Speeds on Amtrak's Vermont within Vermont will increase in March, thanks to stimulus-funded investment in the New England Central Railroad which will raise speeds from 55 to 59 mph north of White River Junction and 59 to 79 mph south of there. The new schedule is shown at right. [Not all stations south of Massachusetts are shown]
It will take another year or so for the rewly reconstructed line in Massachusetts to open, eliminating the Palmer backup move and removing another 30 minutes or more from the timing. Further speed increases are coming on the Connecticut portion of the line by 2016.
Below the Vermont state border, the train's schedule remains unchanged; departure has been pushed back 28 minutes and arrival is a like amount earlier.
The new schedule takes effect March 18th. Higher speed limits will be in effect begining March 11th, giving crews time to get used to operating the route at a faster clip.
This good news is also a good occassion for a safety reminder. Trains at crossings will be approaching more quickly so we urge appropriate caution to keep safe. Safety first means never trying to beat the train. Always expect a train at any time and be sure you approach crossings at what is known on the railroad as "restricted speed," defined as able to stop within one half of the range of vision.
Crossing gates and flashers will be re-timed to continue to provide at least 20 seconds warning, the same as before, however at crossings without lights or flashers, remember any old instincts will no longer apply.