The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) is a public transportation authority created in 1995 by the Maine State Legislature to develop and provide passenger rail service between Maine and Boston and points within Maine.
NNEPRA manages the budget, contracts, promotion, and customer services associated with the Amtrak Downeaster passenger rail service. NNEPRA holds a 20-year agreement with Amtrak to operate the Downeaster rail service between Brunswick and Boston and is party to agreements with host railroads, i.e., Pan Am Railways and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
DOWNEASTER HIGH SPEED RAIL PROGRAM:
- The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) was awarded a $35 million High Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) grant to expand Downeaster service to Freeport to Brunswick. This project has improved transportation, created hundreds of jobs and stimulated economic growth.
- Under NNEPRA's leadership, Maine was the first state in the nation to put rail on the ground under the HSIPR program and the project has been showcased by the U.S. Department of Transportation as a model of national success.
CURRENT PASSENGER RAIL SERVICE
- The Amtrak Downeaster makes five daily round trips between Portland and Boston with two of those trips extending to service Freeport and Brunswick linking 12 communities in three states.
- The Downeaster operates at speeds up to 79 mph along a 145-mile corridor over 108 miles of track owned by Pan Am Railways and 36 miles owned by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The last mile of track is owned by the MaineDOT.
- To date, the Downeaster has transported more than 5 million passengers, generating more than $72 million in ticket revenue and relieving more than 412 million passenger miles from our roads.
- Annual ridership, which was nearly 537,000 in FY2014, has increased 84% since 2005.
- The Downeaster has significantly contributed to a healthy railroad network by leveraging more than $110 million in federal funding which has improved the rail infrastructure supporting freight service to manufacturers throughout the state.
- As with all modes of transportation, the operation of the Downeaster requires ongoing public financing. About half of the operating costs are recovered by fares, the remainder is paid for through a combination of state and federal funds. NNEPRA is committed to minimize the need for public support by maximizing cost efficiencies and to seeking ways to grow revenues.