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Home > Blog > Exhibit Train Blog, 2011-2012 > Burlington, Vt., August 20 and 21

Burlington, Vt., August 20 and 21

Posted by admin at Aug 31, 2011 11:55 AM |
Many Amtrak routes take riders deep into the beautiful landscapes that define America, and our visit to the Green Mountain State certainly lived up to all expectations.
Connecticut River Sunset
Sculptures along the bike path
The bike path led many people right to our doors

Sunset on
Lake Champlain

Sculptures along the bike path
in Burlington

The bike path led many people
right to our doors

A train trip through Vermont really can’t be beat for its views of gentle hills covered in trees and colorful wildflowers, picture-perfect towns gathered round white-steepled churches, and lush farm and dairy lands whose many products include organic vegetables and rich milk that is transformed into well-known varieties of cheddar cheese. The Vermonter heads up the Connecticut River before cutting a path across the state to reach Lake Champlain, upon whose eastern shore Burlington sits.

The Exhibit Train was parked just a few hundred feet from the water, where at twilight, as the sun sank below the Adirondack Mountains, it washed the sky in vivid and brilliant pinks, oranges, reds, and purples—every shade your mind can conjure, and then some. A popular lakeside bike and walking path lined with playful marble sculptures parallels the tracks through downtown, and it led many cyclists and strolling families right to our front door. While we kept an eye on their bikes, many took a look at the exhibits or headed inside the former Union Station to play with the toy trains in the Chuggington Kids’ Depot.

Children and adults alike enjoyed the model railroad set up by the Northwestern Vermont Model Railroad Society. Trains—including the Vermonter—rushed past grazing cows and shoppers strolling down Main Street with their packages in tow. For kids, the opportunity to see this magical miniature world and then walk through a real, full sized train made for many smiles, and a bit of awe. On board, they had fun with the signal display, which is placed close to the floor so that it’s hands-on. Turning the knobs, children can change the pattern of the signal lights to tell an engineer whether to slow down, stop, or proceed. On the sign up above, the various configurations of lights and their meanings are explained in greater detail.

On Saturday we were also joined by a talented artist from the Birds of Vermont Museum, an organization that nurtures an appreciation of birds and their habitats through displays of exquisitely carved and painted wooden models—the collection is up to almost 500 specimens. Using a bar of soap, the carver whittled a cardinal in honor of our train of the same name that travels through states including Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky where the cardinal is the state bird.

Volunteers from the Champlain Valley Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society, and the Rutland Railroad Historical Society—all of which strive to promote local and regional railroad history through public presentations and educational outreach—were graciously on hand to help staff the display cars and dole out information about their clubs’ activities. Over at the Amtrak table, stacked with national timetables, route schedules, and vacation guides, Al Villa, one of the caretakers of the nearby Essex Junction station, provided superior customer service by calling the reservations center to help a visitor buy a southbound ticket for the next day!

Well, as they say, the railroad never stops. This week we’re headed southwest to Albany-Rensselaer where Radio Disney will be broadcasting live on Saturday. Come by between 10 and 4 to see the Exhibit Train and say hello!

Visitors to the booth at the Burlington stop
Chugging Along at Burlington

Visitors to the booth at the
Burlington stop

Chugging Along at Burlington

--PK