JIM RUSSELL, special projects manager for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, hangs a banner at Brunswick Station on Wednesday to announce the impending arrival of Amtrak’s Downeaster. Russell next was headed to Freeport to install a similar banner.

JIM RUSSELL, special projects manager for the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, hangs a banner at Brunswick Station on Wednesday to announce the impending arrival of Amtrak’s Downeaster. Russell next was headed to Freeport to install a similar banner.

BRUNSWICK

The platforms are ready, the banners are hung. Now, everybody’s just waiting for the train to come.

With Amtrak’s Downeaster passenger train scheduled to begin service to Brunswick and Freeport on Nov. 1, local riders and retailers are ready.

“Ticket sales start Oct. 1, so I’m sure plenty of tickets will have been sold by then,” said Tracy Coughlin, marketing director for the Brunswick Downtown Association.

No official projections have been done regarding the expected retail impact Downeaster riders will have upon Maine Street’s shops and cafés. But Coughlin said that all of the shop owners she’s talked to are “very excited” about the train’s potential for their businesses.

Service at first will be limited to two daily round trips between Brunswick and Boston. Fares for the round trip have not yet been announced; how- ever, one-way tickets will cost about $30 for adults.

The first is scheduled to leave Brunswick at 7:05 a.m. and arrive at Boston’s North Station at 10:30 a.m. on weekdays, with the last return trip leaving North Station at 5 p.m. and gliding into Brunswick at 8:25 p.m.

Not that there aren’t still wrinkles to be smoothed out, however.

In Freeport, the town continues to negotiate with a private landowner for a pedestrian right of way between public parking on Depot Street and the adjacent passenger loading platform. If no agreement is reached before a Sept. 18 public hearing, the town council likely will vote to take the small parcel by eminent domain.

In Brunswick, the issue of an overnight layover facility between Standwood Street and Church Road — which would shelter trains, personnel and equipment indoors — remains in financial and design limbo, with neighboring property owners concerned about noise, fumes and traffic.

But the current stage of a process that’s taken more than five years to plan and two years to execute finally is almost done. For the first time in decades, passengers can ride the rails out of Brunswick and Freeport.

It reminds Ed Bonney of his college days in the 1950s.

“A few of my friends and I went to college in Boston and we would get home any way we could on weekends,” said Bonney, chairman of Freeport’s Train Station Committee.

“But on Sunday afternoons, there we were, all standing back at the Freeport station and waiting to catch the Maine Central Railroad to Union Station in Portland, and then the Boston & Maine Railroad back to school,” he said.

Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority ridership estimates project 36,500 new riders annually after the first full year of expanded service. According to agency director Patricia Quinn, the Downeaster carried 528,292 people in during its 2011-12 fiscal year — 11 percent more than the previous year and more than any other period in its 10-year history.

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