Amtrak Rutland-Burlington extension to be completed by 2021

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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Transportation officials hope to have Amtrak's Ethan Allen Express Burlington extension up and running by 2021, but are still holding out on an official start date.

The extension of Amtrak service to Burlington has been talked about for decades. Right now, the Ethan Allen Express train route from New York City ends in Rutland City, but officials are hoping the long-awaited dream of rail service up Vermont's western corridor is coming by 2021.

So far, it is expected to cost more than $100 million in state and federal money but officials still say there's some work to be done.

"Platform projects in Vergennes, Middlebury and Burlington need to be upgraded to be ADA compliant," said Dan Delabruere with VTrans.

He says once those projects are complete, then we will be able to welcome the train to Burlington.

"Hopefully those projects will be done by the end of 2020," said Delabruere.

He says that most of the people riding the train are headed to one place.

"The number one destination point for Vermonters is New York City based on the data we have," said Delabruere

The on-again-off-again plan has been in the works for more than two decades. So will it actually happen this time?

"We think that getting the Amtrak train back to Burlington is very realistic. Vermont has been fortunate to get several federal grants, so funding-wise I think we are just about there. So yeah, we can see the finish line," said Delabruere.

Officials say from Burlington, the train will take just under eight hours to get to New York City and will have stops in Vergennes and Middlebury.

Another long-awaited plan is the promised return of Amtrak Vermonter service all the way through to Montreal. That service was curtailed in 1995 and the route currently ends in St. Albans.