Our New Vision
TrainRiders Northeast brought the Downeaster to Portland, ME in 2001 and Brunswick ME in 2012. Our New Vision: An across the platform, Amtrak connection at Boston’s North Station, serving Worcester, Springfield, Hartford, New Haven & New York’s Penn Station. Our continued success depends on your donation. Use our PayPal button to help us reach this goal. Many thanks for your continued support. Wayne Davis, Chairman
John Middleton Passes Away
- Created: 28 March 2020 28 March 2020
John Middleton, a long-serving and dedicated member of TrainRiders/NE, passed away on March 21st. John was 95. John was an exemplary Train Host as well as the manager of our membership list. He was also on the board of the Trolley Musem in Kennebunkport, The picture, from the museum, captures his passion for rail transportation.
John's son, David, provided the following obituary.
TrainRiders/NE Train Host Service Suspended
- Created: 15 March 2020 15 March 2020
In order to reduce the risks of viral infection and the spread of the Coronavirus, the Train Host service has been suspended until April 15th.
Each Friday, during that period, Chairman Wayne Davis and Trainmaster Jim Oikle will review the situation with NNEPRA and Amtrak with the goal of returning the hosts to the train as soon as the risk has subsided.
Many of our hosts are older adults and like many retirees, they are considered to be at 'higher risk.'
Since helping passengers is their primary goal, they'll miss their assignments on the train.
The FRA Grants NNEPRA $17 Million for Service Improvements!
- Created: 28 February 2020 28 February 2020
The Downeaster has received a Federal Railroad Administration $17 million grant for service improvements in Wells, Berwick and Brunswick.
Wells will see an additional platform, accessed by a pedestrian bridge, as well as a six-mile extension to Berwick of the current two-mile passing track. This will alleviate the current bottleneck in Wells by allowing north and southbound trains to load/unload passengers simultaneously.
In 2018, NNEPRA Executive Director Patricia Quinn provided TrainRiders/NE with an overview of the project.
A sixth roundtrip between Wells and Brunswick can then be added, creating the first such 'inside Maine' passenger rail service.
Senator Susan Collins, who chairs the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee in Washington, announced the grant in a press release. She noted that NNEPRA "will be able to make important improvements to this rail line in southern and midcoast Maine, increasing the corridor's capacity and improving safety, efficiency and reliability for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use this service each year."
2019 - A Record Year for the Downeaster!!!
- Created: 01 February 2020 01 February 2020
'America's Favorite Train' posted record-breaking ridership numbers in 2019!
NNEPRA announced that 574,404 passengers took the Downeaster last year, which was a 7.8% increase over 2017's record of 546,056.
Marketing Director Natalie Bogart reported that "August of last year saw an all-time record of 60,944 - the first time that Downeaster ridership had surpassed 60,000 passengers in a month."
In a press release, NNEPRA attributes the ridership surge to the "increased frequency to Freeport and Brunswick, improve reliability, as well as repeat riders. The Downeaster's Amtrak Customer Satisfaction score of 91% suggests that people are not only riding the Downeaster, but finding it to be enjoyable as well."
NNEPRA Board Chairman John Melrose spoke of the future, "We are committed to the continued growth of the Downeaster service and are working hard in 2020 to improve/expand transportation alternatives to further enhance mobility to our citizens and support economic growth for Maine businesses."
The service began on December 15th of 2001, and since then the Downeaster has been a trailblazer in passenger rail service!
The 31st Annual Meeting was a Huge Success!
- Created: 12 November 2019 12 November 2019
It was a grand meeting!!!
Among our invited guests were Patricia Quinn - Executive Director of NNEPRA, David Fink- President of Pan Am Railways and Bruce A. Van Note - Maine Commissioner of Transportation (Commissioner Van Note was unable to attend) and Maine Senator Susan Collins. Much is happening with passenger and freight rail in Maine and there was no better place to get a full briefing than at our Annual Meeting. In addition, we celebrated the Downeaster's 18th birthday!
Senator Susan Collins, chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Transportation, was unable to join us but appeared via video from Washington. She has been instrumental in increasing Amtrak's budget and has been a friend and constant supporter of TrainRiders/NE.