Amtrak Ethan Allen Express
Schenectady, New York - Rutland, Vermont
January 7 & 8, 1999
This travelogue covers my journey on the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express between Schenectady, New York and Rutland, Vermont round trip. Linked from this travelogue you will find both still pictures and short video clips of this journey.
1999 JAN 07 THU 20:10
The eastbound Amtrak Ethan Allen Express arrived right on time at 6:45 P.M. It was pulled by a Genesis locomotive. Immediately following the locomotive was a baggage car, and then a combination Cafe / Custom Class Car.
I boarded the Cafe Car and had to walk through the Cafe to get to Custom Class. There are only 16 seats in Custom Class and I was the only one riding Custom Class between Schenectady and Rutland! The Conductor said that seldom anyone boards in Schenectady to ride Custom Class to Rutland since there are only 2 hours left to the trip. I wanted to experience the Custom Class on this train since this might be the only time that I ever get to ride on the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express.
I put my luggage on the two seats across from me. Since it didn't look like anyone would be boarding Custom Class between here and Rutland, I didn't think it would be a problem leaving my luggage on the seats. I was a bit surprised to find that there weren't any electric outlets at the seats. I didn't check them all, but the few that I did check didn't have any. That isn't a bit problem for this trip. I think I have enough battery power to get me all the way back to Schenectady already, but I'll be recharging the batteries at the hotel in Rutland tonight anyway.
I went to the Cafe and picked up a Diet Pepsi as the free drink that I was entitled to as a Custom Class passenger. I put that in my backpack to have later in the hotel. I purchased a Bloody Mary. The Cafe Car Attendant just gave me a cup of cold ice with a lime, a stirring straw, a small can of Mr & Mrs T Bloody Mary Mix and a one shot bottle of Absolute Vodka. Actually, I discovered this is the best way that I like a Bloody Mary! I shook the can of mix and just poured half the mix and half the vodka into the cup of ice and stirred it with a squeeze of lime. I didn't make the second half of my drink until I finished the first half. I found that I liked the drink a lot more this way than with the extra Tabasco and sometimes other ingredients added by a bar tender. On my way back to my seat, I picked up a newspaper and put that into my backpack for later reading also.
About an hour before our destination, for my dinner I purchased a Raspberry Turkey sandwich which came with a packet of Dijon Sauce. I also purchased another Bloody Mary since the first was so good! The sandwich was very good and was just the right amount of food that I wanted for dinner.
We pulled into Rutland, Vermont right on schedule at 8:45 P.M. There were two taxis waiting right at the platform in front of the door of the train as I stepped off. I hopped in and we were at the hotel in about 5 minutes. The hotel was a Days Inn. It isn't as elegant as the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, but it was certainly comfortable and roomy enough for my needs.
Ch 66 161.100 MP 072.8 91 Engine 703?
Ch 12 160.290 between Ft. Edwards and Rutland, Vermont
Looks like I've accomplished my goal for this rail journey! I've covered the Amtrak miles between Montreal and Schenectady and the Amtrak miles between Schenectady and Rutland. Even if I had to fly home from here, this trip will have been a success. The only miles that Amtrak serves that I have not as yet traveled are a few short hundred mile routes out of Chicago and the Amtrak Kansas City Mules. I should be able to cover those in one more rail journey.
1999 JAN 08 FRI 15:00
I woke up about 9 A.M. After getting dressed I went to work on my computer. My train wasn't scheduled to leave Rutland until 1:25 P.M., but checkout time at the hotel was 11 A.M. I figured that I could work until about 10:30 A.M. and would still have enough time to pack up and check out by 11 AM.
At 11 A.M., I did check out and asked the hotel people to store my bags until I got back from getting something for lunch. There is a restaurant right next door called "South Station" that the hotel promotes heavily with discounts and specials. I thought I would try that, but unfortunately, they don't open up until 11:30 A.M. I walked down the street a bit. There were other eating places, but they all looked closed, except for the McDonald's which was right across from the hotel. I didn't want to wait for the "South Station" restaurant to open, and I wasn't really very hungry anyway, so I ate at the McDonald's.
I arrived back to the hotel a few minutes after 11:30 A.M. and had them call a taxi for me. It took about 15 minutes for the taxi to arrive and another 15 minutes to get to the station. The Rutland Amtrak station has a brand new platform, and unfortunately, a depot that is so new that it isn't open yet! As a matter of fact, there were several roofers around the building putting on the roof. The building is expected to open around the end of January.
It wasn't snowing and the wind wasn't blowing, but it was still freezing cold! I was about an hour and 20 minutes early for my train and would have to stand out in the cold until then. I set my luggage up against a little white shack on the station platform and walked about a block across the parking lot into downtown Rutland. I could still keep an eye on my luggage from there! I wasn't too worried about it as there was nobody around the station platform except the construction workers at the depot. I took a few photos of downtown Rutland that you can see above. The entire downtown and a shopping strip with a Wal-Mart is right there by the station. My the time you come to visit this area, you should be able to place your luggage in a locker or check your luggage and then stroll around the town while waiting for the train.
I returned to the station and took a few more photos of the depot under construction as well as some photos up and down the tracks. Those photos can be seen in the above set as well. A gal then arrived who was the Station Master of the Rutland Depot. For a while we were the only two on the platform and got to talk for a while. The first thing that she mentioned was that the northbound Ethan Allen Express was running about 30 minutes late, but they would still be able to turn the train around and leave on time as long as it arrived before 1 P.M.
The Station Master lived in the area but had just been working for Amtrak since they started this route less than two years ago. She always wanted to work for Amtrak and almost moved to somewhere in New York to get a job with Amtrak. When Amtrak opened a route into her home town of Rutland, she no longer had to consider moving out of the area!
There are two trains each day into Rutland, but only one train out. I asked what they did with the other train. She told me they deadhead it back to Albany each night. That must have been what I was listening to on the scanner last night! I was kind of curious as to why the Amtrak train crew was still communicating with the dispatcher long after I had arrived into my hotel. I guess they were headed back to Albany.
The Ethan Allen Express trains the arrive and leave midday during the week have a moderate amount of traffic, but during holidays, weekends, and the peak ski season, they can be booked solid. The train that arrives in the evening tends to have more passengers than the one that arrives during the day. There were dozens of people boarding this mid-day southbound train to New York. There were two other people traveling together who were also in Custom Class with me. This time the Custom Class Car did have electric outlets! I don't know if I mentioned it in my northbound travelogue, but this Custom Class is just 20 seats that occupy the front half of the Cafe Car. The back half has the Snack Bar and tables. Since regular Coach Class is on the other side of the Cafe Car, the people from regular coach do not walk through the Custom Class area. Thus, it is pretty quiet up here.
Because of the construction going on at the Depot, they were not able to board Custom Class at the usual door. We had to board one car back behind the Cafe Car and walk through both one coach car and the snack bar section of the Cafe Car.
We arrived into Schenectady at 3:45 P.M., about 20 minutes late. I caught a taxi from there to the Days Inn where I hope to be able to get onto the internet for probably the last time before reaching home and upload all the material that has not yet been uploaded.
The following photos were taken on my trip on the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express from Rutland, Vermont to Schenectady, New York. Some of the photos at the beginning of set #1 are of Rutland, Vermont and the depot under construction. Some of the photos at the end of set #2 are of Schenectady, New York and the view of the tracks that are above the station.
The first two video clips below are of the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express arriving into Rutland, Vermont on Friday morning, January 8, 1999. Although the train heads north and then east to get to Rutland, it actually arrives into the station from the north. The third video clip is of the train leaving the station to go to a wye just south of the station to turn around and get ready for its trip back to New York City. The fourth video clip is of the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express returning to the Rutland station after having turned around at the wye.
The next four video clips were taken out the window of the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express traveling south through upstate New York. The fifth video clip shows the snow falling while we were stopped at the Saratoga Station at 3 P.M.
These last two video clips are of the Amtrak Ethan Allen Express departing from the Amtrak Schenectady Station.
Click here for the travelogue of the previous segment of this rail journey.
Click here for the travelogue of the next segment of this rail journey.