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Festivities to mark return of Amtrak trains

Every station in Vermont will stage a celebration

BRATTLEBORO—Amtrak passenger service to and from Vermont resumes on Monday, July 19, and the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) says celebrations at all Amtrak stations in the state — including Brattleboro and Bellows Falls — will welcome the trains’ return.

Each event will begin 45 minutes before the train is scheduled to arrive at the station that day.

Senate Majority Leader Becca Balint, D-Brattleboro, state Rep. Carolyn Partridge, D-Windham, and Norma Jean Griffiths of the Federal Rail Administration will speak at an 11:45 a.m. event at the Bellows Falls station to greet the southbound Vermonter.

The train is due in at 12:30 p.m.

Smokin’ Bowls will provide the food, and a jazz band will provide the music.

At 5 p.m., state Rep. Leslie Goldman, D-Rockingham, will lead the welcome for the northbound train’s arrival at 5 p.m. Jamaican Jewelz will be serving food.

The DiTrani Brothers Band will perform. The Brattleboro-based band specializes in “original and traditional tunes drawing influence from Eastern European folk music, Roma swing, and early European and American jazz, delivering raucous performances that allude to past traditions, places, and sounds,” according to its website.

In Brattleboro, the celebration for the southbound train begins at 12:45 p.m., with the train scheduled to arrive at 1:02 p.m. Festivities will be held on the green adjacent to the Connecticut River, across from Whetstone Station.

Free parking will be provided in the Brattleboro Transportation Center on Flat Street. The festivities, provided by the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance (DBA), will include free gelato and a performance by the DiTrani Brothers Band.

Operation Lifesaver of Vermont will be providing short presentations on rail safety in both Bellows Falls and Brattleboro.

Other stations to celebrate

Earlier in the day, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., will speak at an 8:30 a.m. event at the St. Albans station to celebrate the return of the Vermonter.

Also scheduled to speak are House Transportation Committee Chair Rep. Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes), Amtrak Vice President Ray Lang, Vermont Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn, St. Albans Mayor Tim Smith, and Village of Essex Junction Board of Trustees President Andrew Brown, among others.

A 7:30 a.m. event at the Rutland station will celebrate the return of the Ethan Allen Express. Speakers include Rutland Mayor David Allaire, who is also a member of the Vermont Rail Advisory Council, and the vice-chair of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Charles “Butch” Shaw (D-Florence).

Special fares on July 19

To complement these events, $1 train fares are being offered for travel within Vermont on July 19 so attendees may participate in the celebration with an Amtrak train ride.

For tickets, visit amtrak.com/vermont.

In advance of the event in Bellows Falls, a shuttle bus in Brattleboro will leave at 11:15 a.m. to take train fans there so they can ride the Vermonter back to town.

For shuttle service, seating is limited and being offered on a first-come, first-served basis. To reserve, visit bit.ly/621-amtrak.

For links to the Amtrak train schedules for Vermont service, as well as additional information, visit vtrans.vermont.gov/rail/providers.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #621 (Wednesday, July 14, 2021). This story appeared on page A1.

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