Royal Junction Siding

NNEPRA Project
Status Update: 

August 2018

The following is the road closure schedule required for the installation of the five (5) grade crossing panels in Cumberland and Falmouth. Roads will be closed from 8am to 8pm.

  • Tuttle Rd, Cumberland                  Wednesday, August 1st
  • Route 9, Cumberland                    Wednesday, August 8th
  • Greeley Rd, Cumberland              Wednesday, August 15th
  • Woodville Rd, Cumberland          Wednesday, August 22nd
  • Muirfield Rd, Falmouth                 Wednesday, August 29th

July 2018

The Royal Siding Project is well underway, with progress continuing with track construction and signal infrastructure and equipment installation by Pan Am Railways, as well as the near completion of the earthwork & drainage phase of the Project being completed by D&C Construction.

Pan Am track crews have been onsite working to construct track since late April and have partially assembled approximately 7,000 of the approximately 21,000 track feet scoped as part of this Project.  The prefabricated track crossover, which will connect the east end new track to the mainline, was delivered to Royal Junction during the week of June 25th.  A prefabricated equilateral, which will connect the west end, is scheduled for delivery in late August 2018.

Signal crews have relocated all existing grade crossing gate equipment in anticipation of installation of the second track panels at the five (5) crossing impacted by the Project.  Approximately 90% of all underground conduit installation and cabling connecting the new signal interlocking locations has been completed by Pan Am, along with the installation of all the foundations that will support the new signaling equipment.

The next few months should be very busy on the Project. A stone box culvert will be replaced in early July.  NNEPRA is coordinating with the Towns of Cumberland and Falmouth regarding the road closures required for the installation of the five (5) grade crossing panels which will take place in late July and early August.  Advance public notice will be provided for all grade crossing work, as soon as a firm schedule is established.  Trackwork will continue through the fall, and the Project is expected to be complete late this year. 

Project Overview

Royal Junction Siding will provide additional track capacity necessary to enable more frequent and efficient daily operation of Downeaster trains and freight trains between Brunswick and Boston.  This passing siding removes a key bottleneck for the Downeaster that will create more options for the travelling public while improving the financial and operational efficiency of the service.

Royal Junction Siding with be constructed within the mainline railroad corridor owned by Pan Am Railways.  It will begin just east of CPF-185 (Royal Junction) and extend 21,700 feet west to a point approximately 1,000 feet east of MP- 189.   Generally, this second track will be installed between Field Road in Falmouth and extend just past Greely Road in Cumberland. 

The key operational benefit of the capacity gained from constructing the passing siding is that it increases the potential for trains operating on this existing stretch of single track to pass in opposite directions, as well as allow a faster passenger train to overtake a slower freight headed in the same direction.  This change improves the overall capacity of the track and allows for an increase in the frequency of Downeaster service connecting the communities of Freeport and Brunswick to the other Downeaster stations including Portland, Old Orchard Beach, Saco/Biddeford, Wells, Maine; Dover, Durham, and Exeter, New Hampshire; Haverhill, Woburn and Boston, Massachusetts.

The Amtrak Downeaster currently makes ten one-way revenue-generating trips each day between Portland and Boston, yet only six of those trips currently extend to Freeport and Brunswick. The number of trips is limited because most of the connecting railroad is only single track, constraining the back and forth movement of trains along that segment.  

The existing limited frequency of Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick restricts the potential Downeaster ridership and revenue growth along the I-295 corridor, one of the busiest traffic corridors in the State of Maine. The limited schedule also constrains tourism and other transit-oriented economic development initiatives in the communities of Freeport and Brunswick and creates operational and financial inefficiencies in the Downeaster service. 

Royal Junction Siding will provide the capacity necessary to enable Amtrak to operate all Downeaster trains between Brunswick and Boston, providing more transit options in the region, and improving the efficiency of the Downeaster operation.  The additional frequencies between Brunswick and Portland will be operated as an extension of the existing core Downeaster service, increasing the efficiency of the Amtrak crews and equipment already in place.


Project Elements

The Royal Junction Siding Project includes the construction of an approximately four-mile second track adjacent to the Pan Am Freight Mainline.  The Siding will begin approximately 1,000 feet east of Field Road in Falmouth, cross Woodville Road and Muirfield Road in Falmouth, as well as Longwoods  Road (aka Rte 9), Tuttle Road and Greely Road in Cumberland.  It will terminate just east of Royal Junction, located northeast of Greely Road.   In railroad terms, this “passing siding” will be begin just east of CPF-185 (Royal Junction) and extend 21,700 feet west to a point approximately 1,000 feet east of MP- 189.   All construction work will be performed within Pan Am Railways existing railroad right-of-way with no additional environmental impacts anticipated. A Categorical Exclusion (CE) worksheet has been prepared and has been submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for concurrence.

Royal Junction Siding will be constructed as a double block passing siding to allow "at-speed" meets of two trains traveling in opposite directions.  This will allow both passenger and freight trains to move through Royal Junction concurrently, and without conflict.  In addition to new track, the new siding will require communication and signal upgrades such as a new mainline control point (CP-Cemetery), modification of an existing control point (CPF -185), new mainline automatic signals and three grade crossing AHCP conversions for double track.   The Communication and Signal upgrades required of these types of infrastructure improvements will be designed and installed by Pan Am.

Project Budget & Schedule

The total Project budget is $9,370,084.  Eighty percent (80%) of the project is being financed using federal funding sources, with the State of Maine contributing the remaining twenty percent (20%) match.