Amtrak’s Downeaster Builds On Its Success.
I’ve written here on a couple of other occasions about Amtrak’s Downeaster, the train that runs several times a day from Boston up into Maine. It’s original destination was Portland, but the route has recently been extended another 26 or so miles … to Freeport and on up to Brunswick.
The real story of the Downeaster is that it exists for just one reason: ordinary people demanded it … people from Massachusetts and New Hampshire and Vermont as well a folks from Maine. They organized, they petitioned their elected representatives in local, state and federal governments. It took them ten years, but they got their train.
And all along the way, opponents scoffed and kept saying that no one would ride the Downeaster … or, at least, not enough people would use the service to justify it.
And of course these same people objected for the same reason when the 26-mile extension up to Brunswick was proposed. The original projection for that segment was 100 riders a day. The anti-rail crowd scoffed and said that was a pipe dream. Boy! Were they ever wrong! The numbers have just been released and the Downeaster is averaging 175 passengers a day between Portland and Brunswick by way of Freeport.
I’ll say it again: People want trains!