Proposed passenger train to make stops in Island Pond

Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 10:19 PM EDT
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ISLAND POND, Vt. (WCAX) - As of now, only freight trains run through Island Pond, but within the next few years, passengers could be stopping there on their way to places like Boston, Old Orchard Beach or Montreal.

“We’re always looking for ways to expand access in the Kingdom,” said Sen. Russ Ingalls, R-Essex-Orleans.

Ingalls says the Northeast Kingdom is often overlooked when it comes to transportation.

“In Vermont, rail and aviation isn’t a moneymaker for us, but we push hard,” he said.

The plan is being executed by the Night Train Foundation based out of Montreal. The train would run overnight between there and Boston with stops in Old Orchard Beach, Maine; Portland, Maine; Durham, New Hampshire; Island Pond, Vermont; and Sherbrooke, Quebec.

Francois Rebello, the director of the Night Train Foundation, says everyone wins.

“Those cities and those towns in the north of New England, they have some kind of economic problem, so to get connected to centers like Montreal and Boston will help them a lot with their economy,” Rebello said.

Business owners and those from the area say they’re excited about the project. Cassidy Doyon, who works at the Kingdom Grille, says this will likely give them a more steady stream of customers.

“On Mondays and Tuesdays, we’re the only restaurant within like 20 miles that’s even open at all, so I think it’ll attract a lot more customers, and people that have never been before,” she said.

Ingalls says projects like this have been proposed before but have never worked out.

“We hear things like this a lot, but you know, things that are going to happen and what,” Ingalls said. “There’s been so many things over the years so that people don’t really get too wound up about it.”

Rebello says the biggest barrier to the project is on the Canadian side, where they need to build tracks between Sherbrooke and Montreal.

The U.S. side still has its challenges, like working around freight scheduling.