Jim Douglas

Energy entrepreneur hopes to bring commuter rail to Vermont

An energy entrepreneur wants to set up a commuter rail system to further his vision of weaning Vermont from fossil fuels and getting cars off the highways, and he has taken the first step toward moving it beyond the theoretical by buying a dozen rail cars.

David Blittersdorf spent $5 million of his own money to buy the fully functional, 1950s-era cars, and he has hired one of the state's most experienced rail experts to get those cars carrying passengers once again.

"Part of the vision is you've got to show the pictures, you've got to show the real stuff," Blittersdorf said recently inside one of the new cars. "If we were to buy the new hardware or worked...