The Amtrak Downeaster will transport passengers on buses between Brunswick and Wells for about six weeks this fall as workers replace railroad ties on about 30 miles of track.
The use of buses is intended to avoid service interruptions and late trains that plagued the Downeaster during a tie replacement project last year, said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.
Also, one of the Downeaster’s five daily round-trips will be suspended during the work and there will be no service on two weekends in October and November because of track construction and bridge work in Massachusetts.
The inconveniences will undoubtedly turn passengers away, Quinn admitted.
“It is definitely going to have an impact on ridership and revenue,” she said. “We’ve planned and budgeted for that.”
However, a relatively brief service disruption is preferable to a months-long nightmare of delays and cancellations the service experienced in the past two years, Quinn said. From July 2014 to June 2015, only 30 percent of Downeaster trains arrived on time, mainly because of a massive construction project to replace 30,000 railroad ties on a 78-mile section of track. The Downeaster tried to schedule trains to avoid construction, but ended up with hourslong delays and canceled trains instead. The problems were exacerbated by a long, cold winter and construction delays. Read the Full Article