News & Reviews News Wire Company offers plan for Rockland-Brunswick, Maine, passenger service

Company offers plan for Rockland-Brunswick, Maine, passenger service

By | January 27, 2022

Proposal would use railcars for daily connection to 'Downeaster'

Email Newsletter

Get the newest photos, videos, stories, and more from brands. Sign-up for email today!

Passenger train with F unit crosses bridge
Passenger train with F unit crosses bridge
A Maine Eastern passenger train heads west at New Meadows, Me., towards Brunswick on Oct. 6, 2011. Seasonal excursions were dropped after Maine Eastern’s lease on the former Maine Central Rockland Branch wasn’t renewed by the state. A new proposal would establish daily passenger service between Rockland and Brunswick. (Bob Johnston)

ROCKLAND, Maine — New York’s Finger Lakes Railway has proposed offering daily passenger train service between Rockland and Brunswick, Maine, to provide a connection to Amtrak’s Downeaster.

The Courier-Gazette of Camden, Maine, reports the company made the proposal at a Monday meeting of the Northern New England Rail Passenger Authority, which oversees Downeaster operations.

The Finger Lakes proposal calls for daily round trips between Rockland and Brunswick, a distance of about 50 miles, using rail diesel cars. During the peak tourist season, May to October, there would be two daily round trips on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. There would be at least four intermediate stops.

The company is proposing a two-year trial for the service, George Betke, a Finger Lakes director, told the meeting, with service possible as soon as this summer. Betke said a number of details remain to be worked out with the Maine Department of Transportation.

The last regular passenger service to Rockland ended in 1959, but seasonal excursion service operated between 2004 and 2015, when Maine ended a contract with the Maine Eastern Railroad.

Finger Lakes, based in Geneva, N.Y., operates a 167-mile short line railroad, a lease fleet of more than 500 railcars, and offers occasional rail excursions.





7 thoughts on “Company offers plan for Rockland-Brunswick, Maine, passenger service

  1. I last rode RDC’s between North Vancouver BC and Prince George BC. on B.C. Rail’s Cariboo service. Riding shotgun in front Vestibule, a black bear tried to outrun us. but at the last minute, decided to vacate the ROW for us. All day trip back in the late ’90s. Shame that British Columbia sold line.

  2. I have ridden RDC excursions twice on the Reading & Northern in the last 5 years, once from Pottsville, PA to Jim Thorpe, PA and once from Reading, PA to Jim Thorpe. The Reading trips run on most weekends. Both trips I rode consisted of a coach plus a coach/snack-bar. They occasionally use them for other destinations also.

  3. I’m pretty sure RDCs ran in Texas commuter service fairly recently. Those cars are now in storage in Barre, Vermont. My assumption, certainly open to correction, is that they met necessary standards in order to run in Texas. Does anyone know the exact dates they ran in TX?

    1. The RDCs ran in Texas for the startup of the DCTA A-Train in 2011 until the Stadler DMUs arrived. I was there for an early run myself just to see an RDC, and Wikipedia says the DMUs started service in 2012.

  4. Since Amtrak hasn’t been a raging success in most markets, it seems that many passenger proposals are to work around Amtrak rather than with Amtrak. If there is a market for this route it ought to be a through Amtrak train from Boston, not a connection at Brunswick.

    Apparently, I can’t be sure, the proposal is to use the what remains of the once-common Budd RDC, used on NYNY&H, NYC, CNR, CPR and especially B&M. Nobody has more nostalgia than I do for RDC’s. Back in the day, I loved them! I very much doubt they could meet contemporary standars for wheelchair access and crashworthiness. The engineer’s cab is a wide spot in the front vestibule. Reminds me of that line about Volkswagen’s original vans from the 1960’s, that the driver’s legs were the front bumper. I last rode an RDC in 1975. This is 2022.

    1. Would Finger Lakes really propose using equipment that cannot be used??? What would there objective be in doing that?

You must login to submit a comment