Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak’s Downeaster Service’

Downeaster Service to Resume June 15

June 10, 2020

Amtrak will begin restoring Downeaster Service on June 15 with one roundtrip between Boston and Brunswick, Maine.

The weekday service will involve No. 680, which departs Brunswick at 4:15 a.m. and arrives in Boston at 7:50 a.m., and No. 685, which leaves Boston at 5 p.m. and is scheduled to arrive in Brunswick at 8:15 p.m.

Track work by host railroad Pan Am Railways led to a schedule change for No. 680 and passengers on No. 685 should expect delays of up to 15 minutes north of Haverhill, Massachusetts.

The Downeastern website said the train was being reinstated to provide commuting options for essential workers and those who are traveling for essential purposes.

Downeaster Suspension Extended to May 31

May 1, 2020

Suspension of Amtrak’s Downeaster Service has been extended through May 31, the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority said on Thursday.

In a news release, the Authority said this reflected an extension of Maine’s stay-at-home order.

During the service suspension the Authority said it will address several maintenance-of-way projects, including several that were scheduled for later in the year that would have required service interruptions.

The Authority also said stations in Maine and New Hampshire that are currently closed are being equipped with information and resources consistent with social and physical distancing guidelines.

Once service resumes the number of passengers per coach will be limited to support the social and physical distancing guidelines set forth by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

All Downeaster Service Now Suspended

April 15, 2020

Amtrak’s remaining Downeaster Service has been suspended through at least April 30.

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which sponsors the service, said the suspension was due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, Amtrak had suspended all Downeastern service between Boston and Brunswick, Maine, except for one daily roundtrip.

With all service now suspended, stations in Brunswick, Freeport, Portland, Saco, Wells, Dover and Durham stations are closed.

Amtrak has waived ticket reservation change fees for all trip reservations made before May 31.

The April 30 date coincides with the expiration date of an order by Maine Gov. Janet Mills restricting public contact and movement, schools, vehicle travel, and retail business operations.

The Downeaster trains that had been operating included Nos. 680 and 685 on Monday through Friday, and Nos. 692 and 693 on Saturdays and Sundays.

Latest Amtrak Cuts Include Station Closings

March 21, 2020

Although no Amtrak long distance trains have thus far been spared from service suspensions, they are getting shorter consists.

An online report said the Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited is operating with one P42DC locomotive, one sleeper, one food service car and two coaches.

Some Amtrak station waiting rooms are being temporarily closed.

In a service advisory posted on its website, Amtrak said waiting rooms in Kalamazoo and East Lansing, Michigan, are closed and passengers will not have access to the station restrooms.

The notice said station caretakers will be present to answer questions, provide direction and help operate wheelchair lifts.

Amtrak recommended that rather than waiting outside on the platform that passengers use the Amtrak app or other means to check train status while waiting in their personal vehicles for their train to arrive.

Other stations that are closed include those in Pennsylvania in Harrisburg, Lancaster, Altoona and Johnstown.

All Amtrak service has been suspended at those stations.

Other stations that continue to have service but which are closed include Bloomington-Normal, Illlinois; Burlington, Iowa; Dodge City, Kansas, Lincoln, Nebraska; Lawrence, Kansas; Plano, Illinois; St. Petersburg, Florida (Thruway bus service stop)

In the case of the Normal station, passengers will have access to the Uptown Garage and its complimentary one-hour parking.

Garage elevator access will lead only to the street level. Platform access will be from the exterior of the building only.

Customer Service Representatives will be present on the platform 30 minutes before scheduled departure times to continue checked baggage service, unaccompanied minor service and special services.

The service hours at the Gallup, New Mexico, station has been modified. Passengers will have access to the interior of the station for the 30 minutes before the train arrival time.

Additional service suspensions have also been announced.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation said that starting March 23 Piedmont Service trains 73, 74, 77, and 78 are suspended.

Piedmonts 75 and 76 will continue to operate as will the New York-Charlotte Carolinian.

In California, Pacific Surfliner service will be cut in half on March 23 and further reduced on March 24.

On March 23, Trains 561, 565, 579, and 593 will operate as scheduled but Trains 569, 573, 583, 591, 595, and 759 are cancelled.

Trains 763 and 777 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Goleta but there will be no service north of Goleta.

Trains 767 and 785 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Los Angeles with no service north of Los Angeles.

Trains 564, 580, and 584 will operate as scheduled but Trains 562, 566, 572, 578, 590, 782, and 792 are cancelled.

Train 796 will operate according to the schedule between Goleta and San Diego but with no service between San Luis Obispo and Goleta.

Effective March 24, scheduled will be further modified and subject to additional change based on ridership and public health conditions.

Trains 759, 561/1761, 565/1565, 569/1569, 573/1573, 583, 591/1591, and 595 are cancelled. Trains 763 and 777 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Goleta with no service north of Goleta.

Trains 767/1767 and 785 will operate according to the schedule between San Diego and Los Angeles but with no service north of Los Angeles.

Trains 562, 566/1566, 572/1572, 578, 782, 590/1590, and 792 are cancelled.

Train 774 will operate according to the schedule between Los Angeles and San Diego with no service between San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles.

Train 796 will operate according to the schedule between Goleta and San Diego with no service between San Luis Obispo and Goleta.

Service to San Luis Obispo will be preserved through limited bus connections from Santa Barbara. The Coast Starlight will also continue serving San Luis Obispo.

In northern California, the San Joaquins Joint Powers Authority, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority and Amtrak have agreed on the following service reductions.

Amtrak San Joaquin service will be suspending the Emeryville and San Francisco Thruway Bus Route (Route 99) on March 21.

Passengers traveling to San Francisco are encouraged to utilize BART via the Richmond Station.

On March 26, Trains 701, 702, 703, 704, 714, and 717 will be suspended and remaining trains will not have lead service attendants or food service.
Train 719 will no longer stop at Richmond because of the BART reduction in hours.

On the east Coast, Amtrak’s Downeaster service will see further service reductions to two roundtrips a day.

On March 21 and 22, Trains 692, 694, 693 and 695 will operate.

Between March 23-27 trains operating will include Nos. 680, 682, 681 and 684.

North of the border, VIA Rail Canada has said the suspension of the Montreal-Halifax Ocean, Toronto-Vancouver Canadian, and Jasper-Prince Rupert service has been extended to May 1.

Effective March 23 Montreal-Senneterre and Montreal-Jonquiere, Quebec, trains will be cut o one round trip per week, as will Sudbury-White River, Ontario, service.

Such an-board and in-station services such as baggage handling and restaurant access will also be curtailed.

 

Keystone Service, Pennsylvanian to be Suspended

March 17, 2020

Amtrak said today that effective March 18 it will suspend all Keystone Service trains.

The New York-Pittsburgh Pennsylvanian will be suspended effective March 19.

A service advisory said the decision was made in coordination with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

More Amtrak service suspensions are expected as a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will likely include corridor services in California and possibly elsewhere.

Also service cuts that have recently been announced include the Ethan Allen Express between New York and Rutland, Vermont.

Downeaster Service between Boston and Maine has seen the suspension of Trains 688 and 689 effective March 17.

Effective March 21 Downeaster Service will be covered by two train sets.

A news report also indicated that Amtrak will seek $1 billion in assistance to cover revenue lost from the pandemic.

The carrier said bookings are down by 50 percent and reservation cancellations are up by 300 percent.

Cascades, Downeaster Latest Amtrak Service Cuts

March 17, 2020

Amtrak announced a few more service reductions on Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic but thus far none of those involve service in the Midwest or long-distance trains.

It may be a matter of time before corridor services are curtailed. Amtrak is reportedly talking with states that fund corridor service about service reductions.

The latest cutbacks affect the Cascades Service in the Pacific Northwest and the Downeaster Service to Maine.

In a service advisory, Amtrak said the closing of Pacific Central Station in Vancouver, British Columbia, has mean that Cascades service north of Seattle has been suspended.

Daily thruway bus service between Seattle, Everett, Mt. Vernon and Bellingham will still operate.

On the Downeaster route service is being reduced between March 17 and March 22.

Downeaster Set Ridership Records in 2019

February 3, 2020

Amtrak’s Downeaster Service carried a record 574,404 passengers in 2019

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority said 2019 ridership was 7.8 percent higher than the previous record of 546,056 set in 2017.

NNEPRA Marketing Director Natalie Bogart said the trains posted ridership growth in nine of 12 months with August 2019 of 60,944 passengers set a record as the first time that ridership surpassed 60,000 in a month.

In a news release the NNEPRA attributes the ridership increases to increased service to Freeport and Brunswick, improved reliability, and repeat riders.

Amtrak said customer satisfaction scores for the Downeaster were 91 percent.

Track Work to Affect Downeasters at Woburn

December 28, 2019

During the construction, which is being performed by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, some Downeaster trains will not stop at Woburn on Saturdays and Sundays.

Southbound trains 690, 692, 694, 696 and 698 and northbound trains 691, 693, 695, 697 and 699/1689 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 during the service disruptions.

Maine State Employees To Get Downeaster Discounts

December 24, 2019

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is giving a 15 percent discount to Maine state employees who use Amtrak’s Downeaster for travel within or outside the state.

The discount is available on all Downeaster trains. State employees must purchase tickets three days in advance of travel and reference promotion code v503.

A state identification card is required for travel.

The Downeaster operates five round-trips daily between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston.

More information is available at AmtrakDowneaster.com.

“We hope this discount will encourage state employees to choose a cleaner method of travel for both work-related and personal travel,” said Natalie Bogart, marketing director at NNEPRA. “It also makes travel time more productive and less stressful than driving.”

NNERPA Eyes Projects to Improve Downeaster Route

November 27, 2019

Increasing capacity and adding new stations to the route used by Amtrak’s Downeaster trains is being studied by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.

NNERPA is considering adding a siding and second platform in Wells, Maine; building a new station at Portland, Maine; and creating a new stop at Falmouth, Maine, south of Portland.

The proposed siding and platform at Wells would allow for the addition of a new northbound, commuter-oriented train from Wells to Portland and on to Brunswick, Maine.

During a public meeting held in Brunswick, NNERPA officials said the plans are not final nor has a decision been made to pursue them.

They said the ideas are part of an effort to boost ridership between stations even if a majority of passengers are traveling to and from Boston.

“Even though there’s a diverse group of people who ride for different reasons, Boston is really the destination,” said Patricia Quinn, NNEPRA’s executive director. “We’re trying to figure out ways to make the Downeaster more appealing for people to ride it on a regional basis.”