A view of the present and future sites of the Brattleboro Amtrak station. A new station will be built across from the current station on Depot Street.
Randolph T. Holhut/Commons file photo
A view of the present and future sites of the Brattleboro Amtrak station. A new station will be built across from the current station on Depot Street.

Ground to break for Brattleboro Amtrak station

Construction on new $10 million facility set to start in March

Construction work on a new train station, which will include the first elevated passenger platform in the state, is now set to start in March, says Amtrak Lead Public Relations Specialist Jen Flanagan.

Enfield Enterprises, LLC has been hired to execute the work, which is expected to take 18 months to complete.

The new Amtrak station plan was approved by the Development Review Board in December 2020 and administratively renewed through December 2023.

The Selectboard, on behalf of the town, voted unanimously to allow Amtrak to use a portion of the Depot Street parking lot to build the new station and platform.

At that time, Selectboard Chair Ian Goodnow noted the easement would mean losing about 10 parking spaces, but said also that loss had been anticipated since the project was proposed in 2017.

Parking has since been added to ease the parking situation.

In addition to the easement from the town, Amtrak has had to negotiate a lease with track owner New England Central Railroad and work with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the State Historic Preservation Offices of the National Park Service, and Green Mountain Power.

The new station on the east side of the tracks will include a 36-seat waiting area, a restroom, an engineers' room, and a covered outdoor area with bench seating.

The project includes rebuilding existing siding track and switches and a new, 345-foot-long platform set 48 inches above the rail, a feature that will allow level boarding.

The new facility will also include an electric snow-melting system and new lighting, signage, and drainage.

The full station project construction cost has been estimated at $7.4 million. Amtrak has also spent $1.7 million on track work and $1 million on design, so the total will be $10 million by completion, Flanagan says.

It is also expected that a new bike shelter with e-bike chargers will be installed in a covered area as well as a fast charger for electric vehicles in the parking lot, to be paid for with money from the federal Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), a bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in 2021.

The law authorizes $1.2 trillion for transportation and infrastructure spending with $550 billion to go to new investments and programs. Money from the IIJA addresses energy and power infrastructure, access to broadband Internet, water infrastructure, and more. Some new programs paid for by the bill could provide resources needed to address a variety of local-level infrastructure needs.

Currently, Amtrak uses the basement of the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center as its Brattleboro station. The space now used for the waiting room was once the baggage storage area when the building was an active train station from its opening in 1916 until its closure in 1967.

According to data from the Rail Passengers Association (railpassengers.org), Brattleboro is Vermont's second busiest station on the route of Amtrak's Vermonter, with 14,258 riders boarding or de-training in Brattleboro in 2022.

This News item by Virginia Ray was written for The Commons.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates