Well, it’s been 2 weeks and change since Amtrak resumed in Vermont. How’s it going?
You may recall that mother nature gave us drama in the days before reopening day as a storm washed out a culvert at Putney/Dummerston border on the New England Central. We had celebrations at every train station and more than 600 people booked on the train as well as thousands more at stations. Would they get it fixed in time? But the railroad doesn’t mess around and by Sunday morning before the Monday celebration the line was fixed.
Well, it happened again. A washout around Claremont on August 2nd again interrupted service. But it has now been fixed and trains are running again (did I mention, the railroad doesn’t mess around?)
In addition, the additional early morning “Valley Flyer” frequency from Greenfield Massachusetts has now been restored. Some Brattleboro patrons take the two “Valley Flyer” trains from Greenfield if their timings suit them better than the Vermonter.
(Yes, we should get one of these trains extended up to Bratttleboro and White River Junction)
In recent years, climate change has resulted in more intense storms, sometimes overwhelming culverts built in the mid 1800’s. We’re dealing with the same problems on the road network as well.
The Vermonter has been subject to about 20 minutes of slow orders due to track work, causing it to enter Massachusetts running a bit late and likewise on the return home. We are glad the trackwork is happening. Apart from this (and the first day delays) timekeeping has been good.
Patronage on the restored trains seems to be good based on anecdotal observations. Better than I would have expected, given the disruption in people’s habits and travel schedules.
Vermont’s “Operation Lifesaver” organization has been busy offering workshops in the community, reminding people to stop at railroad crossings when the train comes and not to trespass on tracks.
As you probably know, masks remain required on Amtrak (and airplanes and busses). Amtrak continues to take extra care cleaning and filtrating on-board air.
I hope you’re summer is going well. If you take the train as part of your travels, let me know how you liked the trip!