Our New Vision
TrainRiders Northeast brought the Downeaster to Portland, ME in 2001 and Brunswick ME in 2012. Our New Vision: An across the platform, Amtrak connection at Boston’s North Station, serving Worcester, Springfield, Hartford, New Haven & New York’s Penn Station. Our continued success depends on your donation. Use our PayPal button to help us reach this goal. Many thanks for your continued support. Wayne Davis, Chairman
Amtrak Downeaster Adds More Train Service Beginning July 20!
- Created: 14 July 2020 14 July 2020
PORTLAND, MAINE – The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) announced today that the Amtrak Downeaster will begin operating four round-trip trains between Brunswick, ME and Boston, MA every day beginning on Monday, July 20, 2020 as it enters Phase 2 of service restoration.
Other Phase 2 service elements include the availability of onboard food service and the re-opening of some Downeaster station facilities. Visit AmtrakDowneaster.com for a complete schedule and service information.
Several protocols and procedures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of passengers and crews, including:
- Trains will be sanitized and disinfected daily with enhanced cleaning between trips.
- Face coverings are required for crews and passengers on board trains and in stations.
- The number of riders is limited to no more than 50% of available seating capacity to support physical distancing guidelines.
- Amtrak eTicketing allows for touchless tickets collection; cash sales are not accepted.
- Enhanced cleaning, training and social distancing protocols have been implemented at the Downeaster Café, including installation of plexiglass partitions at the service counter and a pilot program for at-seat service. The Café table seating area will remain closed.
- Enhanced cleaning, training and social distancing protocols have been implemented at Downeaster station facilities.
Complete information about the steps Amtrak is taking to protect the health and safety of their passengers and crews is available at Amtrak.com.
Downeaster service was suspended on April 13, 2020. Phase 1 of Downeaster service restoration began on June 15 with the operation of one round-trip train Downeaster weekdays only, with no Café service and no station facilities. PreCOVID-19, the Downeaster made five daily round-trips between Brunswick and Boston.
NNEPRA Expects Phase II of Resumption of Service Before the End Of July
- Created: 01 July 2020 01 July 2020
At today's Operations Meeting, Executive Director Patricia Quinn said she expects three more roundtrips will be added to the Downeaster's schedule between Brunswick and Boston in the latter part of this month. The NNEPRA Board, which does not normally meet in July, will gather on July 15th to decide how best to proceed.
The determining factor will be the progress of the tie job between Exeter and the NH/MA line as Ms. Quinn wants to make sure that the additional service will perform well.
In addition to #680/681, trains #682/683, #684/685 and #688/687 are expected to be added. Once #688 arrives at North Station, it will not linger but head back to Maine as there is no late-night entertainment scheduled at the Garden. There is no date certain for this resumption of service. All trains will undergo extensive cleaning in the Brunswick Layover Facility.
All safety/protective measures will remain in place, social distancing upon boarding with mask and social distancing within the coaches (traveling at half capacity).
The stations along the line will determine in their own towns/cities as to how and when to open.
Railroad Sources Say PanAm RailWays is For Sale
- Created: 01 July 2020 01 July 2020
PanAm, on whose tracks the Downeaster runs from Brunswick to the NH/MA line, is up for sale according to several authoritative rail sources. Pan Am has extensive rail holdings in four of the six New England states.
This from the Trains Magazine:
BILLERICA, Mass. — New England regional Pan Am Railways is for sale.
The privately held company, owned by 78-year-old Tim Mellon and other investors, has enlisted BMO Financial Group to assist with a potential sale transaction, according to multiple railroad industry sources.
Pan Am officials did not respond to a request for comment.
Industry observers say there will be considerable competition to buy Pan Am, which operates on 1,700 route miles and is the largest regional railroad in North America.
“I would expect that everyone is going to be interested in it,” says independent railroad analyst Anthony B. Hatch.
Happy Birthday, NNEPRA - Born in 1995!
- Created: 27 June 2020 27 June 2020
On June 27th, 1995, the Maine Senate cleared away the last legislative hurdle standing in the way of resumption of passenger rail service to Maine. LD 1255, An Act to create the Northern New England Rail Authority, passed by the necessary two-thirds majority, the Maine House having approved it the week before. Governor Angus King signed the bill on June 29th.
From Wayne Davis: "It occurs to me that this act and the last one are important dates not just for Maine - but also for New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Of course, the text goes on to say that without TNE's dogged determination there is little doubt that the bill would have failed - and goes on to thank oodles of folks - Senators Cohen and Snowe, Representative John Baldacci and more."
TrainRiders/NE participated in the writing of the legislation that created NNEPRA - our baby in 1995!
Read all about it in our 1995 newsletter! Click on the old banner below.
Amtrak to Cut Many Long Distance Trains
- Created: 19 June 2020 19 June 2020
Amtrak Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Revenue Officer Roger Harris, in a June 15 letter to employees, announced that Amtrak nationally will cut many long-distance trains as a result of a significant loss in ridership due to the coronavirus. He notes that some services have seen a 95% drop in passengers.
But Railway Age asks if some of the services will be permanently eliminated and the national system destroyed. Amtrak to Cut Many Long Distance Trains