High gas prices are a boon to Amtrak

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High gas prices are driving more and more Vermonters to choose trains for their long-distance travel.

Two Amtrak lines that serve the state reported ridership boosts last month, paralleling recent gains by the railroad, which had 14 percent more riders last month than in the same month of 2007. Amtrak officials reported Thursday that 2.75 million people took Amtrak trains in July, the most ever in its 37-year history.

In Vermont, meanwhile, the Amtrak Vermonter and the Ethan Allen Express both got busier last month.

The Vermonter, which travels south from St. Albans and stops in Essex Junction before continuing on to New York and Washington, D.C., carried 7,961 passengers in July, a 23 percent boost over the prior year.

The Ethan Allen Express, which travels from Rutland to New York, had 5,290 riders last month, up 9 percent from July 2007.

Still, Burlington International Airport says it’s not seeing much loss in business, despite the rail resurgence.

Burlington International reported a record month, with 17 percent more travelers than in July 2007.

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