Essex Junction is the busiest Amtrak station in Vermont and serves Burlington, Vermont's largest city located ten miles away. There is connecting CCTA (Chittenden County Transportation Authority) to downtown Burlington Monday through Friday and to Southbound Train #57 on Saturdays via Route #2. Burlington has an historic Union Station but it has never seen regularly scheduled intercity rail service in the Amtrak-era. The station was one of the last staffed stations in Vermont (with checked baggage service) until every station in the state become unstaffed when the Vermonter lost its baggage car in 2002. A block south of the station (south of maple street) there is still the connections (via a wye) to a rail spur that leads into downtown Burlington's Union Station. The stop is the busiest station in the state of Vermont and has always been a stop on the Montrealer/Vermonter, it would probably be the terminus of the train if a train yard was present instead of having trains continue virtually empty 24 miles north to St Albans, the Amtrak terminus with the fewest passengers. I also wonder why the train can't simply use the still existing rail spur and enter downtown Burlington instead, using the yard of the Vermont Railway just south of downtown. On a recent Vermonter ride the two conductors ending up opening two doors instead of just one for the station stop.
The station itself consists of depot built for the Central Vermont Railway in 1958 at the SE corner of Central Street and Railroad Avenue. It is a single story building with a flat roof with overhangs on both sides. The building has an unusual paint screme of white on the upper walls with baby blue towards the bottom and accents of red. There are three wigs of the depot, the north wing is a small waiting room that once housed the ticket and baggage office until the station became unstaffed in 2002. Looking inside there are no remains of a ticket window, just a dutch door but it appears the waiting room hasn't been modified much with two wooden 'Subway'-like benches. There is one door to this room out to the platform. There is the ghostly remains of what was once the pointless arrow protruding from the wall. Next is what looks like a garage door and must have been used for baggage. The middle wing is a cellular section and the southern wing is a glass enclosed area (with a door) and a small model train layout inside with Heritage Amtrak cars. Just beyond this layout is a rubbermaid shed with the wheelchair lift inside (these sheds are uniquely used in Vermont). The street side of the depot is the most interesting feature along the sidewalk of Railroad Avenue with bus shelters built into the side of the building and modern benches behind plexiglass shelters. It is the main bus hub (and a small transfer point between a few lines) for Essex Junction. The walls of this side of the depot are painted with two different shades of green forming mountains on a blue background, the paint scheme of CCTA.
The station's platform consists of lots of cracked and peeling concrete with a faded yellow line. It is very long, it stretches from Main Street at its southern end, passed the depot and over the grade-crossing of Canal Street and even extends north a bit beyond. The platform is directly across from Ivy Lane and along here are a few free Long-Term Amtrak parking spaces that require a Parking Permit from the Caretaker to use. These spaces face the Village Cemetery across from the station. The station lacks signage with 1950's lettering for Essex Junction along the walls of the depot, a modern information panel which say Essex Junction-Burlington, VT as the station's name, and a sign along the grade crossing with a modern sign for Amtrak: Essex Junction Rail Station.
All Photos were taken on 15 August, 2012 on a visit by car
Last Updated: 18 August, 2012