|Vermonter||Essex Junction, VT|
St Albans has been the terminus of the Vermonter since the overnight Montrealer was cut back from its final destination and made a day train on April 1, 1995. The station has the dubious distinction as the station with the least ridership that is the terminus of an Amtrak train or route. Just over 3,000 passengers boarded during FY 2011. The majority of ridership boards at the busiest station in Vermont, the next stop Essex Junction (for Burlington). St Albans is the terminus of the train because of the fact it is a railroad town with a yard just beyond the station where the Vermonter train sets can be stored and serviced on their overnight layovers. The stop was the transfer location to a Vermont Transit Thruway Bus to Montreal which operated from the Vermonters inception until 2005. Today there are no connecting services across the boarder but there are local and commuter buses down to Burlington. When the train ran to Montreal it was a crew change or other type of service stop with different Arrival and Departure times listed for both trains and the customs, immigration and boarder patrol stop for the southbound train.
The station itself has a single track along a single platform with significant breakage in the concrete along it. There is an extremely faded yellow line, and a switch (that is hand-thrown so the Vermonter can enter the train yard it is stored in overnight) in the middle of the platform across from an NECR sign for St. Albans, where the locomotive of the train stops before just one door is opened for the few passengers riding the Vermonter on the entire length of its journey. Our tour of the station starts at the grade crossing of Lake Street just south of what is basically the end of the platform (there is a faded yellow line here but it is quite unclear). Here along the platform reaching all the way to Federal Street is a large 3 story red brick second empire building built in 1866 as the headquarters for the original Vermont Central Railroad as well as a freight and passenger station with four tracks. The building is presently the headquarters of the New England Central Railroad and a few other businesses. Continuing up the platform there are a few parking lots, one for the NECR and one for Amtrak with some weeds growing in the concrete. The parking lots are in bad shape pot holes and standing water in both of them. There is a modern Amtrak information panel and this is followed by the actual Amtrak station. It is a two story red brick building (in the same style as the large, historic station) that was originally a switch house. On the building are a few St Albans signs in the old pointless arrow with a red line beneath format (which seems unique to Vermont). There is also a small waiting room with a single door on the platform side of the building. This waiting area was staffed with baggage service until 2002 when the Vermonter's baggage car was removed and all stops in Vermont become unstaffed. The waiting room has two wooden benches that look like those from the NYC subway, a wooden floor and the former ticket window with a metal grate. The most notable feature are the walls that are painted white with two blue lines that form a very long chevron for an extra large Amtrak 'pointless arrow' forming directly at the ticket window. There are plaque from the National Association of Railroad Passengers for the inaugural Montrealer, a safety award from Amtrak in 1987 and a dedication plaque for Joesph MacDonald. Outside of the present station is a small plastic shelter made by rubber made. Inside is a mobile lift for wheelchair boarding. There are no plans to give the station a new and ADA compliant platform with a tactile warning strip.
Photos 1-31 were taken on 15 August, 2012, 32-47 on 16 August, 2012
Last Updated: 18 August, 2012