Home News and Features Montpelier Amtrak Platform Undergoing $3 Million Upgrade

Montpelier Amtrak Platform Undergoing $3 Million Upgrade

New Montpelier Amtrak platform under construction. Insulation is being installed around the helical piers that will support the elevated and heated train platform. Photo by Phil Dodd.
To bring it into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Amtrak train platform at Montpelier Junction in Berlin is in the midst of a $3 million upgrade that will include raising the platform to eight inches above the top of the rails — making it easier to get on and off the train — and installing an electric snowmelt system. The Montpelier station remains in full operation while the platform work is being conducted.

The project is one of 123 station ADA-related upgrades that Amtrak has paid for since 2011 at a cost of $860 million, according to Amtrak public relations manager Jason Abrams. This fiscal year, Amtrak expects to complete 35 station upgrades with a forecasted investment of $165 million, he said.

The Montpellier project began last summer, was suspended for the winter, and is expected to be completed by October or November, according to Randy Wood of Banton Construction, who is overseeing the project. Banton is based in Connecticut, but Wood said that most of the work is being conducted by local companies, including S.D. Ireland Concrete.

Wood said the new 300-foot by 13-foot platform is being supported by 100 helical piers that are 35-feet long and have been drilled into the ground. The computer-controlled heating system kicks in when the temperature, humidity, and moisture reach certain levels, ensuring there is never ice on the platform and avoiding “slips, trips, and falls,” Wood said. He noted the prior platform was in bad shape after years of plowing and sanding.

The project also will involve adding LED lighting for the platform and parking lot and repaving the parking lot so it is ADA-compliant. New ADA parking areas and pathways to the station/platform will be leveled to slopes less than 2% making it easier for those in wheelchairs, according to Jason Abrams, Senior Public Relations Manager for Amtrack. The station’s small building will only undergo minor renovations, but new signage will be erected.

Passenger traffic at the Montpelier station has been climbing back after taking a big dip during the pandemic, figures supplied by Abrams show. In federal fiscal year 2019, the station saw 7,909 people get on or off in Montpelier. That number dropped to 3,791 in FY 2020 and 1,609 in FY 2021. Montpelier passenger traffic bounced back to 6,292 in FY 2022 and 6,992 in FY 2023, which ended on Sept. 30, 2023.

The sole Amtrak passenger train stopping at Montpelier Junction is the Vermonter, which runs between St. Albans, Vt. and Washington, D.C.