AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – The Amtrak Vermonter has shuttled passengers through Amherst twice a day for years. In less than three weeks, that service will come to an end, replaced by a new high speed service that runs straight up the valley.
In less than three weeks, that service will come to an end, replaced by a new high speed service that runs straight up the valley.
Jonathon Tucker, the director for Amherst’s Planning Department told 22News residents aren’t happy about the change. “We understand the line is going away, we’d prefer if it did not but it’s going to, and so we’re planning for making new connections in the future,” he said.
There have been talks with the Central Corridor Commission to establish new rail connections to Connecticut and Boston, but nothing’s been finalized. They’re also encouraging added connections between Amherst and Palmer.
Residents in Amherst have gotten used to taking the Amtrak train to Vermont for more than 20 years. Now, they’ll have to go to Northampton to use that service.
Tom Basset of Sunderland told 22News he’s upset to see the service go. “A lot of the university students, Amherst college students, would use the Amtrak service, I would think, to come here. I think it’s a shame that they’re not going to continue with it,” he said.
The PVTA has increased bus connections between Amherst and Northampton to help residents adjust to the change. Commuters will be able to travel south to Springfield, New Haven, New York or as far north as St. Albans, Vermont.
Jesse Vercardi went to college in Amherst and said he loved taking the Amtrak Vermonter. “It was easy because the bus drops you off right at the train station pretty much then you hop right on it and it’s home in three hours or so,” he said.
Amtrak Vermonter in Amherst has continued to grow in popularity for several years.