Let me give readers a historical perspective on "confusing" information surrounding this year's Green Mountain Flyer--perpetuated by the railroad itself.
Around the first of the year, rumors were flying rampart locally that the Green Mountain Flyer was being discontinued. I personally called the VRS passenger number shortly after the first of the year to confirm or deny the rumor, and was told by a VRS spokesman that it was indeed true. When asked "why", the spokesman said because "we're concentrating our passenger operations out of White River Jct. now".
After that conversation, I went down to the Bellows Falls Chamber of Commerce to talk with the folks there and they confirmed that the railroad had informed them the Flyer was being discontinued. The railroad, however, had left open the possibility that a few special excursions might be operated out of Bellows Falls--and had told the Chamber folks that the railroad would be willing to operate excursions on a charter basis if the chamber or another party would be willing to foot the bill. The Chamber folks said there was no money available locally to subsidize the excursions; the only way they'd be able to do anything would be if people could come up with themed-events excursions that they might be able to sell enough advance tickets to cover the cost of operating a train.
At the Amherst Railway Society train show (last weekend in January, if I remember correctly), VRS had a printed brochure that suprisingly showed the Flyer operating on Fridays at 11 A. M. from May 7th through October 15th plus several special events. I have a copy of that brochure here in front of me right now!
I just returned from the Bellows Falls railroad station, and found no VRS personnel there. According to the AMTRAK attendant, all VRS passenger department personnel is now located at White River Jct. I asked if he knew whether or not the Flyer had operated last Friday, May 7th as advertised in the VRS brochure. He said "No, that they won't be running until June 4th". He took me over to a posting on the Flyer ticket window which gives the following dates for Flyer operations through July 31st: June 4th: June 18th; June 25th; July 16th; July 23rd: and Saturday 31st (Rockingham Old Home Days/Fireworks train). The AMTRAK attendant kindly wrote down the operating days for me on a VRS brochure--and when I got home, I checked the printed Flyer information inside. Lo and behold, VRS had printed a new version of their brochure since the Amherst show--and it shows the Flyer running Fridays at 11 A. M. from May 21st to October 15th!
The bottom line is that the railroad has changed its mind a few times over the past few months, and I'd suggest that anyone planning to ride or photograph the GREEN MOUNTAIN FLYER on a given date check in with the railroad to make sure its operating that day. It would appear that the railroad is doing the same thing they did last year with excursion trains out of Bellows Falls: operating trips only when a tour group is booked. It's possible that a tour group might cancel on the days that are currently shown as operating days--and that day's excursion might be scrubbed. So if you REALLY want to know if the GREEN MOUNTAIN FLYER is operating on a specific day, give them a call a day or two in advance. Its toll free at 1-800-707-3530.
Frederick G. Bailey