RAILFAN GUIDES of the U.S.
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Many years ago, I worked up a whole bunch of maps, and then thought I lost them when one of my computers crashed. Lo and behold, I found a 100meg ZIP floppy with the maps on there, and will slowly be updating them. This is the first one.
Years ago, I was lucky to be in town on business when they had the Champagne Flyer commuter train running, I have to dig up the pictures.
For being "way out yonder", Burlington still has a strong railroad presence, with the Vermont Railway having it's northern terminus here, the New England Central RR comes rambling through on it's way to St. Albans to the north, and Amtrak stops in Essex Junction.
Amtrak has two daily trains each way. The schedule is below. The Vermonter actually terminates in Washington DC, and travel time is estimated at 13:45 between there and St Albans.
According to an article in the Burlington Free Press, Amtrak rates the state of Vermont as the last in the category of worst rail service.
Burlington is a neat town to visit, and if you're driving up from "the south", you'll pass by the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream HQ along the way.
The Vermont Railway has a train that heads south to Rutland around 8:30am. Depending on the amount of traffic they have, they switch stuff in yard about half the day. Nice shots can be had from the rocks along the waterfront.... they are just south of the main office building.
The folks over at the VTR are pretty decent, and if you exercise good judgment, and don't go wandering the yard, they will leave you alone if shooting from their parking lot. The tracks leading into town from the south are pretty easy to line up some good shots in both directions at Lyman and Bartlett Bay roads.
Waterfront Park off Lake St offers good photo ops for interchange trains north of the VTR yard.
The NECR has a daily train each way. As mentioned above, the New England Central offers the railfan numerous photo ops up and down the I-89 corridor. The wye in Essex Junction is also a good and interesting spot for pictures.
If you are game for some "hi-speed" chasing, following the NECR up or down the interstate will reward you with many excellent locations at any of the exits along I-89. The scenery south of Montpelier is especially nice south of Barre where it passes by a lake during the fall - the colors are nothing short of magnificent! There is also a passing siding south of Montpelier, and if they are still doing the same thing as when I was there 10 years ago, the NB and SB freights pass here in quite a dance since the siding only has an entrance at one end and the train has to back out in order to continue south.
Amtrak has two daily trains each way as shown in the schedule. It travels the same track as the NECR, and stops in Montpelier and terminates in St Albans.
St Albans is a short hop north of Burlington, but not too much is usually going on unless a freight is getting ready to leave or one has just arrived.
Winooski has a neat waterfalls which offers a change of pace while your taking a break to eat.
Burlington is simple. I-89 is the main road to get you in and out of Burlington.
Running up on the east side of town is VT 2a, which goes from exit 12 on up through Essex Junction, home to IBM, where they developed and produce the Power PC chip.
Williston Rd is the main E/W road, and is AKA US 2. The airport is off Williston, as well as many of the areas hotels. Williston turns into Main St on the west side of I-89, and the University of Vermont is located between the interstate and downtown.
Maple St is two blocks south of Main St, and is used to gain access to the VTR yard.
On the northside, 89 takes you through St Albans and on up to the Canadian border where highway 133 picks up. St Albans is about 25 miles from Burlington, the border is about another 15, and from there, it's about 50 miles to Montreal - a very cool railroading town!
I-89 to the south takes you to a junction with N-S I-91 at Hartford VT... I-91 rides the line between NH and VT. Beyond the junction with 91 is Manchester NH, which is serviced by Southwest Airlines. Travelling into Burlington by plane involves transferring at least once at something like LaGuardia, so you might as well spend the layover time driving from Manchester and get in some additional railfanning.
If you are coming from northern New York, the only real option is to take the ferry across Lake Champlain at Port Kent NY. Port Kent is about 5 miles off I-87. You can go around the lake on the north end, but it's about a 90 mile hike.
There are four ferries a day each way Monday thru Wednesday, six each way the rest of the week. The trip takes about an hour. The fee is $17.50 for a one way, $32.75 for a round trip if you have a car. It's 5 bucks and $9.30 if you don't. More info here.
1 The Amtrak Station
2 The Vermont Railway Yard
St Albans, to the North
Winooski and the Water Falls
Amtrak's 40th Birthday Train
Was In Town The Weekend of August 20th and 21st, 2011
As always, if you have something to add or correct, my email is here
Last Modified 03-Sep-2013