Brunswick Passes on Taking a Position on Downeaster Plug-in Issue
- Written by TRN Webmaster TRN Webmaster
- Published: 05 May 2015 05 May 2015
The Brunswick Town Council met Monday night to discuss how best to address the idling of Amtrak trains in their community. This was the result of a bill, sponsored by Sen Gerzofsky of Brunswick, that would restrict idling of passenger train engines to 30 minutes. The Legislature's Transportation Committee had tabled that bill requesting that NNEPRA move forward with idling-reduction technology and work with Brunswick on where it would be located.
NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn told the council that an APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) or plug-in unit had been ordered that very day and would likely take eight to ten weeks for delivery. She also noted that the Maine DOT had budgeted $70 thousand for the unit and its installation. She explained that the APU would not halt all idling as the GE engines monitor themselves and restart when the onboard computer deems it necessary. It would, however, help reduce idling time at temperatures above 45 degrees.
Ms. Quinn told the council that the preferred location for the APU would be on NNEPRA's property near Church Road. Two other possible locations, Cedar Street and the Brunswick Station, would interfere with other train traffic and therefore would not be operationally sound.
After considerable debate, the council defeated a resolution that would have encouraged NNEPRA to do what it had already done. Several council members expressed the opinion that NNEPRA and Amtrak were best qualified to make such technical decisions. Ms. Quinn added that they were investigating the acquisition of an air compressor to maintain the train's brake pressure and that she would be willing to come back to the council and provide a progress report.
A second proposal on the town council agenda would have recommended that the APU be installed at the train station. Considering that Ms. Quinn had already addressed the operational problems associated with such a suggestion (blocking other train traffic and inspection difficulties), the item was not proposed and the session ended with one moton defeated and the second agenda item not pursued.