Brattleboro Welcomes Amtrak Again | Local News

After the suspension of rail service due to the coronavirus pandemic, community members celebrated its return.

BRATTLEBORO – The Vermonter is back in action, a move celebrated in resort communities statewide since the coronavirus pandemic interrupted service.

“After 479 days, travelers can once again enjoy the convenience and unique experience that only train travel can provide,” Heather Pelham, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, said Monday in a speech at of an event at the Brattleboro Amtrak Station. . “And for many, taking the train isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. It’s really about traveling while doing it.”

Pelham said cyclists take in the scenery, read or catch up on podcasts and work. She said that just thinking about travel lifts people’s spirits and gives them hope, and tourism is crucial to Vermont’s economy.

“Vermonter’s footfall, I’m happy to say, has steadily increased by almost 10% over the past five years and we certainly hope that will continue,” she said.

She pointed out that passenger rail transport consumes less energy per passenger-mile than airplanes and personal vehicles.

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Passengers from the Vermonter disembark at Brattleboro, where a celebration of the resumption of Amtrak services in the state was held Monday.

Jessica Green, owner of Gateway Travel in nearby Hinsdale, New Hampshire, waited for the train to arrive in Brattleboro. She said the train closure had definitely affected her travel agency, but so did the pandemic more generally, as it kept people at home.

“It’s a big day,” Green said. “It’s been a long time coming.”

Green said people rely on the train for their trips and vacations. With repairs to a culvert where the railroad crosses the Connecticut River in Dummerston needed after the rainwater took it away last week she was unsure whether the event should be rescheduled.

“I’m so excited he’s back,” said Green, whose company was previously based in Brattleboro.

Peter Gould, author and performer, described the train ride from Bellows Falls as “smooth”.

State Representative Mollie Burke, P / D-Windham-2-2, wife of Gould, said the train was going “pretty fast” but slowed down in Dummerston around where the the culvert has been repaired.

“It was great to have the train so full and to see all these people,” she said.

In a speech, Burke said that all of the excitement at the event “underscores how much people love trains and how thrilled we are all to be back in Vermont. He also points out that we are, hopefully, on the other side of a pandemic. “

Alexander MacScott, 5, dressed up as a conductor for the occasion. He loves trains and enjoyed the ride from Bellows Falls, his mother Andrea MacScott told The Reformer.

The family drove from the Hudson Valley area to New York City just for the event. They had never been to Brattleboro before.

“It’s wonderful,” said Andrea MacScott.

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Alexander MacScott and his mother Andrea MacScott traveled from the Hudson Valley area to New York for the event.

Brattleboro Select Board Chair Elizabeth McLoughlin said Amtrak service connects Brattleboro to other areas of Vermont and from stations to Richmond, Virginia, and other stations in the United States.

“We are celebrating the resumption of rail service,” she said in a speech. “We are also celebrating the resumption of our interconnection with each other, with Vermont and the nation.”

McLoughlin called public transit a “sustainable form of transportation” and encouraged people to put the train first in travel options. She said the city will create a new car park with additional parking spaces before Amtrak is building a new station Next year.

“This station will be the first ADA-level boarding platform in the state of Vermont,” she said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

She said a new bridge to Hinsdale near the station will also be built from this year and the area is part of a city center action plan the recently incorporated city.

Burke, a member of the House Transportation Committee and the Legislative Climate Caucus, said the transportation sector accounts for about 45 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in Vermont. It works to reduce these emissions through various policies and programs, including the promotion of public transit.

Burke said Brattleboro had the second-highest number of Amtrak boardings in Vermont in 2019 – 16,765.

“Let’s increase that number this year and advocate for the Valley Flyer to also extend all the way to Brattleboro and higher up the line, and hopefully we can get the Vermonter all the way to Montreal,” she said. .

Karren Meyer, an Operation Lifesaver volunteer in Vermont and a driver education teacher at Leland & Gray Union Middle and High School in Townshend who shared safety tips at the event, said the walkers and runners should no longer use the tracks now that the train is moving. again.

Vermont Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray joined state and community leaders in marking Amtrak’s return to service in Vermont. Gray spoke at the St. Alban’s kickoff before boarding the train from St. Albans to Essex Junction.

“I know I join many Vermonters in celebrating Amtrak’s return to service in Vermont,” Gray said in a statement. “Not only does today’s return to service mark an important milestone in our successful fight against COVID-19, but also the renewed opportunity for Vermonters to travel the state, region and nation by train.

“I applaud the investments proposed by President Biden and the Vermont congressional delegation in infrastructure and high-speed rail,” said Gray. “The rail investments proposed in the US Jobs Plan will allow more Vermonters to have an alternate form of public transportation for work and travel. The investments will also improve the resilience of state transportation while reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.

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