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.
In the video below, Board Chairman John Melrose and NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn discuss the complications, including a letter from the MeDOT Commissioner stating that no additional state or federal money will be provided for the service.
It is clear that the recent spate of Amtrak accidents (the two recent crashes were caused by third parties) caused new Amtrak President Richard Anderson to initiate more stringent safety regulations.
A member of the public asked Ms. Quinn about Amtrak's decision regarding Positive Train Control - if it is not operating on host railroads by the end of the year, Amtrak will not operate over those rails. Ms. Quinn had been in Washington last week and spoke with the new Amtrak CEO about this issue.