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Rail News: Passenger Rail

Amtrak tickets to Maine go on sale at last


It’s been more than six years in the making, but train service finally is returning to Maine: Tickets for Amtrak’s Downeaster, traveling from Boston to Portland, Maine, went on sale Nov. 14.

"Downeaster" is a term coined years ago when tall ships leaving Boston Harbor followed winds that blew down and east toward Maine. Today, Downeaster refers to the Maine coastline.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority was created in 1995 by the 117th Maine legislature to bring train service to points within and outside the state. NNEPRA and Amtrak formed a partnership in December 1996 to work on that goal.

Under NNEPRA’s oversight, 78 track miles have been rehabilitated between Plaistow, N.H., and Portland, using $62 million Federal Transit Administration and State of Maine funds.

And, finally, NNEPRA Executive Director Michael Murray announced Oct. 16 that Amtrak would begin regular service Dec. 14.

Amtrak plans to stop at seven stations along the route, providing access to beaches and lighthouses; intermodal transportation available at each stop would provide passengers further access to Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor & Acadia, Kennebunkport, Freeport and the White Mountains.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/16/2001