This Train Travels Through 9 States — From Washington, D.C. to a Tiny Town Near the Canadian Border

Because there's nothing more picturesque than a train ride through Vermont.

Looking out the window of a train as the landscape changes from dense inner city to colorful countryside is surprisingly calming — not to mention scenic. And those who want to see it all — from dense forests and rolling hills to towering skyscrapers and stunning city sights — only need to book a ticket on Amtrak’s Vermonter, which runs from downtown Washington, D.C. to St. Albans, Vermont near the U.S.-Canada border.

The Amtrak Vermonter on a winding track surrounded by fall foliage

Courtesy of Amtrak

Along the way, the train cuts through major hubs like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York City before making a beeline for the rural corners of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In total, the Vermonter passes through nine states and the District of Columbia making it one of the most relaxing ways to see the wooded northeast landscape and check out some of the biggest cities in the country.

During the week, the full Vermonter route takes just under 13 hours, so travelers board just after 8 a.m. in Washington, D.C. and arrive in St. Albans before 9 p.m. On the weekend, the arrival time is the same, but the train leaves Washington, D.C. a half an hour earlier — at 7:30 a.m. 

Here’s what you need to know to best experience this special nature- and city-studded route through the northeast.

Highlights on Amtrak’s Vermonter Route

The train departs from Washington, D.C.’s Union Station, which is just north of the U.S. Capitol building. If you have time, you can check out the Washington Monument and walk through the National Mall on your way to the train station. 

Once the train leaves the station, it chugs toward Baltimore, making a couple stops before it traverses along the Man O War Shoal, the last large relic oyster reef in the Upper Chesapeake Bay. After dipping into Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey, the Vermonter hits the Big Apple with a stop at Penn Station.

After the stop in New York City, the Vermonter traverses the northern bank of the Long Island Sound before shooting north through central Connecticut and Massachusetts. 

From there, the train follows the Vermont-New Hampshire border, dipping into both states as it makes its journey north toward Canada. In Vermont, the train stops at some of the state’s most beautiful communities, including Brattleboro, Bellows Falls, Waterbury, and Essex, which sits just east of Burlington. It also stops in Montpelier, the capital city of Vermont and home to the beautiful Camel's Hump State Park (which is also a great place to pick up some maple syrup).

The train finally rests in St. Albans, which sits near the shore of Lake Champlain a mere 25-minute drive to the Canadian border.

Seating on Amtrak’s Vermonter Route

The entire Vermonter route typically takes around 13 hours, though it runs slightly longer on weekends. And since travelers board around 8 a.m. and hop off around 9 p.m. there’s no need for overnight seating or cabins. 

On the Vermonter there are two straightforward seating options: coach and business class. The seats in coach recline and offer plenty of legroom, at-seat trays, reading lights, and electrical outlets. There is no middle seat. The Vermonter’s business class has all the perks of coach plus extra legroom, a wider seat, and complimentary non-alcoholic beverages.

Dining on Amtrak’s Vermonter Route

When it comes to food, all travelers can head to the dining car for a menu that includes breakfast sandwiches and bagels for breakfast and grilled flatbread paninis and hearty salads for lunch and dinner. Cocktails, beer, and wine are also available.

Perks on Amtrak’s Vermonter Route

To keep travelers comfortable, the Vermonter offers perks like Wi-Fi aboard the train. Passengers can also bring their cat or dog along for the journey (must be 20 pounds or less). And since the Vermonter travels to parts of the northeast that simply beg to be explored, travelers can bring their bikes on board.

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