News Brief

TrainRiders/Northeast's 30th Annual Meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn by-the-Bay in Portland on December 14th at 12:30. The timing is convenient for north and southbound trains with free transportation between the Portland Tranportation Center and the Holiday Inn. You'll soon be able to use this website to make your reservations and luncheon selections - stay turned!

Summaries of NNEPRA's monthly board meetings

NNEPRA's 2018 Fiscal Year Ends with Strong Numbers

The NNEPRA Board heard an impressive report on FY2018, which came to an end on June 30th.

BoardMtg73018

FY2018Executive Director Patricia Quinn pointed out that FY2018 was the second strongest period in the Downeaster's history, missing setting a new record by just 5,000 riders. Ridership grew 7.75% over FY2017. There was also good news on ticket revenue. It came in at $10,245,061 - exceeding $10 million for the first time and the previous fiscal year by $1,624,943 or nearly 19%! 

Ontime performance continued to be a problem. So far this calendar year it has averaged 70%. NNEPRA, Amtrak and PanAM will be meeting soon to how best to address the problem.

The Downeaster's overall customer satisfaction continued to outpace Amtrak nationally, 90-83.

NNEPRA June Board Meeting - Ridership/Revenue Growth and Kennebunk Stop Presentation

6 25 18PerformRidership/Revenue: NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn reported on 11 months of FY2018. Ridership is already ahead of FY2017 by 37,013. It's now half a million! Revenue is $1,464,665 ahead of the same 11-month period in FY2017! No matter how you figure it, the Downeaster continues its solid growth. May on-time performance came in at a disappointing 68% while May Overall All Customer Satisfaction hit 90 (Amtrak's overall percentage was 78). 

Fall Construction: This fall will see construction projects that will reduce expected ridership/revenue as some 15,000 ties will be replaced between Wells and Dover, necessitating busing between the two stations. In addition, there will be an extensive outage in Saco as bridge timbers across the Saco River are replaced along with the Main Street crossing.

Kennebunk Downeaster Stop: This month the Kennebunk Board of Selectmen voted, by a 6-0 tally, to officially request of NNEPRA a seasonal stop. This action has been four plus years in the making but was welcomed by the board as "serving more Mainers with passenger rail."

TrainRiders/NE talked with Ms. Quinn about the expected 2019 service (contracts still need to be written and signed). Three town officials, including the Interim Economic Development Director Jim Black, presented their modified proposal to the board. 

Six of the ten trains will likely be stopping in Kennebunk though Ms. Quinn noted that the specific trains have yet to be identified.. #680 will not be one of them because it is already sold out on a regular basis.

No Amtrak Service to Rockland This Year

Rockland Extension: At today's NNEPRA Board Meeting in Portland, Executive Director Patricia Quinn informed those present that Amtrak is unable to perform the required risk-assessment of the Rockland branch this year due to the need to assess all their existing routes because of PTC and 'dark territory' issues. Brunswick to Rockland would be a new route. 

 Ms. Quinn pledged to work closely with Amtrak so that a "more robust" proposal for Midcoast service can be accomplished next year.

Read more: No Amtrak Service to Rockland This Year

Planned Rockland Extension's Schedule Reduced Due to New Amtrak Safety Requirements - THIS IS NOW OUTDATED

Today's NNEPRA Board Meeting was expected to give the 'Go-ahead'  for the summer Coastal Connection Service between Brunswick and Rockland. That did not happen. What was approved was a decision to move forward with an August weekend service, but with four important conditions:

1. An Amtrak-CMQ agreement being reached.

2. A positive MeDOT infrastructure report on the branch line

3. A trip no longer than two and a quarter hours.

4. The service must meet all Amtrak and FRA requirements

Several members of the public expressed their disappointment, particularly those along the midcoast. 

Read more: Planned Rockland Extension's Schedule Reduced Due to New Amtrak Safety Requirements - THIS IS NOW...

January, 2018 NNEPRA Board Meeting

NNEPRA 1 18The NNEPRA Board met at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. The well-attended meeting heard reports on the Downeaster's performance numbers and further details on the proposed Coastal Connection.

Representatives from the MidCoast were present to add their support for the proposed summer weekend service expansion.

Ridership & Revenue Report:

1 18 PerformThe first six months of NNEPRA's fiscal year delivered record-breaking numbers or as Executive Director Patricia Quinn put it, "It was a good story - the best ever!"

Ridership in FY2018 saw a 13% increase over FY2017. On the revenue side, income grew in FY2018 by 26%!  Ms. Quinn noted that the last three months of FY2017 were plagued by extensive tie-replacement work.

Read more: January, 2018 NNEPRA Board Meeting