BRUNSWICK – Residents left no doubt Thursday about how they feel about having a layover facility for Downeaster passenger trains operating a few hundred feet from their neighborhood.

They don’t want it there.

More than 100 people, many of them residents of Bouchard Drive, Hennessey Avenue and other streets near the site where Downeaster trains would be stored each night, filled the main hearing room at Maine Street Station.

So many people turned out that town officials had to open up two adjacent rooms, equipped with television sets, so that no one would be excluded.

Board members of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority listened to a presentation from their consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff, before opening up the meeting to public comments.

Though the consultant is recommending that the $4 million layover facility be built near Bouchard Drive — a site called Brunswick West — board members did not rule out two other sites, near the Brunswick Industrial Park and near Cook’s Corner in East Brunswick.

Members said they could make a final decision on Monday. They are scheduled to meet at 1 p.m. in Room 214 of the Abromson Community Education Center on the Portland campus of the University of Southern Maine.

“We have visited all of the sites and we are ready to take the next step,” said Martin Eisenstein, chairman of the authority’s board.

Jan Okolowicz, the consultant who is the project manager, took more than an hour to describe why the Brunswick West site is the most suitable location.

It would cost less to develop and is closer to Brunswick’s passenger train station than the others, Okolowicz said.

Okolowicz said the 650-foot-long layover facility would be large enough for three Downeaster trains.

All of the equipment would be stored indoors at night. Repairs and painting would not be done in Brunswick.

“We kind of think of this as a storage, rather than a maintenance, facility,” he said.

Okolowicz said the facility, with properly placed buffers, would have little or no impact on residents.

But Bouchard Drive residents said noise, vibrations and fumes from trains would be bad for their neighborhood, a quiet, tree-lined street off the town’s major thoroughfares.

Patrick Real said there are more than 100 homes in the neighborhood. He described several of the comments in Parsons Brinckerhoff’s report as “fanciful.”

“This site that they have chosen will have the greatest impact on the greatest number of residents,” Real said.

Real presented a video that was created by his neighbors. A woman’s voice is heard as a photo of Bath Iron Works’ Washington Street facility appears on the screen.

She says the train layover facility will be as large as BIW’s manufacturing facility, which looms over Washington Street.

Some who spoke said they are looking forward to Downeaster service, which is expected to start in Brunswick in late 2012.

“The sound of these trains will represent economic development for our town,” said Town Councilor Margo Knight.

Patricia Quinn, the authority’s executive director, presented cost estimates that show the Brunswick West location would be less expensive to develop.

Brunswick West would cost $4.9 million, compared with $6.1 million for the Industrial Park site and $6.8 million for Brunswick East, Quinn said.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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