On this page you will find a collection of data related to Amtrak’s service in the Pioneer Valley region of western Massachusetts.
Southbound Vermonter delays
The chart above shows two sets of data. The red section charts the average departure delay (in minutes) from Northampton MA for the southbound Vermonter over a 12 month period.
The green section charts the number of times (in days) that the train has departed on time (at 2.01 pm) from Northampton each month.
The data shown here clearly indicates that there is a problem.
The southbound Vermonter is departing late from Northampton basically every day — with an average delay over the past year that ranges from 10-27 minutes.
Some people have said that this isn’t really a problem, since the train “makes up time” enroute and arrives in New York City on time most days. While this is true, this is not a valid reason for wasting people’s time every day by scheduling a train that never departs on time.
It’s also important to keep in mind that people waiting for the train in Northampton must wait on an open platform with limited seating and minimal protection from the weather.
Our analysis of this problem indicates that over 90% of the delays are caused by slow orders on the New England Central Railroad (NECR) owned tracks in Vermont, and/or long dwell times at certain station stops in Vermont. (in particular Essex Jct, and Brattleboro.)
The data for Essex Jct VT (the first stop) shows that in August 2022 the train never departed on time and was on average 8 minute late.
The data for Brattleboro VT (the last stop in Vermont) shows that in August 2022 the train never departed on time and was on average 25 minutes late.
People who have followed this site over the past few years know that this is not a new problem. The southbound train has been operating late through western Mass for years.
We think it’s time to stop accepting that this train has to depart from Greenfield, Northampton and Holyoke late every single day.
Since the NECR is unable or unwilling to bring their tracks up to Amtrak’s standards we will ramp up our advocacy efforts in an effort to get Amtrak to change the schedule so that the train is able to depart from Northampton on time most days.
Adding just 15 minutes of time to the southbound schedule between St Albans VT and Brattleboro VT would solve this problem for the most part.
We would be remiss if we did not point out that the southbound Valley Flyer departs on time most days with minimal delays, as shown in the chart below.
For those wondering, the northbound train is on time most of the time. Over the past year it usually arrived a few minutes before its scheduled departure at 3.57 pm from Northampton. Delays happen from time to time but nothing like what we’re seeing with the southbound train.
Why is the the Southbound Vermonter late?
Trains In The Valley | August 21, 2016
Ridership by station | FY2016–2021
PDF download | Vermonter ridership – 23 Feb 2023
Amtrak fact sheet | Vermonter1
Amtrak Fiscal Years 2013 – 2019
1 Amtrak’s fiscal year runs from October 1st through September 30th
Ridership totals include passengers who started and/or ended their trip at a station north of Springfield.
Vermonter Rider Profile | FY2018
The presentation linked above was made by Amtrak at a meeting of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Rail Council in February of 2019.
Note that the Vermonter data only represents riders who traveled to/from points north of Springfield., Ma.
Page last updated: September 1, 2022
Page last reviewed: February 21, 2021