I always find it tricky to find the "tunnel" that could or does take trains from downtown Burlington Union Station over to Essex Junction......
This has probably already been discussed, but I am also a little surprised that basically Amtrak has it timed that both the Ethan Allen and Vermonter leave and arrive Burlington-Essex Junction area within 60 to 90 minutes of each other. I know a lot of this hovers around crew availability and assignments, and I am SO grateful to see the extension to Burlington, VT.
At the same token, a morning departure southbound out of Burlington-Essex Junction for the Vermonter and an early afternoon departure out of Burlington Union Station for the Ethan Allen Express would have offered a bit of flexibility or choices. Hands down, Burlington is a major hub for both these trains now.
Only thing I can think of northbound is perhaps the Ethan Allen Express being the train that arrives at some point at or after 11 pm to Burlington - thus having a later departure out of NYC in the late 3 pm hour, but certainly not as late as its old 5:45 pm departure.
Likewise, only thing I can suggest for the Vermonter is to run it out of Washington DC early - like 6 am even (Palmetto leaves at 6:02 am out of NYC for Savannah) - so as to allow it to be more of a "day train" into and through Vermont. A tightening up of the schedule on the NEC and into Springfield could potentially get the Vermonter into Essex Junction-Burlington by a goal of 7 pm. Last time I was on the Vermonter, it could have used some tightening up on its schedule at various points along the entire route. Thus:
- Southbound, early morning departure for the Vermonter on its meandering route through Vermont to Springfield
- Southbound, early afternoon departure for the Ethan Allen Express to NYC (a bit more direct, but Rutland maneuver still causing a delay).
- Northbound, arrival into Essex Junction-Burlington by 7 pm on the Vermonter.
- Northbound, arrival into Burlington Union Station by 11:00 pm on the Ethan Allen Express.
Northbound Ethan Allen and Vermonter arrive into the Burlington-Essex Junction area within 90 minutes of each other. Southbound, they depart within 60 minutes of each other.
Southbound the Vermonter used to have some good interchange traffic with the east and westbound Lake Shore Limited at Springfield. Some interconnectivity, once again, would help and go a long way. A connection at Springfield to Boston, used to have a descent amount of transferring passengers. One of the last "inland Regional trains" specifically left Boston early enough to make the arrival into Springfield and connection to northbound Vermonter.....Course this is also when the bus connection from Montreal to St. Albans was also largely in place. It too had a pretty good amount of connecting traffic to/from the train in St. Albans..........Remnants of the old overnight Montrealer........