Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Downeaster Service’

Downeaster Extension Test Runs Set

December 6, 2017

New England transportation officials hope to announce in January the details of a proposed summer service to Central Maine.

The plans are to extend Downeaster service to Rockland in the “Vacationland” region of Maine.

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority has said that the service would operate on weekends during the summer. NNEPRA manages the Downeaster line.

Officials said that test runs are slated before the end of this year to examine the potential schedule and cost of extending service beyond Brunswick.

NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn said the trains would also stop in Bath, Wiscasset and Newcastle.

“It’s conceptual,” Quinn said. “We’ve penciled it out and we’re in the phase of trying to see if we can actually do what looks like [it] might be possible on paper.

“Obviously it’s a heavily visited area. There’s a lot of tourism up the coast of Maine.

Quinn said it would also be a “very beautiful and scenic ride.”

Passenger service to Rockland ended in 2015 after the Maine Department of Transportation accepted a bid from Central Maine & Quebec Railway to operate freight service on the line between Brunswick and Rockland.

At the time, Maine transportation officials said they would eventually accept applications for passenger service on the route.

“The railroad infrastructure is a valuable resource that’s not being used to its full potential right now,” Quinn said.

Part of the motivation for extending the Downeaster service would be to alleviate traffic congestion on U.S. Route 1

NNEPRA said earlier that the Downeaster carried 511,422 between July 2016 and June 2017.

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Downeasters to Skip Woburn on Dec. 2-3

November 30, 2017

Track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority on Dc. 2 and 3 will result in some Downeaster skipping the stop at Woburn, Massachusetts on those dates.

Southbound Trains 690, 692, 694, 696 and 698 and northbound Trains 691, 693, 695, 697 and 699 will detour between Boston North Station and Haverhill, Massachusetts, and will not stop at Woburn.

Alternate transportation will not be provided to or from Woburn.

Downeaster Expansion Being Studied by Amtrak

November 1, 2017

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is eyeing an expansion of Amtrak’s Downeaster that will include two or three round trips to Rockland, Maine, on Saturdays and Sundays.

The service would be seasonal and seek to divert traffic from congested U.S. Route 1.

Downeaster trains currently operate daily between Boston and Portland, Maine, with some continuing to Brunswick, Maine.

Executive Director Patricia Quinn said Amtrak is reviewing the route to see what repairs and upgrades need to be to stations and track.

The 56-mile route to be used is owned by the state and was once part of the Maine Central. Freight operations are provided by the Central Maine & Quebec handles freight operations.

The line was rebuilt in the early 2000s and used by Maine Eastern tourist trains until 2015.

Downeaster May be Extended to Rockland

October 26, 2017

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is starting a pilot program for Amtrak’s Downeaster service that may see it extended to Rockland, Maine, next summer.

The announcement was made during a meeting of the authority board meeting. Officials said the Downeaster extension would go northeastward from the current northern terminus at Brunswick to Rockland, making stops at Bath, Wiscasset, and Newcastle.

The extension would operate only on weekends during the summer.

It would use former Maine Central tracks now owned by the State of Maine. Central Maine & Quebec handles freight operations.

The 56-mile Rockland branch was rebuilt in the early 2000s and until 2015, the Maine Eastern operated seasonal excursions on the line.

The authority, which helps operate the Downeaster between Boston and Brunswick via Portland, said it will have additional information about the pilot program in the coming weeks.

Track Work Disrupts Downeaster Service

October 24, 2017

Track work being performed by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is affecting Amtrak’s Downeaster service the carrier said in a service advisory.

On Oct. 28, all Downeaster trains will detour between Haverhill, Massachusetts, and Boston North Station. Service will not be provided to or from Woburn, Massachusetts.

On Nov. 4 and 5, Downeaster trains will operate to and from Haverhill. Passengers will ride a bus Haverhill and Boston North Station. Service will not be provided to or from Woburn.

The buses will operate non-stop between Haverhill and North Station.

SB Downeasters to Skip Woburn

September 27, 2017

On and Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 1, weekend track track work being performed by Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will have the Downeaster trains detouring between Boston North Station and Haverhill.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said that service changes will occur on the weekend dates shown below

Service will be provided to or from Woburn but southbound trains will operate over a detour route and miss the station stop at Woburn.

Service will not be provided to or from Woburn.

Amtrak Dome Car running on Downeaster Route

August 24, 2017

Amtrak has assigned its dome car Ocean View to the Downeaster route through late September.

The car, a former Great Northern Railway full-length dome car, ran on the route in August and September 2016.

The car will make four daily trips on the route between Boston and Brunswick, Maine.

Seats in the dome section are available to all passengers at no extra charge on a first-come, first-served basis.

Among the view passengers will see are the coastline, marshes and streams. The dome car will operate on the Downeaster route through Sept. 24.

Downeaster Service Beat FY2017 Ridership Goal

July 17, 2017

Amtrak’s Downeaster service carried more than 511,000 passengers during fiscal year 2017, which ended June 30. That was an increase over 2016 ridership and 2017 ridership goals by 9 percent.

The route between Boston North Station and Brunswick, Maine, saw its heaviest ridership during July and September 2016 and during January, February, April, and June 2017.

The record for patronage was posted in 2014 when the Downeasters hosted 518,000 passenger trips.

The service began in December 2001 between Portland, Maine, and Boston and was extended to Brunswick in November 2012.

Downeastern to Skip Woburn, Passengers to be Bused

June 20, 2017

Amtrak’s Downeaster Service will not serve Woburn, Massaschusetts on Saturday and Sundays on June 24 and 25, and July 22 and 23.

The service disruption is due to weekend track work being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said Southbound trains will operate normally between Brunswick and Haverhill.

At Haverhill, customers will transfer to a bus that will operate nonstop to Boston North Station.

Northbound trains will be replaced with buses operating nonstop from Boston North Station to Haverhill.

At Haverhill, customers will transfer to Downeaster trains, serving all remaining stations on the route.

Amtrak said this information is subject to change without notice.

Downeaster Fares May be Rising

June 7, 2017

Amtrak may raise fare on its Downeastern route. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which pays for the service, is seeking public comment on the proposed fare hike.

The increase would be $1 one way or all trains and would create a new fare structure for one-way fares on the connecting bus that operates between Boston and Exeter, New Hampshire.

The NNEPR is recommending a $20 increase in monthly pass fares to and from Boston.

The fare increase is expected to increase Downeaster revenue by $287,000 annually.

In part, the fare increase is a response to falling ridership and revenue, which peaked in 2014 at 520,000 passengers and $8.6 million in revenue.

Coments are being accepted through June 25 at info@nnepra.com or at the website www.amtrakdowneaster.com.