Vermont Transportation Agency officials are warning people walking along the newly renovated rail line between Burlington and Rutland, where Amtrak trains are testing at full speed.
Toni Clithero of the Transportation Agency made the comments Tuesday, a day after two close calls between Amtrak trains and people walking along active tracks in West Rutland and Brandon.
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In the West Rutland case, a couple were walking their dog and narrowly escaped the train. The crew couldn’t stop. It can take trains up to a mile (1.6 km) to stop.
“These people and their dog pulled away at the last second,” said Clithero, who focuses on rail safety for the Transportation Agency. “The crew did not know if he had hit anyone. So it was absolutely terrifying.
In the second case on Monday in Brandon, a teenager who was also walking a dog, was spotted by an employee of the Vermont Rail System, which leases tracks from the state that will be used by Amtrak when it resumes service this summer, Clithero noted.
Last month, a group of youngsters were spotted on the slopes of Shelburne.
Train crews carrying out the trials can reach 59 mph (95 km/h) – the maximum speed that will be used when the train is carrying passengers on the route.
Clithero said Amtrak diesel-electric trains run on continuously welded steel rails and the “breathing sound” is behind the engine, not in front.
“It might look like wind blowing through the leaves of a tree,” she said. “By the time you hear it, it will probably be too late.”
Amtrak said officials, including the Amtrak Police Department, were hosting presentations at schools and other locations to share rail safety messages ahead of the resumption of Amtrak service between Burlington and Rutland, according to a written statement. Tuesday.
The Vermont Transportation Agency has been working for years to upgrade the tracks and other rail infrastructure on the 120 miles of railroad between Burlington and Rutland.
Amtrak is scheduled to begin service this summer between Burlington and New York, via Rutland on the Ethan Allen Express. In addition to Burlington, the train will stop at Vergennes and Middlebury.
The Ethan Allen Express has been running between New York and Rutland for years.
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