On July 29, the City of Burlington, VT and surrounding communities celebrated the initiation of Amtrak service connecting Vermont’s Queen City to New York City for the first time in nearly 70 years. This return culminates years of planning and coordination between numerous state and federal agencies to connect Vermont’s biggest municipality with the nation’s largest city, and numerous locations in-between, including new stations in Middlebury and Vergennes. The service is expected to be a benefit to the local economy and provide a convenient new option for local travelers.
VHB is proud to have provided integrated engineering services—including project scoping, public outreach, permitting, preliminary and final design, and construction inspection—on a variety of large- and small-scale infrastructure improvement projects along the rail corridor necessary to meet the demands of passenger rail services. These projects included: the relocation of seven tracks and the addition of a new Amtrak Siding in the Burlington Railyard for overnight storage of the Amtrak Train; replacement of the existing Burlington station platform with a 300-foot-long concrete low-level platform and the removal and relocation of a historic steel framed canopy to the south end of that platform; the Middlebury Downtown Bridge and Railroad Tunnel project that included extensive track infrastructure and alignment improvements; scoping services for the new Middlebury Station Platform; and numerous highway crossing track and safety improvements from Rutland to Burlington.
VHB’s Scott Burbank, Vermont Director of Structures, and Aaron Guyette, Vermont Transportation Market Lead, participated in the inaugural ride that capped off the ribbon cutting event to acknowledge VHB’s invaluable contributions. Speakers at the event included U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, Governor Phil Scott, Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) Deputy Administrator Jennifer Mitchell, Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner, and New York State Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez, among others.
Scott said, “Today’s event represents the cumulative efforts of numerous VHBers across various locations and disciplines working together to achieve this goal. I am proud to be a part of the VHB Team that has worked diligently to meet the needs and expectations of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), the City of Burlington, Vermont Rail System (VRS), the FRA and FHWA, and other stakeholders that provided guidance and input during the planning and design phases that have led to this historic event. We are excited that Burlingtonians and the greater Vermont community will have this new convenient option for travel from Burlington to New York and ultimately the rest of Amtrak’s Services.”