Progress in NH for Commuter Rail

nh2Year after year, NH rail advocates have tried but failed to access federal money to analyze the viability of passenger rail service from Boston to Nashua and Manchester (Dover, Durham and Exeter are already served by the Maine-sponsored Amtrak Downeaster). 

This year is different - strong support in the Legislature and no veto from the governor's office!

The following is from Bob Hall, TrainRiders/NE's Vice-Chair and long-time advocate for expanded passenger rail service in the Granite State.

July 2019 marked the first signs by the State of New Hampshire of support for the return of rail passenger service to the Merrimack Valley communities of Nashua and Manchester. Trainriders/Northeast along with many other local and state organizations, businesses residents and elected officials as well as educational communities have long advocated for such service.

Senate Bill 241 after affirmative votes in both the New Hampshire House and Senate was allowed to become law by Governor Chris Sununu without his signature.  This action will allow policymakers to make informed decisions as steps are taken to restoring passenger rail. No money will be used from the New Hampshire General fund rather this bill allows New Hampshire DOT to use the state's abundance of highway toll credits.

Read more: Progress in NH for Commuter Rail

State Oversight Office Gives NNEPRA High Marks

The Government Oversight Committee held a session this week to hear the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability's position regarding an investigation into NNEPRA's management of its finances and operational supervision of the Downeaster passenger rail service.


State Senator Stan Gerzofsky of Brunswick, an outgoing member of the Government Oversight Committee, had forcefully pursued the investigation. The following report is from All Aboard Brunswick which has been closely following the process.


OPEGA found NNEPRA to be a well-run organization with lots of oversight, tasked with the challenge of coordinating operations with Amtrak, Pam Am Railways, the MBTA, Maine DOT, individual station owners, and responsible to the Legislature, Maine DOT, the Federal Rail Authority (FRA), and the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA).  Basically, the report said, “Nothing to see here, folks.  Move along now.”


The report’s three recommendations were:

1.     Better communication between NNEPRA and the Legislature, with the Transportation Committee scheduling NNEPRA to present its annual reports at public meetings. In the past, presentations at public meetings have typically been initiated by NNEPRA.

2.     As part of the process of establishing passenger rail policy, planning and implementation, the Legislature, MDOT and NNEPRA should rely on objective cost-benefit research and analysis, and provide timely and appropriate forums for public input throughout a project’s duration.

Read more: State Oversight Office Gives NNEPRA High Marks

TrainRiders/Northeast Video

During recent years, TrainRiders has provided up-to-date videos to our friends and members. As a grass roots organization whose vision brought the Downeaster to Northern New England, we continue to pursue, in cooperation with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, policies that will sustain, enhance and expand this successful service. Our enthusiasm is reflected in the videos below. 

TrainRiders/NE Annual Meeting - 2014
This successful meeting was held in October of 2014 in Portland. It was here that Wayne Davis unveiled our vision of direct Brunswick to New York City service. See what Brunswick civic leaders had to say.

Jeff Reynolds' Brunswick Layover Facility Analysis
Jeff is a supporter of the BLF's siting in the old freight yard. His perspective is in sharp contrast to the
local neighborhood's position. The accompanying video illustrates the validity of NNEPRA's choice.


National Train Day - 2013
Amtrak chose Brunswick as the northern Maine site to celebrate this annual event.
Towns and cities along the Downeaster route were present to make join in the festivities.


TrainRiders/NE Annual Meeting - 2012
This video celebrated the inaugural train to Freeport and Brunswick
from Portland as the service began in September of 2012.


TrainRiders/NE Annual Meeting - 2011
This video celebrated the construction of the Portland - Freeport - Brunswick Expansion. Finally, the continuous welded rail was installed and other right-of-way improvements were moving forward.


Brunswick Construction Kick-off Ceremony

TrainRiders 2010 Annual Meeting - Brunswick History


TrainRiders/NE Annual Meeting History Video
A look back at media coverage of our vision - it was not always supportive.
Our honored guest was former Senator George Mitchell who was pivotal in
moving the decision-making levers in Washington on behalf of the Downeaster.


The Project 16

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