FREEPORT – With a burst of song and dance, the Amtrak Downeaster pulled into Freeport for the first time Thursday.

The ceremonial first train from Boston pulled into town at approximately 12:45 p.m. and the crowd of residents waiting to greet the train were treated to a burst of music. A troupe of dancers wearing bright red sweatshirts emblazoned with “Boston” on the front and the Downeaster logo on the back circulated through the crowd, passing out T-shirts and some free passes for future rides on the train.

A large group of dignitaries, including Sen. Olympia Snowe and U.S. Senate candidate Angus King, rode the train from Boston. Freeport Town Council Chairman Jim Cassida was among the passengers on the first train, and he spoke to welcome Amtrak to Freeport.

Cassida said he thought that having the train from Boston come through town would be a very positive thing for Freeport.

“We’re hopeful that, starting tomorrow, a lot of people are going to make that trip (from Boston to Freeport),” he said.

Cassida also added that he felt that Freeport residents would use the service instead of driving to Boston. “I hope everybody in Freeport takes advantage of the Downeaster,” he said.

The arrival of the Downeaster in Freeport is the culmination of a two-year project that required the rehabilitation of about 27 miles of track between Portland and Brunswick. New stations at both Freeport and Brunswick needed to be constructed to accommodate the train and passengers.

Snowe said she was on the initial ride from Boston when the Downeaster began running 11 years ago. She said she believed that Freeport will see great benefits from having the train in town.

“This milestone is extraordinary for Freeport,” Snowe said. “It’s truly an investment that is going to produce over and over again.”

The train comes into the station.
Former Gov. Angus King, a candidate for U.S. Senate, was among the dignitaries along for the first ride.
A dance troupe helped welcome the train to Freeport.

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