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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

7/7/2010



Rail News: Passenger Rail

USDOT, Maine finalize grant agreement for Downeaster extension


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Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced it finalized a grant agreement with the state of Maine regarding $35 million in stimulus funds awarded to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) in January. The agreement will enable work to begin on the rehabilitation and expansion of state-supported Amtrak Downeaster service, which is managed by NNEPRA and includes five daily roundtrips between Portland, Maine, and Boston.

The Downeaster-Portland North Project calls for extending service from Portland to Brunswick, Maine, with a stop in Freeport. The $35 million federal grant will augment additional state funds to cover the cost of rehabilitating 26.4 miles of lines owned by Pan Am Railways and constructing two passenger platforms. The project also calls for improving 36 grade crossings, upgrading numerous wayside signals and installing signals on the Brunswick Branch.

Construction is expected to begin immediately and conclude in about 28 months. The project — a long-time NNEPRA goal — is designed to increase ridership, improve connectivity and balance passenger flow.


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