FREEPORT — The Amtrak Downeaster clanged its way into town Monday morning for a celebration marking completion of a passenger platform to serve the train when it starts providing service north of Portland in the fall.

The Downeaster, which delivered several federal, state and local dignitaries to the event, is scheduled to extend service north of Portland to Freeport and Brunswick in November.

The restoration of passenger service to Freeport, which ended in 1959, is expected to promote business, increase tourism, save energy and reduce traffic on Maine highways and local roads.

“Freeport is now ready for the arrival of the Downeaster this fall,” said Ed Bonney, chairman of the Freeport Train Committee, which has been working to bring Amtrak service to town for 12 years.

Bonney, a retiree who has traveled cross-country by train, said the Downeaster’s expansion is part of a larger effort to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint and “wean ourselves off of our cars.”

The Downeaster has carried more than 4 million riders since it started providing passenger service between Portland and Boston in 2001, said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which manages the Downeaster.

The train now makes five round-trips daily and serves more than 500,000 passengers annually, a number that’s expected to increase by 36,500 after the first full year of service to Brunswick, said Rob Kulat, spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration.

The new Downeaster service will start with three round-trips daily between Portland and Brunswick, Quinn said. Trips will be added in the future if necessary.

Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph Szabo told the crowd that the expansion project is on time and on budget, financed by a $38.3 million federal economic recovery grant from 2010 that’s being used to upgrade 28 miles of rail line for passenger service.

The anticipation of expanded service has already attracted millions of dollars in economic development near Freeport and Brunswick, said David Bernhardt, commissioner of the Maine Department of Transportation.

When expanded service starts in November, Freeport officials hope to see less traffic on roads in the village, more shoppers at L.L. Bean and other stores, new businesses opening and existing businesses expanding, said Town Manager Dale Olmstead.

In the meantime, workers must finish replacing 22,000 railroad ties along tracks owned primarily by Pan Am Railways, Quinn said.

They also must complete upgrades on the last six of 30 highway crossings and fine-tune the overall railroad signal system.

The rail authority is seeking a federal transportation grant and bids from contractors for a layover and maintenance facility in Brunswick that’s expected to cost at least $5 million, Quinn said.

A similar celebration was held later Monday morning at the new passenger platform in Brunswick.

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at: [email protected]