Thursday, March 28, 2013

NNEPRA Board moves ahead with Amtrak Brunswick Layover

The Board of Directors of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) took steps toward the development of an indoor train layover facility in Brunswick, including the decision to award the design/build contract to Consigli Construction Company of Portland, Maine.

The project, which is expected to cost approximately $12 million, will increase the frequency and efficiency of Amtrak Downeaster service between Brunswick and Boston, while setting the stage for future passenger rail improvements. The facility is expected to take up to 18 months to complete.

The Brunswick layover, which will be constructed on the rail yard property owned by NNEPRA between Church Road and Stanwood Street, will provide an enclosed facility to service trains during the day and overnight. Trains are currently serviced outdoors, adjacent to the Portland Transportation Center on Thompson's Point.

The new facility will provide a safer environment for workers, while improving the efficiency and reliability of Downeaster operations. Once the Brunswick layover is complete, the Downeaster will make one additional daily round-trip between Brunswick and Boston without increasing the current frequency of train movements. Presently, trains travel between the Portland layover and Brunswick Station at the beginning and end of each day. The Brunswick layover will eliminate the need for trains to idle outside for hours each afternoon between runs, enabling them to be brought inside and shut down for proper servicing.

Layover construction cannot begin until the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has made a final determination regarding the Brunswick layover under the National Environmental Policy Act. NNEPRA has forwarded draft Environmental Assessment (EA) documentation to the FRA for review. Once the EA has been completed, it will be available for public review and comment before the FRA makes its final determination.

NNEPRA expects construction to begin later this year and hopes to be operating more Brunswick to Boston trains by the end of 2014.

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