BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Construction crews are back on the job, preparing for Amtrak passenger train service between Brunswick and Boston.
The final touches are being applied at the new, elevated train platform in Brunswick. The 400-foot platform is needed so passengers can be at the same level as the Amtrak cars.
In Freeport, they same company is building a shorter elevated platform for Amtrak's stops in the retail mecca. Both are being paid for by the Maine DOT, as its part of the project. The cost of rebuilding tracks is being paid for with federal stimulus money. Amtrak service to Brunswick and Freeport is still scheduled to begin in November, with two round trips per day between Brunswick and Boston.
Local business leaders and Downeaster managers say they're confident people will be eager to use the train, and that it will help local retailers and the tourist economy. Initial projections estimate 100 people will ride the new route each day, increasing the overall Downeaster ridership.
Track construction is being done by Pan Am Railroad, which actually owns most of the tracks along the route. That work will go on throughout the summer and early fall. The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority -- which manages the Downeaster service -- is still planning to build a large train servicing facility in Brunswick, so the full trains can be parked there overnight. Patricia Quinn says that facility will allow them to have three round trips per day. NNEPRA is waiting for bids from a variety of design-build firms to find out how expensive the facility will be. . Those prices will determine whether the project is built this year or next.