New Hampshire. I agree that the important step is to get the line through North Bennington in shape for regular passenger service and run it that way and through to Burlington. I think if there is any expansion of this service the North Bennington route would fit right in the big picture.
Noel Weaver
I'd love North Bennington just for the novelty of visiting family in Bennington (from Troy). Sure, not overly practical for me. ;-) But I could see some of my relatives taking advantage of it in the future.
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Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by rovetherr » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:01 pm

From the Addison Independent,
http://www.addisonindependent.com/20121 ... ebury-2017

MIDDLEBURY — Vermont will proceed with sufficient rail improvements to re-establish passenger train traffic along its western corridor from Rutland through Middlebury to Burlington by 2017, and the state will proceed on that track regardless of the prospects for federal funding.

That was the message on Tuesday from Chris Cole, the Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development director for the Vermont Agency of Transportation, known as VTrans. Speaking at the Vermont Rail Action Network (VRAN) annual meeting held at Middlebury College’s Kirk Alumni Center, Cole also confirmed an impending agreement with the town of Middlebury to manage the replacement of two deteriorating railroad overpasses within its downtown. The replacement of those overpasses, on Main Street and Merchants Row, are a key component of an overall improvement plan to enable the western corridor rail line to accommodate Amtrak passenger rail and heavier freight loads.
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Station Aficionado
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Station Aficionado » Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:48 pm

Interesting article. Still, it's depressing that extending a train 65-70 miles will take 5 years. Although I guess that's assuming no more federal funds--maybe it would be sooner if there are surprise gifts from Uncle Sam. The state official indicated that the work would be done in "chunks"--do you suppose they would also extend the train in chunks? Maybe first to Middlebury, then to Burlington? Also, I don't recall whether we've seen anything on what they plan to do about the Rutland station location. Extending the EA to Burlington from the current station would require turning on the wye a mile or so south of the station. Of course, there's no direct connection between the line from Whitehall to the line to Burlington as is. Creating a direct connection would mean a new track and likely a new station in the vicinity of Center Rutland (which is actually a bit west of Rutland proper).

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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Greg Moore » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:07 pm

Hmm, if this actually goes forward, I would suggest VT seriously start looking at additional train service to NYP via the western route.

(and if we get really ambitious, add a 2nd train that goes to Burlington via the western route and then on to Montreal.

The more connectivity and frequency, the better. (cue Maine as an example).
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by rovetherr » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:25 pm

I don't foresee the train being extended piecemeal, from the manor of upgrades in the past along the line they will not occur in a linear fashion, but at the simplest locations first, followed by locations requiring increasing levels of engineering and money. Biggest bang for the buck and all of that.

To add a direct connection at Center Rutland would involve the construction of a rather large and expensive bridge, due to the geography of the area. So I don't see that as being a realistic addition to the plan. More likely is the addition of a cab car or second loco (more likely) to the trainset and a reversing of direction in Rutland until the southern leg from Schenectady to Mechanicville, Hoosick Jct, and up through N. Bennington is realized. The southern leg is admittedly a long ways off, but there is beginning to be a concerted push from the south-western part of VT for train service. It is a region of the state that has historically felt that it has been neglected by state government and in an attempt to placate voters and representatives in the region there has been some movement on some transportation projects in the recent past, including talk of and funding of rail upgrades in the area.
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by afiggatt » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:59 pm

Station Aficionado wrote:Interesting article. Still, it's depressing that extending a train 65-70 miles will take 5 years. Although I guess that's assuming no more federal funds--maybe it would be sooner if there are surprise gifts from Uncle Sam. The state official indicated that the work would be done in "chunks"--do you suppose they would also extend the train in chunks? Maybe first to Middlebury, then to Burlington?
I may be wrong, but I think Vermont will be able to use the $20 million Senator Jefford's earmark from some years ago for track work on the Rutland to Burlington corridor. The state budget $6 million to provide state matching funds to be able to access the earmark. so the state may have a significant portion of the $35 to $45 million needed to for upgrading the line. But getting the funding to replace or rebuild bridges will take additional time. First apply for federal highway funds for road bridges and if they can't get the grants, then use state money. The state will also have to build ADA compliant stations which may add to the cost.

I won't not expect VT or Amtrak to go with an incremental extension of service to Middlebury and then to Burlington years later. If a storage track has to be built. not going to build at Middlebury which gets replaced by one in Burlington in a year or two.

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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Station Aficionado » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:01 pm

rovetherr wrote: More likely is the addition of a cab car or second loco (more likely) to the trainset and a reversing of direction in Rutland until the southern leg from Schenectady to Mechanicville, Hoosick Jct, and up through N. Bennington is realized.
Ah, yes, the "Palmer maneuver." Well, I guess you could add the second loco at Albany (support infrastructure and personnel already there), and it would be quicker than turning the train. Some folks would just have to ride backwards for an hour or so.

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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Station Aficionado » Thu Oct 25, 2012 10:12 pm

afiggatt wrote:I may be wrong, but I think Vermont will be able to use the $20 million Senator Jefford's earmark from some years ago for track work on the Rutland to Burlington corridor. The state budget $6 million to provide state matching funds to be able to access the earmark. so the state may have a significant portion of the $35 to $45 million needed to for upgrading the line. But getting the funding to replace or rebuild bridges will take additional time. First apply for federal highway funds for road bridges and if they can't get the grants, then use state money. The state will also have to build ADA compliant stations which may add to the cost.

I won't not expect VT or Amtrak to go with an incremental extension of service to Middlebury and then to Burlington years later. If a storage track has to be built. not going to build at Middlebury which gets replaced by one in Burlington in a year or two.
It would be great if they could leverage some existing funds, and they should definitely try for highway funding on anything reasonably road-related. As for stations, I don't know that it would be too onerous to get the platforms (EDIT: make that platform (sing.))at Burlington Union Station in compliance, but IIRC they'll be starting from scratch at Middlebury (we were there in summer of 2011 and I remember looking for a station and not finding anything). Tough to see any place between Rutland and Middlebury getting a stop; north of MIddlebury, maybe Charlotte or Shelburne (though there's a nice old station at New Haven Jct., now a business).

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