Posts Tagged ‘Maine Department of Transportation’

New Portland Station Site Sought, Downeastern Service to Expand by Late May

February 26, 2021

Transportation officials in Maine are searching for a site for a new station to serve Amtrak’s Downeaster trains.

The current station is off the main line used by the trains and reaching it adds 15 minutes to each trip.

Nate Moulton, director of freight and passenger rail services for the Maine Department of Transportation, said the agency has “come to a point where the department is willing to pass the baton on to [the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority] to work on whether we can get a facility located on the main line.”

An MDOT study concludes the best location would be on St. John Street between Congress Street and the entrance to the Veterans Memorial Bridge. 

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the authority, said quick action is needed, as other potential sites have already been developed.

In a related development, Quinn said her agency is looking to restore a fifth Downeaster round trip to Boston by late May.

The additional service was called for in a recently survey conducted by MDOT.

Downeastern Extension Wins 1st Approval

March 1, 2018

An extension of Amtrak’s Downeaster service to the “Vacationland” area of Maine was approved on Monday by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.

Subject to the approval of the Maine Department of Transportation, Downeaster trains will be extended 50 miles from Brunswick to Rockland on weekends for a three-week trial period in August.

Intermediate stops will be made in Bath, Wiscasset, and Newcastle.

The Authority had hoped to operate the extension for 10 weeks, but that was reduced due to funding limitations.

MDOT owns the tracks between Brunswick and Rockland and approves the Authority’s budget.

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.