In 1960, as he watched New England’s passenger rail system gradually disappear, Maine’s E.B. White wrote in his publication The Railroad, that “A state without rail service is a state that is coming apart at the seams, and when a train stops at a village depot anywhere in America and a passenger steps off, I think that village is in an enviable condition”.
As the 2011 holiday season comes to an end, in our little corner of America, the public is exulting in Downeaster travel with impressive numbers to prove it.  For the FY 2011, ridership exceeded 500,000 passengers, an increase of 8.6% over FY2010.  Ticket revenue was over $7M, an increase of 6.5 over FY2010.  E.B. White should be pleased with the growing number of “villages” in an “enviable condition”.  We’d also like to think that he is cheering us onward in our quest to promote rail extensions in addition to improvements to the basic service. 

As many of you know, our work is not done.  Despite the wonderful support of our Maine Congressional delegation, the top notch management that the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) provides and the moral support of the highest AMTRAK officials, 2012 promises to be probably one of the most difficult years TNE has encountered during its 23 year odyssey.  We all know about the widening gap between the pro-rail and anti-rail forces in Congress where passenger rail has become a divisive issue, And even though we have initiated municipal pro-rail/pro-AMTRAK  resolutions from all Downeaster station stops in three states to be sent to the tri-state Congressional delegations – we know that there’s much more work to be done.

Nevertheless, we will continue our efforts on behalf of our members, friends, and the traveling public in Northern New England as we proceed to complete our original Goals & Objectives first set out in 1989.
Our success will be assured if as 2011 comes to a close, you consider making a contribution or a pledge to help us during 2012.

From all of us at TrainRiders/Northeast – thanks for your ongoing support and best wishes for a happy and successful new year.

Wayne E. Davis, Chairman{jcomments on}