Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Burlington

Burlington, Vermont:
The Champlain Flyer


On 4 December 2000, Burlington, Vermont (population about 40,000) became the smallest U.S. city with commuter rail service. The Champlain Flyer linked Burlington with the village of Charlotte, about twelve miles away, with an intermediate stop at Shelburne. This service was funded by the state of Vermont, and was operated by the Vermont Railway System, using the former Rutland Railroad tracks. It was originally conceived as alternative transportation during construction work on US route 7, the main highway running south from Burlington.

As of summer 2001, when I visited Burlington, a single train (a locomotive and two coaches) shuttled back and forth once an hour, with four round trips in the morning and five in the afternoon on weekdays (no midday service). The train ran every two hours through the day on weekends. The fare was $1.00, paid on the honor system by putting cash in a box at the front of each coach.

There were plans to extend the Flyer further south to Vergennes and Middlebury (for a total distance of about 35 miles), and northward to Essex Junction, to serve the IBM facility (a major employer) and to meet Amtrak's Vermonter service.

However, state budget problems (and probably the departure of Gov. Howard Dean, who was a strong supporter of the Flyer) caused the legislature to cut off funding. The last day of service was 28 February 2003.


These pictures were taken in July 2001.

[picture] An elevated view of the train at the Burlington station, with Lake Champlain nearby and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance.

[picture] Rear end of the train, with the former Burlington Union Station in the background. The old station is now an office complex.

[picture] Passengers board at Burlington.

[picture] The train crosses King Street, a couple of blocks south of the station.

[picture] The new station building at Charlotte opened in June 2001. This view looks down the track from the locomotive end of the train.

[picture] A broadside view of the Charlotte station, looking across the parking lot, showing the full length of the train.

This page was last updated on 9 May 2005, and reviewed on 16 September 2007.

Presbyterian College > Academic Web Server > Jon Bell > Transit > (Cities | Types) > Burlington

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