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Vermonter Ridership At Record Levels

Toby Talbot
AP file
The Amtrak Vermonter travels south in Middlesex in 2013. Ridership on that route is at record levels.

Ridership on Amtrak’s Vermonter is at its highest level ever.

Vermont rail officials say track improvements have cut travel time to New York, which has helped attract riders. There are also plans to restore service to Montreal.

According to Dan Delabruere, rail program director for the Agency of Transportation, Vermonter ridership has been on the rise for the past 20 months, since work was completed that shortened the trip to New York by about 30 minutes.  He says the work, coupled with marketing efforts accounts for the increase.

During the 12-month period ending in September, 83,351 riders took the Vermonter, a 6.6 percent increase from the year before.

There were 49,137 riders on the Ethan Allen Express, which travels up the western side of Vermont, a 0.9 percent decline from the previous year.

Delabruere says future track work south of Vermont will further shorten travel time to New York on the Vermonter. 

Efforts are also underway to restore service to Montreal. 

Delabruere says both countries are currently working on a treaty that would allow the train to continue to Montreal for customs clearance without making a border stop.

He says the treaty is a major hurdle facing Montreal service, but it could be settled early in the new year.

Other, less significant issues will also need to be resolved. There is no specific timeline for the resumption of Montreal service.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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