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Amtrak Ethan Allen Express and Vermonter Trip Report

We took a trip on the Ethan Allen Express from Rutland to Schenectady on 20 March 2010. We rode the rest of the route traversed by the Ethan Allen Express as part of our trips on Amtrak’s Empire Service. We had also planned a trip on the Vermonter for 2011, but unfortunately months of weekend track work have delayed those plans.

We arrived in Rutland a bit before departure and were able to watch our train back into the station. Our trip was just after the station change from Fair Haven to Castleton, so we stopped in Castleton but could still see the old station signage in Fair Haven. The ride through Vermont was slow due to track conditions, but for the most part we moved right along in New York, except just above Fort Edward where we had to wait about 20 minutes for another train to pass. We ended the trip in Schenectady and grabbed a couple of hot dogs at Mike’s just down the street from the station, a tasty end to a fine day.

Our trip on the Vermonter was on 27 May 2012. We drove to Plattsburgh the day before and spent some time supplementing the photographs from our trip on the Adirondack in New York and Quebec. After spending the night in Plattsburgh we headed around Lake Champlain to St. Albans to begin our trip on the Vermonter. As expected the train was nearly empty as we left St. Albans, having a car to ourselves for the first part of the trip. It was interesting to see the cars set up with half of the seats facing forward while the other half were facing backward. Unlike my train trip in China where after the train reversed direction at a switchback the passengers were all told to rotate their seats, half of the seats on this train always face backward.

The ride through Vermont was comfortable with the train slowly filling at each stop. The ride through Massachusetts to Palmer was not as smooth, and at Palmer we had to wait awhile before reversing direction. Although the train was reasonably crowded, we were still able to switch seats just before reversing direction so we continued to face forward for the remainder of the trip. The ride from Palmer to Springfield was very slow due to track work, and at Springfield the train became much more crowded even with another car being opened. After leaving Springfield we traveled at a much higher speed to New Haven. Although we were running late, we still had to wait at New Haven to change locomotives. Being a nice day we went out to watch the locomotive change, then re-boarded for the remainder of our trip to New York. From New York’s Penn Station we walked to Grand Central and took Metro-North back home, ending our trip on the Vermonter.

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