Danby, Mount Tabor back western rail project
By SANDI SWITZER
Correspondent | March 16,2013
DANBY — The town’s Select Board along with their counterparts in neighboring Mount Tabor support passenger rail service along the state’s western corridor.
The board recently endorsed the idea after hearing a presentation by Herb Ogden representing the Southwestern Vermont Rail Corridor Committee.
“I think it’d be a great idea,” Selectman Michael Blair said.
A proposal being studied would extend passenger rail service from New York to North Bennington through Manchester and north to Rutland, with stops in those three Vermont communities, according to Ogden.
“There are no stops in Danby or Wallingford planned,” he said. “They need a fairly fast schedule to make it work.”
Ogden said the Marble Valley Regional Transit District, better known as The Bus, operates between the communities and can transport residents to the Rutland and Manchester depots.
“I don’t see any downside to Danby,” he said, adding that there would be no railroad crossings in town.
Select Board Chairman Chip Wright questioned whether the quality of the tracks in southwestern Vermont can support passenger rail service.
Ogden said the tracks need improvements but added there was “good track alignment.”
Members of the Corridor Committee have been meeting with municipal officials in several communities regarding the project.
“We’re trying to get towns along the proposed route to endorse the idea,” Ogden said.
Municipal support would improve chances for federal funding, he said.
Danby’s municipal neighbor, Mount Tabor, has already endorsed the project, Ogden said.
The Manchester Select Board recently voted to support passenger rail service. Bennington, North Bennington and Shaftsbury have also endorsed it.