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 2013 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 2013, ridership exceeded 556,000 passengers, an increase of 5% over FY 2012. Ticket revenue was well over $7M, an increase of 9% over FY 2012. E.B. White should be pleased with the growing number of “villages” in an “enviable condition” (think Brunswick & Freeport). We’d also like to think that he’s cheering us onward in our quest to promote rail extensions in addition to improvements to the Boston-Portland service.