A blog for better streets and public spaces in Portland, Maine.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Funding for Amtrak Downeaster

The federal government will fund $20.8 million towards track improvements on shared Downeaster and MBTA railroad tracks in northern Massachusetts in order to improve on-time reliability for the Portland-to-Boston Amtrak service and for Massachusetts commuter rail services.

Here's a map of where the upgrades will take place (in red) in the context of the rest of the Downeaster route (in blue):

View Downeaster Track improvements in a larger map

If you've ridden the Downeaster before, you may have noticed the train slow down or stop altogether on this section, which sees a lot of train traffic. These upgrades represent another step towards the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority's goal to reduce travel times between Portland and Boston to 2 hours - the time it takes to drive - and add enough track capacity to allow for six daily round trips (up from the current five).

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