Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Maine, FRA reach accord on Amtrak expansion

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Maine officials reportedly have reached agreement with the Federal Railroad Administration on how to apply $35 million in federal stimulus funds to extend Amtrak’s Downeaster service beyond Portland, the state’s largest city.

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Amtrak operates five roundtrips per day between Portland and Boston’s North Station. The Downeaster-Portland North Project will extend service north from Portland to Brunswick, with a stop in Freeport, said the FRA.

The $35 million grant, combined with additional state funds, will allow rehabilitation and upgrading of about 26 miles right-of-way owned by Pan Am Railways. The Downeaster project also will improve 36 highway-rail grade crossings, upgrade numerous wayside signals, install signals on the Brunswick branch, and provide other right-of-way improvements, FRA said.