The Amtrak Downeaster Went to Rockland This Week
Usually the Amtrak Downeaster comes to the end of the line in Brunswick, but on Wednesday, a train continued all the way up to Rockland.
This train wasn't on the regular schedule and had no paying passengers. It was for officials with Amtrak to inspect the line from Brunswick to Rockland to give the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority an idea of what would be involved to add Rockland as another stop.
For many years, The Maine Eastern Railroad operated between Brunswick and Rockland offering freight service and a scenic passenger train. The former Maine Central Railroad line is owned by the State of Maine and in 2015, they awarded the operating rights to the Central Maine and Quebec Railway who opted to only run freight trains. The New England Passenger Rail Authority would like to bring passenger service back to Rockland with the Amtrak Downeaster.
When The Maine Eastern ran passenger service from Brunswick and Rockland, there were several stops in between, including Bath, Wiscasset and Newcastle. The Downeaster might make the same stops, but Wiscasset seems like the no-brainer as the track runs right by Red's Eats and the downtown shops in Wiscasset.
Service to Rockland would still be several years away, but this inspection trip is the first step in bringing passenger service back to a beautiful, coastal rail line.