The Downeaster is a regional rail line in northern New England. A division of Amtrak, the Downeaster is a scenic travel route for its passengers.

Comprised of three train "sets", the Downeaster runs four trains per day in each direction. Total travel time is approximately two hours and forty five minutes one way. Each train set is comprised of a locomotive, three passenger coaches, a cafe dining car (featuring food from Epicurean Feast, http://www.epicureanfeast.com, a New England food service company hailing from Maynard, MA) and a car which serves as a control unit.

Fare from Boston to Portland, the maximum price, is $21 with 15% discounts for seniors 62 and over and for students participating in the Student Advantage program. Children 2 and under ride free, and children 2-15 ride for half price. The Downeaster's fares are approximately half of those for 'normal' Amtrak trains.

The Downeaster departs for its 100 mile trek (approximate) each day from Boston's North Station at 135 Causeway Street at Canal Street. It runs for approximately 100 miles through the eastern coastal areas of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, terminating in Portland, Maine, at the Portland Transportation Center. The Center is located on Thompson's Point, just off Congress Street and adjacent to I-295. After leaving Boston, The Downeaster then stops in Haverhill, Massachusetts before crossing into New Hampshire.

Once in New Hampshire, the Downeaster stops in Exeter. After Exeter, the Downeaster pauses in Durham, home of the University of New Hampshire. Originally only stopping here on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, it now offers daily service (as of January 22, 2003). It continues to Dover before crossing into Maine.

In the Pine Tree State, the Downeaster's first respite is Wells, ME. The next stop, Saco, opened on February 19, 2002. Before Portland, the end of the line, is a seasonal station, Old Orchard Beach. It began service in June of 2002. The Downeaster stops here May 1-October 31.

Planned future lengthenings of the line include a west Maine branch to Lewiston/Auburn and an east Maine branch to Freeport, then Brunswick. Both branches will form new ends of the line, as they occur farther north than Portland, ME.
North

  • Portland, ME
  • Old Orchard Beach, ME (summer seasonal--May 1-October 31)
  • Saco, ME
  • Wells, ME
  • Dover, NH
  • Durham, NH (connection to Univ. of NH)
  • Exeter, ME
  • Haverhill, MA
  • Boston, MA (North Station)
South
(All information in this writeup gleaned from http://www.thedowneaster.com and http://www.amtrak.com.)

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