Castleton now offers train travel again. At 8:15 a.m. on July 19, community members gathered at Castleton’s Depot Square to welcome back the Amtrak services.
The train was greeted by American Legion Post 50’s Honor Guard and soloist Rosemarie Doran accompanied by musician Ron Watson. They sang “America the Beautiful” and more American hymns.
“When Amtrak started in this area, I wanted to have a stop. We commissioned a study with the college who took it over and they came out with Fair Haven as the best place,” said state Legislator Robert Helm.
The work began and the dream of a station in Castleton was fulfilled. MaryAnn Jakubowski lives next to the station and has spent years helping the depot in any way that she can.
Not only was this station an addition to the community, but college students are also attracted to the idea. Interim president Jonathan Spiro spoke at the event.
“This beautiful depot is a recruit for students and families because it connects them with the outside world,” he said. “So we are so grateful to MaryAnn Jakubowski for refurbishing this historic and beautiful place.”
Marge Drexler of Castleton was ecstatic to jump on the first train ride to New York City and spoke highly of the scenery on the rail.
“I go down to the city for other things because I have family down there, but this run is so beautiful,” she said.
Drexler spoke about New Netherland, a 17th-century colony of the Dutch Republic that the rails were located on near now Albany, to Delaware and how it changed the line of where the rails were laid out. Individuals who owned property in the New Netherland area were able to decide if the train could put rails on the land that they owned.
“It’s really pretty in Vermont, it gets a little boring around Saratoga just because of where they put the train,” she said. “Back when it was New Netherlands, the families just owned huge, it took them a long time not to own huge tracks of land, and the old laws gave them the right to tell the trains ‘no, you can’t put the train there,’ I don’t know how they got away with it but they did.
Although the rail has flooded in the past, it doesn’t stop Drexler from jumping on the train to see family in New York.
“It’s just so beautiful,” she said.