Vermont Rail Action Network

Hi friend,

As we’ve all hunkered down and stopped traveling, life has changed – and railroad traffic has diminished.

Amtrak’s “Vermonter” and “Ethan Allen” remain canceled – as is the “Adirondack” across the lake in New York and the “Downeaster” service in Maine. Amtrak is running only four trips between Boston and New York and all Acela service is canceled. Passengers at Burlington International Airport went from 10,000 – 15,000 per day to just 100, according to Vermont Business Journal, with most flights canceled. Gas tax revenues in Vermont are down 23.6% for April. New car sales have virtually halted.

Freight traffic – which had held up later than passenger – is now down across the board. For the week ending May 2nd, the Association of American Railroad reports that U.S. rail traffic is down almost 30% from last year. Canadian traffic is down 23.2%. Coal is down 46% and autos down 88%. Intermodal is down 14%. None of these groups normally move in Vermont, so our picture is a bit better. Grain is holding steady.

Detour trains through Vermont around the Hoosac Tunnel ceased April 4th. Life is getting quiet for railroaders. On non-union Vermont Rail System, some operating employees are working on track to avoid furloughs as trains are reduced. St. Johnsbury railroad yard has filled with parked Omya railcars. Gasoline and oil for Burlington had virtually stopped moving but has resumed. Central Maine & Quebec has cut Newport operations way back. One bright spot: Vermont Rail System is running daily operations in Montpelier and Barre to supply granite for Corps of Engineers contracts.

Canadian National cut their connecting freight from Montreal to Saint Albans to only 3 days a week. New England Central has cut operations back. As other traffic shrinks, long cuts of granite become prominent.

On the old Delaware & Hudson railroad in New York State, Canadian Pacific is now running trains only four days a week. International Paper in Ticonderoga is getting switched only twice a week.

The economic fallout we’ve got is unprecedented.  I hope for the best for you and for us.  May we find our best way forward together.

Christopher Parker
Executive Director


Leave a Reply