Passenger rail advocates push to extend ‘Downeaster’ to Maine’s capital

Trains Industry Newsletter
Get a weekly roundup of the industry news you need.
By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine. View our privacy policy.
Downeaster Brian Benson
The 'Downeaster' route currently runs between Boston's North Station and Brunswick, Maine.
Brian Benson
AUGUSTA, Maine – A group of passenger rail advocates are hoping find federal funds to study the possibility of extending Amtrak’s Downeaster service to Maine’s capital city, the Kennebec Journal reports. The Augusta city council is expected to support the effort at its Thursday meeting.

The city and others hope that connecting Augusta with the existing Downeaster service in Brunswick could help spur economic development in the area. However, they admit it may still be many years before passenger trains are calling on the capital. The Downeaster was established in 2001 between Boston and Portland and has since been extended to Freeport and Brunswick. Ridership on the extension has been strong and advocates hope the same will happen if it is extended another 34 miles to Augusta.

The state owns the track between Brunswick and Augusta. It was once part of the Maine Central’s “Lower Road,” one of two main line between Waterville and Portland The last time regularly scheduled passenger trains ran on the line was in 1960, although the Maine Coast and Belfast & Moosehead Lake both operated occasional excursion trains there in the 1990s and 2000s.

Advocates say there could be two stations in Augusta: one stop near downtown and another on the east side of the Kennebec River on an old mill site the city wants to redevelop. One concern the city has however is parking. In the 1990s, part of the main line through Augusta was covered up for parking, although the rails are still intact below.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

  • Previous Day
  • December 11, 2014
  • Next Day
Leave a Comment
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of are allowed to leave comments. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
Please keep your feedback on-topic and respectful. Trains staffers reserve the right to edit or delete any comments.
Winter on the Rails

Winter on the Rails

Railroading to the arctic.


Learn more about the stories and photos in this months issue

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy
Subscribe Up To 54% off the newsstand price!
Subscribe To Trains Mag Today