BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- There's a lot of concern in Brunswick over where the Downeaster might be parked overnight.
The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and the Federal Railroad Administration held a public hearing Thursday night. The rail authority wants to build a facility to park the Downeaster in Brunswick overnight. But the people who live in that neighborhood say that would cause serious noise and air pollution. The rail authority recently released an environmental assessment, which says the proposed facility would not exceed federal noise guidelines. Because, right now, there is no place to store trains in Brunswick, the Downeaster has to travel back to Portland to park overnight. The passenger rail authority says, if trains could park in Brunswick, the Downeaster would be able to add another round trip to the schedule. Supporters say that would bring economic benefits to the cities and towns along the rail line. But, those living near the site, even some who don't, say those benefits would come at a price.
"Nearly everyone in this room has experienced the fumes when the trains idle at Brunswick station, the diesel smell in the Hannaford parking lot is oftentimes inescapable," neighborhood resident Chris Casey said. "That fact is undeniable. Imagine if your house was located in the Hannaford parking lot. Then you might know how we feel."
The final decision on the project will come from the Federal Railroad Administration. The rail authority is still excepting written comments. You can submit them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mailing them to Ms. Marina Douglass, NNEPRA, 75 West Commercial Street, Suite 104, Portland, ME, 04101.