Before arriving at the 9th stop at the Essex Junction station, the train passes through the campus of an IBM computer chip factory. IBM is Vermont's largest employer.
When the railroad was built in 1849, the mainline bypassed Burlington and a 7-mile branch was built which connected here in Essex Junction. An earlier four-track station in which the tracks passed through the building had to be torn down in 1958 as freight cars grew too large for these accommodations. The current facility reflects all the architectural charm of the era. A much larger Union Station was built in downtown Burlington in 1915 and remains today, restored and redeveloped by Main Street Landing.
Essex Junction is experiencing a revival of its own these days. The downtown area around the station has been spruced up and a community group meets regularly to plan an annual Train Hop and other downtown activities.
The largest and most prosperous city in Vermont is Burlington, a short taxi ride from the Essex Junction station. Burlington is the home of the University of Vermont (UVM). The population of Burlington has remained under 50,000 throughout its life. Its art, music, education and cultural offerings make it a treasure in the minds of many Vermonters. Saint Michaels College is another treasured institution in this city. It is a vibrant Catholic liberal arts college located on a beautiful 400-acre campus.
Ferry service operates during the summer between downtown Burlington at Union Station and Port Kent NY, across Lake Champlain and connects with Amtrak's Adirondack train from Montreal to Albany and New York.
North of Essex Junction, the train enters an area heavy with dairy farms and sugar maple trees. Fifteen minutes past Essex Junction the train crosses the Lamoille River on Georgia High Bridge and heads for St. Albans.