Amtrak’s Downeaster to Celebrate 10 Years

NEW ENGLAND – Ten years ago, I began my college career at the University of New Hampshire, one of the many schools that I would attend over the four years. I would use Amtrak’s Downeaster, which had just returned to Durham, to get back home to Everett. It was fast, convenient, and cheap… everything a college student could ask for.

Ten years ago on Thursday the Downeaster train service made its first journey from Portland to North Station. The Downeaster has once again opened access to long distance rail service across the NoBo region and beyond into northern points of New England, despite skepticism since its first inception in the late 1990’s.

The Downeaster has stations for loading and unloading in Boston, Woburn, Haverhill, Exeter, Durham, Dover, Wells, Saco, and Portland. The service also provides seasonal stops in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.

According to Amtrak, ridership exceeded 500,000 passengers in 2011, an 8% jump over last year. Each and every day, more than fifty commuters get on the train in Dover, NH alone to head to Boston, often leaving passengers without a reservation stranded.

The Durham, NH stop has also expanded during the first ten years, providing full-week service rather than just on the weekends as it was during my days at UNH

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