Rail News

Amtrak Downeaster Celebrates 15th Anniversary


PORTLAND, MAINE - This week marks the 15th Anniversary of Amtrak Downeaster service between Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts, which began on December 15, 2001. The Downeaster continues to provide transportation for commuters, students travelling to or from college, school kids on educational trips, senior citizens, sports fans, beach goers, tourists and more.   Since December 15, 2001, more than 46,000 Downeaster trains have operated, transporting more than 6 million passengers the equivalent of nearly 500 million passenger miles.  Amtrak operates the Downeaster under agreement with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA).   “Amtrak has enjoyed its partnership with NNEPRA and takes pride in the success of the Downeaster service,” said DJ Stadtler, Executive Vice President, Operations. 

Despite a series of service disruptions and cancellations due to track work over the past 18 months, the Downeaster experienced record ridership and revenue during the first quarter of FY2017 and maintains one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the nation.   

Many service changes have taken place in the past 15 years including reductions in travel time, the addition of a fifth frequency, station improvements, service expansion to Freeport and Brunswick and the construction of a new layover facility.  “The Downeaster has really evolved from an amenity into a preferred means of transportation,” said Patricia Quinn, NNEPRA Executive Director.  “It has also played a key role in the economic development strategies of the communities it serves by enhancing connectivity, promoting private development and investment, and enhancing quality of life.” 

Citizens Group Hosts Anniversary Celebration

The Downeaster service was initiated as a result of a citizens’ initiative lead by TrainRiders Northeast in the 1990’s to restore passenger rail service to Maine.  TrainRiders is hosting their annual meeting on December 15 at the Portland Clarion Hotel to celebrate the success of the service.  Registration information is available at www.trainridersne.org.


Special Travel Promotions put in place to Celebrate Downeaster Anniversary

The Amtrak Downeaster is celebrating its 15th anniversary of service by offering a number of special offers and promotions. “If you already love the Downeaster, or if you’ve haven't ridden yet, these Anniversary Promotions make this the perfect time to take the train!” said Natalie Bogart, NNEPRA Marketing Director. “You will see some of New England’s prettiest scenery and visit great destinations, but best of all, you make the most of every moment as you travel along able to work, rest, or spend time together with friends or family.” 

  • A 15% discount is available on fares through the month of December (with a 3 day advance purchase). Reference promotion code v503.
  • A 15% discount on food and beverage is being offered in the Downeaster Café through December 29th.
  • For 15 days beginning on December 15, passengers can register on board to win great Downeaster prizes, including mugs, t-shirts, Downeaster tickets and a Celtics package.  One prize will be given away each day.   An on-line entry form is also available at www.AmtrakDowneaster.com/giveaway.
  • $15 one-way fares for travel between Brunswick, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts or any station in between will begin on January 1, 2017. The special anniversary fare is good for travel January 1, 2017 through January 31, 2017. Reservations for the discounted fares must be purchased 3 days in advance of travel. Reference promotion code v447.

For more information about Downeaster Anniversary promotions visit www.AmtrakDowneaster.com.