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Burlington City Council, mayor take trip to Rutland to see Amtrak service

(WCAX)
Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 12:03 AM EST
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Is the Amtrak plan to expand rail service from Rutland to Burlington on track? Members of Burlington's City Council went on a road trip to Rutland on Monday night to find out.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger, nine city councilors and Public Works Director Chapin Spencer headed to the Rutland Rail Yard to see firsthand what it would look and sound like to have a train run through Burlington.

Councilors were escorted to the rail yard by representatives from Vermont Railway Service. They all also watched as a train was serviced and got to see how long that process takes, because if a train service does extend to Burlington, they would be serviced overnight.

It hasn't been decided yet on where the trains would be parked in Burlington, but Weinberger says there are six potential sites being considered, including by the waterfront. In the end, Weinberger says the state has the final say.

"The state ultimately has the decision of where we'll go, but the state has invited the city to weigh in and advise the state on which location the city would prefer and we think that will be influential on how the state thinks about their decision," he said.

Weinberger says he feels optimistic seeing and hearing the trains roll by, and noted that the noise impact was "modest."

After the meeting, WCAX News hit the streets of Rutland to find out what people living near the train station think about the noise. Most of them said they don't think it's that bad.

Amy Hubbell, a local resident, said she supports bringing more people to and from Rutland and thinks it's a good idea to expand service to Burlington.

"I know a lot of people go and do day trips just for shopping and overnights even just to make a night of it so I think that would be an appeal to people," Hubbell said.

The mayor says the state is asking for the city's recommendation on which site they think would be best by February.

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