MANCHESTER - The Select Board voted unanimously to support reestablishing passenger rail service to the Manchester area during its first meeting following town meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

In a one-time departure from the normal routine, the meeting was held at the new Park House at Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park.

Along with the board reorganizing itself following town meeting, the topic of passenger rail service coming to Manchester made a return stop.

"The presentation that was different from ones we have had previously throughout the years," said the board's chairman, Ivan Beattie, after the meeting. "What's great is the train would stop and then travel through Manchester, instead of just stopping and turning around like other studies have shown in the past,"

Beattie said that the board showed overwhelming support for train service and that it could not only bring more people to the area from as far away as New York City, but it would also bolster the downtown area and make it more pedestrian friendly.

"One thing that this area has been missing compared to other towns in the State is some form of public transportation," he said. "We don't have buses here anymore. We don't have an interstate that runs through and train service is something that people tend to enjoy traveling on.


Advertisement

"

Beattie said that the presentation explained how the train station would be located right next to R.K. Miles making it assessable to the downtown area.

The presentation was given by Wendy Woods of the Southwest Vermont Passenger Rail Committee. She was unable to be contacted by press time for further comment.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation and the New York State Department of Transportation, in cooperation with the Federal Railroad Administration, have been conducting a New York - Vermont Bi-state intercity passenger rail study to identify opportunities to provide access to passenger rail service to parts of southwestern Vermont, including Manchester.

The project study area covers Rutland and Bennington Counties in southwestern Vermont and adjacent areas in eastern central New York, including Schenectady, Saratoga, Washington, Rensselaer, and Albany Counties. In order to minimize environmental impacts, the study will focus on opportunities for providing intercity passenger rail service along existing established rail corridors.

According to the website, the purpose of this project is to identify and establish an efficient, intercity passenger rail-based transportation link that will benefit unserved and under-served communities in southwestern Vermont and eastern central New York. The project would also provide a key link along Vermont's "Western Corridor", with improved connections to passenger rail services in New York and beyond via Albany and Schenectady, N.Y. For more information on the study visit www.ny-vt-passengerrail.org.

With the first Select Board meeting since the elections took place being held at the new Park House, Beattie said that he thinks Town Manager John O'Keefe wanted a chance to showcase the new building, which he said was very impressive.

Beattie said that the building is still under construction and that it is not currently open to the public.

During the meeting Beattie was reelected as chairman, Wayne Bell was reelected as vice-chairman and Lisa Souls was elected as clerk.