Burlington, Vt., council hears opposition to plans preparing for Amtrak service

Residents decry quality-of-life issues resulting from train storage, short siding
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Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express departs Rutland, Vt., in September 2013. Burlington, Vt., residents are expressing concerns over preparations to handle trains in their city when the Ethan Allen is extended from Rutland to Burlington.
Scott A. Hartley

BURLINGTON, Vt. — Burlington’s city council is requesting more information from Vermont’s Agency of Transportation about projects related to a plan to extend Amtrak service to the city.

The Seven Days website reports that residents are opposed to a plan for overnight storage of Amtrak trains at Burlington Union Station when the Ethan Allen Express is extended beyond its current endpoint of Rutland, Vt., in 2021 or 2022. A second track would also be constructed by the transportation agency and Vermont Rail System in front of the station between King and College streets, a distance of two blocks, or about 900 feet.

Residents contend the siding would bring additional noise and pollution, with a half-dozen saying it would destroy their quality of life, the website reports. One claimed at a Monday night council meeting that once the track is built, “the railroad will do whatever it wants and we’ll be powerless to stop it.” He also contended the location could become a rail yard.

Construction of the second track would also displace an existing bike trail, and the city is concerned about the cost of replacing it.

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