Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:38 pm

Is there some possibility of putting the station on the main line somewhere as opposed to where it is now?
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby markhb » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:00 pm

Gokeefe, I'll post the exact wording later, but it's from the actual January minutes rather than the goals for the year.

Rockingham Racer wrote:Is there some possibility of putting the station on the main line somewhere as opposed to where it is now?

Barring razing an existing building, they would have to go out to Morrill's Corner / Deering Junction. The original alternate site on Commercial St. is now the container port and intermodal ramp, and the parking lot near the former Union Station is becoming a parking garage for Maine Med. They could conceivably do something at the old Rite Aid at Woodford's Corner, but that would be very cramped.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:05 pm

A lot of people ask about that in a whole variety of settings. It simply *will not* happen. The Downeaster and Concord Coach are inseparable partners. Concord Coach owns the facility and they have no reason to leave it.

It's worth noting that isolation from the main line is indirectly beneficial in some unexpected ways. It leaves a lot of room for future growth that could not otherwise occur.

Right now there is a serious case to be made that POR will need to be able to accommodate more than one train at the same time. Additionally it looks like Pan Am could soon be in a situation which requires a major increase in train frequency (think twice a day to/from Rumford as well as Waterville).

If that doesn't tell you how far we've come I don't know what will.
Last edited by gokeefe on Sat Mar 02, 2019 12:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby MEC407 » Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:46 am

markhb wrote:Barring razing an existing building, they would have to go out to Morrill's Corner / Deering Junction. The original alternate site on Commercial St. is now the container port and intermodal ramp, and the parking lot near the former Union Station is becoming a parking garage for Maine Med. They could conceivably do something at the old Rite Aid at Woodford's Corner, but that would be very cramped.


And that would be much worse than the current location in terms of accessibility to the downtown and Old Port areas.

The current location is actually pretty ideal in a lot of ways.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:08 pm

MEC407 wrote:The current location is actually pretty ideal in a lot of ways.


Indeed it is ... So here are some examples of what the stake holders may need to consider ...

1. If there's a parking garage built across the tracks from the PTC should it connect to the island platform with a pedestrian bridge? Might seem like an obvious answer but it's really not. See #2 for why ...

2. Should MaineDOT build a new parking garage on their current site across from the PTC? If so how much should be charged for parking relative to any privately owned garage across the tracks at the Thompson's Point site? This affects the economic viability of the private garage.

3. If a new island platform is built should the tracks be run through, stub ended or one of each? There are good arguments for both. Will the current mini high platform remain in service? Not entirely clear that would be the case if two full length platforms are available.

4. How large should a new waiting area be? What is the projected level of use over the life of the facility? What about future service changes and their impact on level of use? Is it possible that positive train control would be implemented on the line at some point in the future (which could imply a major service expansion)? Should provision be made for future checked baggage service?

5. Should there be any allowance for possible future cleaning, commisary and/mechanical facilities at the site? If so would it be anything more than just empty space for now?

6. Should the wye track project be completed at the same time as this new project? Seems likely given the potential for more than one train at the station at once. If so what are the implied requirements for switches and track configuration? Should the switch configuration be capable of supporting simultaneous arrival and departure?

7. Should there be a run through track to accommodate freight bypass? If so where?

8. Should there be any additional sidings or track in place west of Thompson's Point Road crossing?

That is only just the beginning ...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby markhb » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:58 am

The exact bit I was was in Patricia's summary of ongoing projects, where she stated:
NNEPRA looking at potential new locations for a Portland station.


I believe you that it's highly unlikely for the reasons you stated, and my hunch is that this is simply due diligence before they come back and say they're staying put. I can't see MeDOT installing their own garage if TP is going to build one, unless the current partners at TP don't want to work with the transportation center (which would be tragic).

But I also wonder about the wye; see the article I linked to earlier where the state is discussing selling land (apparently potentially including the bit where the wye would go) to the city for a homeless shelter. That's one of the three locations on the city's short list per a recent update.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Sun Mar 03, 2019 4:07 pm

Thanks for catching this. I didn't read far enough into the packet.

I agree. That language clearly indicates that NNEPRA is considering moving their operations from POR.

Surprising development to say the least ...
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Suburban Station » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:40 am

Rockingham Racer wrote:Is there some possibility of putting the station on the main line somewhere as opposed to where it is now?

that absolutely makes sense. the station location doesn't seem to make a lot of sense from either an operating or locational advantage perspective. in the vicinity of union station plaza would seem to be a better location for passengers.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Dick H » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:13 pm

Putting a new station on the "main line" will see PAR demanding more in track, signal and other
upgrades that will cost more than the new station building and parking lot. You can bet the farm.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:24 pm

Dick H wrote:Putting a new station on the "main line" will see PAR demanding more in track, signal and other upgrades that will cost more than the new station building and parking lot.

A lot more ... It's intriguing that they're considering this. I wonder if it's just part of the process of alternatives analysis but I think that would have been clear in the notes.

The plain English meaning, which is usually the correct interpretation for NNEPRA, is that they are indeed looking for a new station site.

Ok ... So ... What are the options that would provide direct access to the airport? I've looked before and concluded that South Portland by the tank farm borders on "totally unworkable" and "very difficult".
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby jcpatten » Mon Mar 04, 2019 5:47 pm

Having the train station in the with the bus station makes for multimodal travel. I can take the bus or the train (or both - one mode one direction and the other returning). I suppose it would be even better if Greyhound was at the same station, to give even more options.

Moving the train station elsewhere will limit options. I hope they don't do it.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:49 pm

IS there some "friction" between the bus companies and Amtrak? IS that the reason for moving the train station?? :(
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:34 pm

Just for the heck of it I took a look through the Service Development Plan that was finalized in 2017.

Moving from the PTC is nowhere in that plan. It contemplated building the island platform as discussed here and called for the demolition of the original PTC train platform.

This reconsideration of the station site is a major development.
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby gokeefe » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:36 pm

Backshophoss wrote:IS there some "friction" between the bus companies and Amtrak? IS that the reason for moving the train station?? :(

Nothing significant that I've ever heard. NNEPRA pays rent to Concord Coach but also receives certain parking revenues. They actually seem to get along quite well. I would describe the situation as a "successful partnership".
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Re: Amtrak Downeaster Discussion Thread

Postby sicariis » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:34 am

Disabled train across RT 108. Road closed. No time known for reopening. Seek alternate routes.


https://twitter.com/TownofNewmrktNH/status/1102967602412994560

TRAFFIC ALERT: Newmarket NH 108 in the area of New Rd roadway closed detour onto New Rd


https://twitter.com/NHDOTRoutes/status/1102968822741565442

683 and 684 may be delayed because of this.
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