Portland Passenger Rail

markhb

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A few fairly obvious observations:
1) Having to make a connection with less than an hour between scheduled arrival at North Station and scheduled departure at South Station is a recipe for anxiety. Reliably arriving on time is huge!
2) Walking to or from the PTC after dark is unpleasant.
3) Saco has the best train station in Maine.
4) The Downeaster needs to run on Sundays.
5) Be wary of restaurants that say they can fill a to go soup order in 6 minutes or less.
So far as transferring in Boston goes, when I travelled on the Lake Shore, the Portland station attendant literally advised me to use Concord Coach to get to Boston rather than try to make the connection from the Downeaster. If you're traveling light, taking the Orange Line to Back Bay and boarding there is typically the best way to go rather than going to BOS.
 

Tom Nevers

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NNEPRA Board meeting minutes from March note that we can expect a fifth roundtrip on the Downeaster to be added by this summer. This was also mentioned by Ms. Quinn during the recent TRNE annual meeting. I believe she said the additional roundtrip would be added in May. I'm really looking forward to this and eventually a 6th, 7th and 8th...

More good news is that NNEPRA supports moving the PTC to the main line. Hopefully, with them and MDOT backing the proposal, this will actually happen. Would probably also help to have a champion in local government. Anyone have a sense of how elected officials in Portland are feeling about this?

Finally, if you haven't checked out Transit Tomorrow, recently released by GPCOG, it's worth skimming. I appreciate the recognition that increased frequency, expanded operating hours, and better land use policy are all essential to making transit more convenient. Also, the rapid transit corridors they ID in Goal 3 are encouraging, even if I disagree with Biddeford-Saco-Portland being a lower priority than Gorham-Westbrook-Portland.

Edit- forgot we’d already discussed the additional roundtrip and NNEPRA’s support of moving the train station in the Crazy Transit Pitches thread. I guess I’ll chalk that up to a crazy busy February and March.
 
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markhb

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I'd anticipate that the 5th round trip will coincide with the annual opening of the OOB stop.

The MaineDOT study regarding the Portland station is here. The recommendation was to shore up the PTC and study the Union Station option further (note that only rail would move to Union Station; Concord Coach owns the PTC and is happy where they are). There's mention in there as to whether adverse taking at Union Station might be involved (i.e., forcibly using eminent domain when the landowner is unwilling to sell); that tends to lead to drawn-out lawsuits that go on past the next election.
 

Cosakita18

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My first thought when looking at a lot of these site plans is: Why do all of these proposals feature tiny station buildings? A lot of the proposed terminals look to be even smaller than the existing PTC, which is already a cramped and unpleasant facility. I can't imagine it would be anything more than a waiting room with some restrooms. It seems fairly shortsighted to build a terminal that isn't capable of comfortably handling any new future service and an increase in passenger volume. Personally, I feel like Portland deserves a signature rail terminal with commercial and retail amenities that makes it an attractive place to wait for a train, not just a waiting room with a Pepsi vending machine.
 
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TC_zoid

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My first thought when looking at a lot of these site plans is: Why do all of these proposals feature tiny station buildings? A lot of the proposed terminals look to be even smaller than the existing PTC, which is already a cramped and unpleasant facility. I can't imagine it would be anything more than a waiting room with some restrooms. It seems fairly shortsighted to build a terminal that isn't capable of comfortably handling any new future service and an increase in passenger volume. Personally, I feel like Portland deserves a signature rail terminal with commercial and retail amenities that makes it an attractive place to wait for a train, not just a waiting room with a Pepsi vending machine.
100% agree. City Gov. can't think out of a box. Why not find some private industry and do a deal? They get to give the station an advertising theme. But make it a cool one. Not insurance!
 

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