Quick Note: Train Host Program

signalTrainRiders/NE Train Hosts serve as goodwill ambassadors onboard the Downeaster to assist passengers with information; assist train crews in duties as requested by them; and promote rail safety.

As a volunteer, you'll travel between Maine and Boston conversing with passengers along the way.

Click on "Host Program" in the above menu for more information.

Following last week's refusal of the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition leaders to engage in constructive discussion on agenda items and their disrespectful antics as detailed in our previous article, Executive Director Patricia Quinn concluded that the relationship with Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition had become unproductive and was a waste of NNEPRA staff time. She then asked the board to provide guidance as to how best to continue its work with the Brunswick community.

Board members noted that it was important to continue a dialogue with Brunswick citizens, but as NNEPRA moves on to the construction phase, the base of the advisory group needs to be to be broadened and to that end, the following motion was proposed by chairman Martin Eisenstein and unanimously approved.

NNEPRA board of directors redefines the mission of the Brunswick Layover Building Advisory Group and renames the group as follows:

The Brunswick Layover Building Advisory Group is renamed the Brunswick Layover Advisory Group and its mission is as follows:

The purpose is to facilitate information exchanges between NNEPRA and the Brunswick community.

The constitution of the group with be decided by the chair of the board after input from other board members and the Brunswick community at large.

Board members went on to explain that they are moving from a planning stage to a construction phase, therefore, the issues are different than before and that different levels of public participation are needed. 

Robert Morrison of the Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition said his group would have to decide whether or not they would continue in the new group. Chairman Eisenstein responded that the committee was not set up to determine the location of the facility. "Members of your group will be invited to participate in the broadened advisory group, with the understanding that we are not debating the location of the site," he concluded.

Execcutive Director Patricia Quinn announced that NNEPRA would shortly reapply for the storm run off permit that was invalidated by a Superior Court judge.

Idling at Brunswick Station

Last month, the Town Manager of Brunswick spoke on behalf of a unanimous Brunswick Town Council decision that NNEPRA address the diesel soot and fumes emanating from idling Amtrak engines at the Brunswick Station. As a result, the NNEPRA staff examined several options and presented them to the board. The need to keep 480 volt power to the trainset was emphasize and after exploring the pros and cons of the various potential solutions, there was a consensus that a 480v power station plus an air compressor for brake pressure would help answer the Town Council's concerns. Between now and the next board meeting, staff will refine the proposal and the board will likely approve the solution.

FT 2014 Results Reported

FY2014Ms.Quinn reported continued growth in ridership and revenue for FY 2014 which ended on June 30th - that included the difficult months of April, May and June when the poor conditions of the PanAm track, due to wear and tear and the severe winter, were discovered which precipitated significant annulments and slow orders. July, the first month of FY 2015, has turned out to be the worst month as some 43 trains were cancelled. However, the morning/evening commuting trains have been doing well and the weekend trains are regularly sold out. Rehabilitation of the road bed, ties and track is, according to Brian Beeler (NNEPRA's Passenger Service Manager) nearly complete. On Time Performance was a miserable 18.80% in June.

Positive comments were heard from members of the public regarding the Brunswick/Freeport service which is averaging 150 passengers per day which is 50% higher than originally projected. There was also a comment from Mr. Morrison of BWNC that the trains were not full when departing Brunswick. It was explained by Ms. Quinn others at the meeting that a train could be 'sold out' as it leaves Brunswick even though there are 'empty seats' - those seats having been reserved by riders further along the line as the train heads to Boston.