The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) announced June 9 that the Amtrak Downeaster will begin Phase 1 of Service Restoration beginning June 15, 2020. Service will resume with one round trip on weekdays only between Brunswick, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts: southbound Train 680 and northbound Train 685. Downeaster service has been suspended since April 13, 2020.
A number of protocols and procedures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of passengers and crews.
Highlights of Phase 1 Service Restoration Plan:
- Amtrak has implemented new cleaning and disinfecting protocols nationwide, and train equipment used in Downeaster service will undergo enhanced cleaning before and after each trip.
- Crews and passengers will be required to wear face covering while boarding and moving about the train
- The number of passengers per train will be limited to no more than 50% of available seating capacity so riders are able to adhere to physical distancing guidelines.
- Advance reservations are required and cash sales will not be accepted.
- Station facilities will not be open; passengers should go directly to the outdoor platform to wait for their train.
- Café service will not be available, however complimentary water will be available upon request.
- Stations are being updated with signage and other enhancements to promote public health and physical distancing.
While NNEPRA expects Downeaster increase service throughout the summer months, no date has been set for subsequent phases, according to NNEPRA, in a news release. The NNEPRA Board of Directors plans to meet later this month to evaluate the potential for adding more daily trips.
Pan Am Railways has expedited a series of track improvement and maintenance projects along the Downeaster corridor to take place this spring to avoid construction-related service interruptions later in the year. The schedule for Train 680 has been modified slightly to adjust for construction-related delays. Passengers travelling on Train 685 to stations north of Haverhill should expect delays of approximately 15 minutes, according to NNEPRA.
Complete information about the steps Amtrak is taking to protect the health and safety of their passengers and crews is available at Amtrak.com
For additional Amtrak Downeaster information visit: AmtrakDowneaster.com