Last Friday morning, the Ethan Allen Express (EAX) train departed from Burlington’s new Union Station, connecting Burlington to New York City for the first time in 70 years. Service began July 29th, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the train’s departure. With historic stations in Middlebury and Ferrisburgh-Vergennes restored, passenger rail travel is more accessible to Vermonters than ever. For the summer, Amtrak is offering promotional fares on the EAX, as well as an $18 maximum fare for traveling within Vermont to promote Vermont ridership. Tickets can be purchased via Amtrak.com, the Amtrak app, Amtrak ticket desks and kiosks, and through 1-800-USA-RAIL.
The EAX will depart from Burlington every morning at 10:10 am and reach New York’s Penn Station (NYP) by 5:45 pm. The Northbound train will depart NYP at 2:21 pm and arrive in Burlington at 9:55 pm. The full Ethan Allen Express schedule can be viewed here. There is currently limited parking at Pease Lot & Perkins Pier, which offers the closest spots to Burlington’s Union Station. The BBA is leading an effort to expand parking options. Currently, nearby city-run garages offer the least-cost option for overnight parking. Visit ParkBurlington.com for more information.
Ethan Allen Express passengers can enjoy the standard Amtrak amenities onboard– including cafe service and free wifi. With an added reservation and a $20 fee, EAX riders can bring their bike along too.
How the BBA is working for you
While the new Burlington Union station provides a vital regional transportation link between New York City and Burlington, local transportation pathways must be able to support an influx of travelers. The BBA, alongside the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC), is conducting a transportation study to assess the connectivity between Burlington’s new Union Station and downtown Burlington. The new Amtrak train service has the potential to bring a new cohort of tourists to Burlington and serve as a significant transportation corridor for Northwestern Vermont.
There is interest among waterfront stakeholders, businesses, and the City of Burlington in planning how various transportation connections would support the Hub created by the Amtrak service coming to Burlington. Key elements of the project will include an analysis of public and private parking available for Amtrak passengers, a multi-modal connectivity and wayfinding assessment, and an ADA assessment of the Main Street Landing and Union Station. The Amtrak Connectivity Project launches in early August and is expected to be complete by December 2022. The BBA will prepare and widely distribute a report on the planned improvements and recommendations and advocate for advancing them. The extension of the EAX presents a renewed opportunity for Burlington; however, the long-term success of the EAX depends on the accessibility between Burlington’s Union Station and the City of Burlington.