Improving Quality of Life in Middlebury, Vermont – The Middlebury Tunnel Opening

Jonathan Budzyna /

Accomplishments

Improving Quality of Life in Middlebury, Vermont – The Middlebury Tunnel Opening

Jonathan Budzyna /

Accomplishments

Friday, September 18, 2020, marked a significant milestone on the Vermont Rail System. After four years of planning and site preparation, capped off by an intensive 10-week construction blitz, the new 360’ Middlebury Tunnel opened to rail traffic after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the south portal. The new tunnel not only improves rail service by increasing clearances on the main route from Rutland to Burlington, but it also helps to improve the quality of life for residents by adding green space and connecting Middlebury Village Green and Middlebury Village Historic District.

Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn and Vermont Rail System President Selden Houghton spoke to a group of invited guests and residents who gathered at the south portal for the official opening. Many more residents stood atop the portals to witness the historic occasion. Mr. Houghton recognized the partners involved in the project, including VTrans, the Town of Middlebury, VHB, Kubricky, ECI, and others. He also acknowledged VRS’s interchange partner New England Central, who allowed VRS trains to detour over their tracks during the construction shutdown.

Following the remarks, Secretary Flynn cut the ribbon officially opening the tunnel to rail traffic. Guests, including many of the construction workers who built the tunnel, then boarded the waiting passenger train for the inaugural trip under the town center. Following the passenger train was the first freight train to Burlington. Only a slight rumble could be felt as the train passed under the town square.

The Vermont Rail System is proud to partner with the Vermont Agency of Transportation as we continue our work to modernize the state’s essential rail infrastructure. By investing in projects such as this one we are ensuring that both freight and passenger services can continue to grow and meet the needs of the state’s industries and citizens.

Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn cuts the ribbon to officially open the tunnel.
The first train waits to enter the tunnel under the center of Middlebury, Vermont.

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