Ethan Allen Discussion, including Expansion (Burlington)

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Allouette
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Allouette »

Putting a wye in Burlington would be pretty tough with encroachment on the remaining tracks making things tight as it is. As far as I know, neither Rutland nor Central Vermont ever had one, so there isn't even a historic footprint for one. CV always maintained the Winooski sub (to Essex Jct) for 25 MPH with a couple of 10MPH restrictions. No telling what it's good for now.

TomNelligan
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by TomNelligan »

While the former CV Winooski Sub would have to be upgraded to some reasonable speed limit for revenue passenger service, I'd guess that it could still be used for a nightly deadhead move to the Essex Junction wye even at slow speeds with no or minimal improvement. The line sees a daily local freight so the track isn't awful. Further assuming that the passenger-friendly Vermont Railway was willing to host overnight storage for the equipment in Burlington, there's probably no need to continue running all the way to St. Albans, unless in some distant future the train is also continuing on to Montreal.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Ridgefielder »

gokeefe wrote:With this link and the connection to Montreal Vermont will have restored almost all of their lost passenger service from the previous "legacy era". Amazing.
They're going to have more service than in the legacy era, at least if you consider "legacy" to be April 30, 1971. Service on the Conn River north of Springfield ended in I believe 1965, and the Rutland shut down passenger operations in 1953. You're talking restoring 1940's levels of service.

TomNelligan
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by TomNelligan »

Ridgefielder wrote: You're talking restoring 1940's levels of service.
Well, let's not get TOO dreamy here! In the 1940's there were multiple daily frequencies on both the Rutland and CV (the former including Bellows Falls-Rutland trains as well as North Bennington-Burlington), plus service to Montreal via the B&M and CP through St. Johnsbury and Newport. You could also throw in the Montreal-Portland trains through the Northeast Kingdom on the Grant Trunk, Maine Central's daily train between Portland and St. Johnsbury via the Mountain Sub, and even the St Johnbury & Lamoille County mixed trains across the top of the state. So we're not quite back to the 1940s here.

But what IS thoroughly encouraging is Vermont's ongoing support for current and potential added service on the state's two spine lines, the CV/NECR and the Rutland/VTR, even if it's only one train a day, maybe two on the Conn River. Those of us who were around for the end of B&M/CV passenger service through the state fifty years ago wouldn't have expected anything to come back.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Noel Weaver »

Absolutely I agree not more trains but decent trains with working AC, some sort of food service and comfortable seating which will be as good or better than back when they were still running
The old Rutland never even owned an air conditioned car, any AC cars used on the Rutland were either New York Central or Boston and Maine cars. I sure wish Florida would do as much as Vermont is doing but here the highway lobby is way too strong to allow anything positive to happen involving the state and Amtrak and there are too many antis here.
Noel Weaver

Allouette
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Allouette »

Rutland had some ex-Pere Marquette coaches that were air-conditioned, bought in 1947 for near-scrap prices. My family spent summers in Charlotte, and my first memory of the Rutland line was when grass was growing between the rails between the time of the Rutland strike and the VTR takeover. The resurgence since then is pretty amazing.

dowlingm
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by dowlingm »

If money would have to be spent either way to construct a wye then how much more it would cost to extend to Essex Junction should certainly be considered, I think.

Allouette
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Allouette »

Unless the entire western corridor gets done the train will still have to change direction in Rutland, possibly with an engine on each end. If that's the case there wouldn't be any need for a wye in Burlington.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Ridgefielder »

Allouette wrote:Unless the entire western corridor gets done the train will still have to change direction in Rutland, possibly with an engine on each end. If that's the case there wouldn't be any need for a wye in Burlington.
Burlington doesn't have a wye, but it does have a turntable. Since we're presumably talking about a layover of a couple hours between the arrival of the NB and departure of the SB, wouldn't there be time to uncouple the locomotive, back down to the yard, spin it on the table, and back up to the consist at the Burlington Station? Doesn't really matter which order the consist is in-- it's not like the Ethan Allen is going to be carrying a round-end obs with a drumhead, after all. :wink:

F-line to Dudley via Park
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

Ridgefielder wrote:
Allouette wrote:Unless the entire western corridor gets done the train will still have to change direction in Rutland, possibly with an engine on each end. If that's the case there wouldn't be any need for a wye in Burlington.
Burlington doesn't have a wye, but it does have a turntable. Since we're presumably talking about a layover of a couple hours between the arrival of the NB and departure of the SB, wouldn't there be time to uncouple the locomotive, back down to the yard, spin it on the table, and back up to the consist at the Burlington Station? Doesn't really matter which order the consist is in-- it's not like the Ethan Allen is going to be carrying a round-end obs with a drumhead, after all. :wink:
That's probably not worth Amtrak's while since the presumptive station site is a few blocks/grade crossings north of the VRS yard around the ferry terminal, where the backup move to reach the yard would be pretty arduous around all the pedestrians clustered around the waterfront. Since this is a pretty limited schedule, they can probably bum a cab car without too much trouble for Spring thru Fall...then run double-ended in winter like the Vermonter does.


File under "work in progress". The second they get this up-and-running I bet a +1 to Essex Jct. and track upgrades on the 7-mile NECR Burlington Branch get put quickly on the front-burner to tidy up that direction-change issue on the layover.

Ridgefielder
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Ridgefielder »

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:
Allouette wrote:Unless the entire western corridor gets done the train will still have to change direction in Rutland, possibly with an engine on each end. If that's the case there wouldn't be any need for a wye in Burlington.
Burlington doesn't have a wye, but it does have a turntable. Since we're presumably talking about a layover of a couple hours between the arrival of the NB and departure of the SB, wouldn't there be time to uncouple the locomotive, back down to the yard, spin it on the table, and back up to the consist at the Burlington Station? Doesn't really matter which order the consist is in-- it's not like the Ethan Allen is going to be carrying a round-end obs with a drumhead, after all. :wink:
That's probably not worth Amtrak's while since the presumptive station site is a few blocks/grade crossings north of the VRS yard around the ferry terminal, where the backup move to reach the yard would be pretty arduous around all the pedestrians clustered around the waterfront. Since this is a pretty limited schedule, they can probably bum a cab car without too much trouble for Spring thru Fall...then run double-ended in winter like the Vermonter does.


File under "work in progress". The second they get this up-and-running I bet a +1 to Essex Jct. and track upgrades on the 7-mile NECR Burlington Branch get put quickly on the front-burner to tidy up that direction-change issue on the layover.
Problem with running double-ended is they'd either need two dual-modes or they'd need to add/remove the second engine at Albany-Rensselaer. It's a problem the Vermonter never faced because of the New Haven engine change.

Noel Weaver
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by Noel Weaver »

The easiest and best to handle the train at Burlington would be to continue to Essex Junction and turn it on the wye there. If they continue to run via Saratoga then they will most likely use either a locomotive or a cab car to accomplish the reverse at Rutland as it would take too much time to do the turn at Rutland and as far as the turntable at Burlington is concerned this would be totally impractical because you would have to have someone pull the 480 lines and this sort of operation would take longer than the move to Essex Junction to turn the whole thing. It would be even more difficult to turn the engine at Burlington in the winter with ice and snow. It is a possible alternative but only in an emergency.
Noel Weaver

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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

Noel Weaver wrote:The easiest and best to handle the train at Burlington would be to continue to Essex Junction and turn it on the wye there. If they continue to run via Saratoga then they will most likely use either a locomotive or a cab car to accomplish the reverse at Rutland as it would take too much time to do the turn at Rutland and as far as the turntable at Burlington is concerned this would be totally impractical because you would have to have someone pull the 480 lines and this sort of operation would take longer than the move to Essex Junction to turn the whole thing. It would be even more difficult to turn the engine at Burlington in the winter with ice and snow. It is a possible alternative but only in an emergency.
Noel Weaver
That's why it's "work in progress". The NECR Burlington Branch today isn't in any shape for continuing service. That branch is poor condition Class 1 track, while the Western Corridor was Class 2 in easy/economical reach of Class 3. It's a virtual certainty that they'll turn their attention next to the Burlington Branch and Essex Jct. It opens up too many attractive options to pass up, and is a short enough length of track to upgrade on short money. But all in due time...they only had so many resources to devote to getting this extension up and running in < 5 years. So there's going to be a "please pardon our appearance" interregnum for those first few years where the ops on the turnback are going to be a little ham-fisted. And when those late-breaking/newly-proposed infill flag stops are going to have to get by on single-door waiting areas and portable wheelchair lifts for minimum-most ADA compliance until they can appropriate $$$ for permanent station structures. But they're in good position to quickly play catch-up on those tasks once this thing is operating. If 2017-18 is the start date, I wouldn't be surprised if Burlington Branch rehab and a +1 to Essex Jct. gets fast-tracked for a 2021 opening date. That's, what, 3 years to get by on temporary turnback procedure before they gain acceptable-speed access to a proper wye? Yeah, they'll happily take that since their funding chances for these extra to-do's gets vastly better when they're add-ons to an already revenue-generating route instead of a delay that pushes the project back another 4-5 years. Vermont's not in a position to swing this any other way, so they're playing it smart stepping this out in quick strikes for short money and immediately fast-tracking the next step one foot in front of the other.

NH2060
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by NH2060 »

Ridgefielder wrote:Burlington doesn't have a wye, but it does have a turntable. Since we're presumably talking about a layover of a couple hours between the arrival of the NB and departure of the SB, wouldn't there be time to uncouple the locomotive, back down to the yard, spin it on the table, and back up to the consist at the Burlington Station? Doesn't really matter which order the consist is in-- it's not like the Ethan Allen is going to be carrying a round-end obs with a drumhead, after all. :wink:
Unless I'm missing something isn't the train supposed to be an extension of the existing service or will there be a different round trip to augment the existing timetable? The EAE currently utilizes up to two sets of equipment and lays over in Rutland during the night and -once extended to Burlington- would layover for up to around 7 hours overnight depending if its a week or weekend evening.

And as long as the train could in theory go to Essex Junction why not just have it go all the way to St. Albans and get more out of the upgraded trackage? SAC and EJ residents would now be able to get to Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, Saratoga, Albany, and the lower and mid-Hudson Valley by train. And could actually provide a somewhat faster trip to/from NYC.

F-line to Dudley via Park
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Re: Ethan Allen to Burlington in 5 Years

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park »

NH2060 wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:Burlington doesn't have a wye, but it does have a turntable. Since we're presumably talking about a layover of a couple hours between the arrival of the NB and departure of the SB, wouldn't there be time to uncouple the locomotive, back down to the yard, spin it on the table, and back up to the consist at the Burlington Station? Doesn't really matter which order the consist is in-- it's not like the Ethan Allen is going to be carrying a round-end obs with a drumhead, after all. :wink:
Unless I'm missing something isn't the train supposed to be an extension of the existing service or will there be a different round trip to augment the existing timetable? The EAE currently utilizes up to two sets of equipment and lays over in Rutland during the night and -once extended to Burlington- would layover for up to around 7 hours overnight depending if its a week or weekend evening.

And as long as the train could in theory go to Essex Junction why not just have it go all the way to St. Albans and get more out of the upgraded trackage? SAC and EJ residents would now be able to get to Burlington, Middlebury, Rutland, Saratoga, Albany, and the lower and mid-Hudson Valley by train. And could actually provide a somewhat faster trip to/from NYC.
Layovers would be at the VRS yard in Burlington even if the line were extended to Essex Jct. since any layover sidings installed at Essex wouldn't have enough onsite security and would cost too much to install crew quarters. The problem (for now) is simply that the Burlington Branch is in no shape to deadhead to the wye, wye the train, then deadhead back to Burlington facing the correct direction to lay over after every single trip. Track conditions on the branch are too poor at present for Amtrak's comfort level, though as noted if they're moving one foot in front of the other it won't take much money for next step to be upgrading the branch to full-on revenue service to Essex.

St. Albans might be a smidge too far for the baby steps they're moving at now. But in the future?...yeah, if demand merits that's an easy tack-on.

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