28th Annual TrainRiders/NE Meeting Reservation Form



There are two ways to reserve your dinner seat and select your mean. You can download the registration flyer (printed before our change in the keynote address), print it out, fill it in and mail it to Trainriders/NE at PO Box 4869, Portland, ME 04112. This flyer also contains full details of the meeting. Click here to download.

Or you can register for the meeting online by selecting your meal below and the clicking on the Pay Pal button. We will receive your name, email and meal selection automatically through Pay Pal. Please enter your email address as we communicate frequently via email.

Either way, reserving now will guarantee you a seat. If you're registering for more than one seat online, please reuse the electronic form, changing the name each time so that we will have the person's ID badge ready when they arrive.

Here's the PayPal option:

Dinner Selection

26th Annual Meeting - Oct 16 - Portland

Ross-Capon2We have a great lineup of guests!

Our keynote speaker is Ross Capon, Transportation Consultant and President Emeritus of the National Association of Railroad Passengers. Ross has testified countless times before Congress on behalf of railroad passengers. He is a member of the Federal Railroad Administration's Railroad Safety Advisory Committee along other federal and rail transportation boards. Ross is a long-time friend of TrainRiders/Northeast can be seen on the Downeaster as he vacations in Maine.

PatriciaQPatricia Quinn, Executive Director of NNEPRA, will bring us up-to-date on the Downeaster's performance and outline the opportunities and challenges ahead. Since assuming NNEPRA's reins in September 2005, Patricia has seen yearly ridership increases since taking the administrative throttle. FY 2014 marked a milestone for the Downeaster, as the 5 million passenger mark was met and exceeded ...thanks, in part, to the successful expansion to Freeport and Brunswick. The year itself was successful with record-breaking ridership exceeding 536,000, which is a 4.6% increase over the previous fiscal year. Increases in ticket revenue were even more significant, exceeding $8.6 million, surpassing the previous year by 6.2%. Customer satisfaction for FY2014 was 93 as compared to Amtrak's overall CS of 86."

David Bernhardt, Maine Commissioner of Transportation will join us along with David Fink, President of PanAm Rail and Joseph McHugh, Amtrak Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.

Time to register and reserve your meal now!


There are two ways to reserve your dinner seat and select your meal. You can download the registration flyer, print it out, fill it in and mail it to TrainRiders at PO Box 4869, Portland, ME 04112. This flyer also contains full details of the meeting. Click here to download.

Or you can register now online by selecting your meal below and then click on the Pay Pal button. Please enter your email address as well since we communicate frequently via email. We will receive your name and meal selection automatically through Pay Pal. 

Either way - reserving now will guarantee you a seat. If you're registering for more than one seat, please reuse the form, changing the name each time so that we will have that person's ID tag ready when they arrive.

Here's the PayPal option: 

Dinner Selection

Welcome aboad!

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Urgent Public Meeting Tonight at Brunswick Town Council Chambers

To all friends of Amtrak's Downeaster service.


The nimby's will be out in force so your presence and this opportunity to speak briefly should not be missed.  Simply say that you support the site chosen by NNEPRA and currently approved by the FRA.  NNEPRA completed the Environmental Assessment (EA) in full accordance with federal and state laws and the EA should be upheld. 
All persons using the Downeaster service in all three states, Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts are allowed to speak and comment because what happens here in Maine could "stop the Downeaster in its tracks" as stated recently by NNEPRA's Executive Director.

While personal presence is most desirable, written comment will be accepted if sent by US Mail to NNEPRA, 75 West Commercial St., Suite 104, Portland, ME 04101 or electronically to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Come on everyone, it took 12 years to get the Downeaster -  don't let this opportunity to save "America's Favorite Train" slip away.
Wayne Davis, Chairman
PO Box 4869
Portland, ME 04112
Office: 207 879-7245
Cell: 207 272-2877

25th Anniversary Annual Meeting 2013 - An Inspiration to Behold!

trn-pin-final2TrainRiders/NE's Annual Meeting is always special - for our members and invited guests. However, this year's event celebrated not just the 25 years of our organization's effort to 'change the way New England travels," but the continued growth of the Downeaster and the relationships developed over the years with our public and private partners. Add to that mix the inspired message delivered by keynote speaker John Robert Smith and a new level of excited commitment to economic development through a growing and dependable national rail system was achieved.

FRA Approves Period of Public Comment for the Brunswick Layover Facility

{jcomments on}downeasterlogoThe proposed Brunswick Layover Facilty is one step closer as the FRA has reviewed NNEPRA's  Environmental Assessment report and given the 'ok' for a period of public comment and an open hearing.

A period of public comment, underway now and concluding on October 13th, will include an open hearing at the Brunswick Council Chambers from 5:30p - 7:30p on September 26, 2013.

This is a significant milestone. TrainRiders encourages its members and friends to attend this important hearing on the 26th so that supporters of the facility can have their voices heard. Those unable to attend can provide written comments to NNEPRA.

The full announcement and the entire Environmental Assessment report is available on NNEPRA's website.

NNEPRA Board Meeting - September, 2012

Downeaster Performance Continues to Amaze!

aug2012 performThe new fiscal year (2013) which began on July 1st, is already posting impressive ridership and revenue growth. Patricia Quinn, Executive Director of NNEPRA, spoke of "amazingly significant growth" in her report to the board.

Overall on time performance in August, 2012 stood at 80% with trains 680, 681, 682 & 689 turning in 90-99% OTP.

Overall customer satisfaction in July was 93% for the Downeaster as compared to 85% for Amtrak.

Update from N. Berwick Police

nberwickUPDATE: The North Berwick Police Department releases details of their final report.

More at Foster.com


EARLIER:"The North Berwick Police Department has released more information on the cause of the July 11th grade crossing collision between a truck and Downeaster train #681. The firey crash claimed the life of the truck driver, destroyed the engine, disabled the train and caused minor injuries to crew members who successfully evacuated the passengers from the coaches.

The primary reason for the accident was failure to observe grade crossing signals and gates. But authorities wanted to know why the truck driver failed to heed these warnings. The conclusion: excessive speed - 20 mph over the posted limit - and possible cell phone distraction.

Amtrak informed the NBPD that the train was traveling "at approximately 75 mph" at the time of the accident instead of 70 mph as previously reported. The speed limit changes at the crossing from 75 to 70 mph.

More details at Foster.com.{jcomments on}

Downeaster Ridership Continues Its Upward Climb!

NNEPRA Board Meeting - Downeaster Performance Report

  • Actual August, 2011 - 50,825
  • Actual August, 2010 - 48,841
  • FY2012 Year to date - 101,904
  • FY2011 Year to date -   96,014

August 2011 City Pair Ridership

  • Portland-Boston 16,459 or 32% of total
  • Exeter- Boston 7,016 or 14% of total
  • Durham-Boston 2,457 or 5% of total
  • Wells-Boston 5,583 or 11% of total
  • Saco-Boston 3,576 or 7% of total
  • Dover-Boston 3,859 or 8% of total
  • Haverhill-Boston 1,975 or 4% of total
  • Boston-OOBeach 2,607 or 5% of total

ME Business/Community Leaders High on Idea of Possible Portland to Montreal Passenger Rail Service

When business community leaders and rail advocates met earlier this week to discuss future passenger rail expansion, the topic of Portland-Lewiston/Auburn-Bethel-Montreal service brought out an enthusiastic group of interested parties.

The full story is available at Free Press Online.

Senate Appropriations Amendment Firms-up High Speed Rail Funding

UPDATE: As many of you may already know, the Senate transportation appropriations bill was marked up in Subcommittee yesterday.  Unfortunately, the bill eliminated funding for High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail.  In response, Senators Durbin, Lautenberg, Feinstein & Landrieu offered an amendment in full committee to provide $100 million for HSIPR. The amendment was approved by a voice vote. 


The Committee then voted 28 to 2 to report the amended bill favorably to the Senate floor.

Assuming the amended bill remains intact and passes the Senate, it sets up a showdown with the House, whose bill zeroes out the HSIPR program, in the conference committee that will iron out the differences between the two chambers’ versions (Thanks to NARP for late update).{jcomments on}

FRA Releases $20.8 Million to NNEPRA for Mass. Rail Improvement

fraU.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced today the release of $82.7 million dollars to improve high-speed and intercity passenger rail in Rhode Island, Maine, Connecticut and Vermont.  The money will provide needed upgrades to the Northeast Corridor, Connecticut's New Haven-Springfield line, Maine's Downeaster route and the Vermonter service.

Secretary LaHood wrote "These are the kinds of investments that will improve reliability and on-time performance and attract more passengers.  We are creating jobs throughout New England, building our rails with American-made materials and growing the New England economy."

For Maine, $20.8 million will alleviate congestion and reduce delays on segments of Amtrak's Downeaster service.  The project will provide critically needed double track, as well as signal and highway-rail grade crossing improvements between Wilmington and Ballardville, MA.  Aging rail will be replaced with new, continuously-welded rail between Lawrence and Bradford, MA  The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates commuter trains on this line, and on-time performance for the Downeaster has deteriorated due to bottlenecks within this area.  Currently, the Downeaster operates from Boston to Portland, ME, and is expanding to Brunswick, ME thanks to previous federal grants totaling $38 million.

Exeter Riders Oppose Parking Fees at Downeaster Station


The Town of Exeter is proposing that the free parking spaces at the Downeaster Train Station be metered so as to increase town revenue.

The cost would be 50 cents an hour or up to $5.00 per day - costing those using public tranportation - the Downeaster - up to $100 more a month.

If adopted, Exeter would join Boston, Woburn, Haverhill, Durham (UNH property) and Portland as pay-to-park facilities. Old Orchard Beach has no separate parking facility for the Downeaster so all parking space are metered. Parking remains free at Woburn, Dover, Wells & Saco.

A public hearing was held on Thursday, September 8th. There was uniform opposition from Downeaster riders. An article on the hearing can be viewed on the Seacoast Online website.

House Republican Budget Plan Eliminates State Supported Rail Service and Cuts Out High Speed Rail Funds

From Amtrak:

amtraklogoDespite record-breaking Amtrak ridership and strong support for intercity passeger rail by 15 states, the House Republican transportation budget plan will effectively eliminate all state-supported Amtrak service across the country for the fiscal year beginning October 1.

This would include the Downeaster.

TrainRiders/Northeast will provide passengers with "A Call to Action" on Tuesday's peak trains - Wayne Davis, Bob Rodman and Bill Lord will hand out the following TRN Flyer.{jcomments on}

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From NARP:

narplogoThe National Association of Railroad Passengers reports that the House Transportation Subcommittee has proposed cutting Amtrak's budget by some $358 million dollars, down to $1.1 billion, imperiling the passenger rail service and eliminating all Hi-Speel Rail funds. NARP calls this a "shutdown budget for Amtrak." Go to NARP for further details and a Take Action link.

Vermont Rail Lines Severely Damaged by Irene

vermontdamage2TrainRiders/NE Board Member Christopher Parker reports that "Irene" dealt Vermont's rail lines a heavy blow. The people, towns and infrastructure of the Green Mountain state haven't see this amount of destruction since 1927.

Christopher adds that every rail line in the state suffered damage that interrupted service and now requires extensive repairs (picture from Vermont Rail Action website).

More here.

$50 Million Grant for Vermont Rail Improvements


The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LeHood, announced today a $50 million grant to the State of Vermont to "begin construction to improve 190 miles of track between St. Albans and Vernon on Amtrak’s Vermonter line. The improvements will result in increased speeds, reduced travel time and greater reliability."

Work Continues on Brunswick Expansion

The replacement of old rail with new continuous welded rail continues between Brunswick and Freeport. The Downeaster website, thanks to Natalie Allen, provides regular updates. The latest can be seen at: http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com/expansion-project/project-update-friday-september-3-2010

The Brunswick Station area will see track replacement activity as soon as the Maine Eastern train completes its fall schedule of Brunswick-Rockland excursion service. Local observers in Brunswick are delighted to see passengers boarding the train at their new station.

NNEPRA's request for the square nut waiver (see other article) is still pending before the FRA.

Exteter Train Station Area to Redevelop

We know that Exexter is in the process of acquiring and converting the baggage room of the old station into a new station building. Now, there's a new initiative to redevelop the area around the station. Town residents will have the opportunity to hear about the plans for 'WestEx' at a public briefing to be held in October. More on this story at SeaCoastOnline.com