Trains For America

More choices for better transportation

Good regional transportation for Boston – Portland

For a change, some good news.

EFFECTIVE FRIDAY, AUGUST 17, 2007, A FIFTH ROUND TRIP WILL
OPERATE ON THE BOSTON-PORTLAND DOWNEASTER SERVICE.

MONDAYS THROUGH FRIDAYS, EXCEPT SEPTEMBER 3

680 – DP POR 555A, AR BON 825A.
682 – DP POR 800A, AR BON 1025A.
684 – DP POR 1250P, AR BON 315P.
686 – DP POR 305P, AR BON 535P.
688 – DP POR 810P, AR BON 1035P.

681 – DP BON 905A, AR POR 1130A.
683 – DP BON 1105A, AR POR 130P.
685 – DP BON 500P, AR POR 725P.
687 – DP BON 620P, AR POR 850P.
689 – DP BON 1120P, AR POR 145A +1.

SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND SEPTEMBER 3

690 – DP POR 710A, AR BON 935A.
692 – DP POR 815P, AR BON 1040A.
694 – DP POR 145P, AR BON 415P.
696 – DP POR 300P, AR BON 525P.
688 – DP POR 810P, AR BON 1035P.

691 – DP BON 1025A, AR POR 1250P.
693 – DP BON 1200N, AR POR 225P.
695 – DP BON 500P, AR POR 725P.
697 – DP BON 625P, AR POR 850P.
689 – DP BON 1120P, AR POR 145A +1.

It’s 116 miles and not especially fast at around 2 hours and 30 minutes. In fiscal year 2006, it was Amtrak’s fastest growing service, with overall ridership up 22.9% from the previous year. The population of Portland is around 64,000, which is a lot less than my hometown of Little Rock.

Perhaps some of our friends up north can expand on reasons for this sucess, but good frequencies and reliable schedules probably play a big role.

America wants trains.

Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

One Response

  1. Nathanael Nerode says:

    “Perhaps some of our friends up north can expand on reasons for this sucess”

    You’ve pinpointed a large part of it already, but there’s one other major part.

    Partly, it’s the connections.

    At Boston North Station, it connects to several commuter rail lines, and to the Green Line (light rail, underground there) and the Orange Line (subway). Those connect to the Red Line (subway) which connects to South Station, which has all the other commuter rail lines, and Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor services including the high-speed Acela, *and* the Boston-Albany part of Amtrak’s Lake Shore Limited. The Red and Green Lines also connect to the Blue Line (subway), which goes to the Boston Airport.

    Essentially, the Downeaster ties Portland into the massive Boston public transportation system and means that getting to and from Portland is now as easy as getting to or from Boston. It can serve as an ‘extreme commuter’ train, and also for day trips.

    All of the “corridor” trains radiating out of Chicago are experiencing rapid growth for similar reasons. If the closer-in commuter lines (Metra) and rapid transit lines (the “L”) didn’t exist (and connect to the airports) I doubt this would be the case.

    Little Rock has nothing similar (no massive public-transport-centered city) to connect to. If Memphis ever got a great public transport system, a Little Rock-Memphis train might do the same thing.

    I would expect that if the current expansion plans for DART in Dallas and Fort Worth’s commuter lines, including a direct airport connection, come to fruition, the Heartland Flyer (running from Fort Worth to the small towns in Oklahoma) will start to experience some sharp ridership increases.

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