Burlington, Vt. - For the first time since 1953, inter-city train service is coming back to downtown Burlington.
Railway enthusiasts and experts came together at Union Station Wednesday to talk about the increasing need for different travel options. There are two trains that run in the state owned by Amtrak: The Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express.
According to Vermont Rail Action Network, ridership on both systems is up. Bruce Becker from the National Association of Railroad Passengers said that those increases send a clear message.
"It shows that people do want to travel by train," Becker said. "They do want to come to locations where they can ride bikes or get on other public transportation."
To keep that momentum going, VTrans will be extending the Ethan Allen Express. It ends in Rutland, but will be extended to Union Station in Burlington. VTrans said that the project is fully funded and now the work just needs to be done. They estimate it will be done in four years.
Wednesday's conversation was framed by a trip called "Summer by Rail 2017" for two interns with the National Association of Railroad Passengers. New Jersey students Victoria Principato and Caitlyn Boyle were selected to travel by train to 22 cities. Their road trip kicked off Monday in New York City and Burlington was their first stop.
The two said their trip would have been easier if there was a train stop right in Burlington. However, the duo noted it didn't stop them from getting the Vermont experience with stops to Citizen Cider and Ben & Jerry's.
You can follow Victoria and Caitlyn's "Summer by Rail" through their blog.
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