Rail News

Downeaster track work means changes, buses


The good news for people who ride the Amtrak Downeaster passenger train is that, beginning on Nov. 21, one more northbound and southbound stop between Brunswick and Boston will begin. But the downside is: Starting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, and ending on Nov. 21 – while railroad ties are replaced – the Northern New England Passenger Trail Authority will use buses to take passengers on stops between Brunswick and Wells.

Ed Bonney, manager of the Freeport Train & Information Center, said that about 15,000 ties on 30 miles of track between Portland and Wells will be replaced this year. Instead of trying to schedule around the construction, rail authority staff opted to use buses to transport passengers,  Bonney said.

“The departure times won’t be different,” Bonney said. “Passengers will be bused from Freeport to Wells, and from there they’ll take the train to Boston.”

In addition, Bonney said, all northbound passengers from Wells during the time period will be taken by bus.

Bonney said that Amtrak will suspend one of the five weekend round-trips on the weekend of Oct. 22-23, and on the weekend of Nov. 5-6,  because of track construction work in Massachusetts.

Once the rails are laid, a new layover facility in Brunswick will enable the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority to add one more Downeaster southbound stop and another northbound stop in Freeport.

Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which manages the Downeaster, did not return calls asking for more information on Monday.