Why Rail

Rail is the most economical way to move goods and people


Railroads’ Contribution to the Vermont Economy

  • Freight rail links to urban and industrial centers provide cost-effective access for Vermont businesses to suppliers and markets.
  • Shipping by rail instead of truck reduces carbon emissions by 75%, noise by one half, and uses only 29% of the fuel. 
  • Tourism supports over 30,000 Vermont jobs. Passenger rail travel preserves more of our state’s natural beauty and brings visitors to our historic downtowns.
  • Rail supports industrial development – and jobs. Some companies won’t locate without rail access. For others it enables expansion. Ninety nine Vermont communities are served by active rail lines – a potential economic development lifeline, especially for rural towns.
  • Railroad upgrades cost a fraction of highway expansion projects. Rail investments also attract private capital to match public investments. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, every $1 investment in our freight railroads — tracks, equipment, locomotives, bridges — yields $3 in economic output (a 300% rate of return!). A Texas study found that every $1 in public investment at passenger rail stations attracts $7 in private investment. 
  • Average wages & benefits for 173 railroad employees in Vermont is $79,264.  In Vermont, that’s a good job!  Each railroad job supports 4.5 other jobs (based on national averages).  

Quick Facts:

  • Rail transports natural resource products and commodities to and from Vermont at lower rates than by trucks, allowing many Vermont businesses to remain competitive regionally and nationally.
  • Train travel is 50 times safer than driving, while reducing vehicle traffic.
  • Amtrak’s Vermonter and Ethan Allen Express trains provide a comfortable, cost-effective travel option for tourists, business travelers, students, and family members to reach Vermont destinations.
  • Shipping heavy goods by rail significantly reduces wear and tear from heavy truck traffic on our state and national highways.
  • Seasonal rail excursion trains, some with dining service and music on board, offer visitors an authentic, scenic experience of the real Vermont.

75% Less Emissions

On average, freight rail is four times more efficient than shipping by truck. This means 75% less emissions.

Connecting Vermont Communities

Vermont has 11 active passenger train stations. There are 99 towns along active rail lines.

Railroads Support Jobs

Each railroad job supports 4.5 additional jobs. Average wages and benefits of a Vermont railroad employee is $79,264.