Amtrak will begin stopping in Kennebunk next summer or in 2016, restoring passenger train service to the town for the first time in half a century.

The train will stop at the old Boston & Maine Railroad station on Depot Street. Located just south of downtown, it hadn’t been used as a train station since B&M stopped running between Boston and Portland on Jan. 3, 1965.

The rail authority that operates the Downeaster service has agreed to add the new seasonal stop to its schedule. Like the stop at Old Orchard Beach, it will be used from April through October.

Town officials are negotiating with the station’s current owner to lease a 100-square-foot area of the building, now used as an office. The town also plans to purchase a parcel across the street from the station for an expanded parking area, and to secure land from an adjacent property owner for short-term parking and space for a trolley to turn around.

Executive Director Patricia Quinn said the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is working with the Maine Department of Transportation to secure funding to install a temporary platform so the service could possibly begin next summer.

The infrastructure improvements, including construction of a permanent platform, will cost about $1.1 million, with the town paying $300,000 and the state providing $800,000, said Mathew Eddy, the town’s economic development director. Because the state won’t provide its share until 2016, construction probably won’t begin until then, he said.


The station is owned by Dietz Associates, which has its office there. However, the property has a deed restriction that requires the owner to allow for a 100-square-foot section to be used as a train station if service ever returned to Kennebunk. Eddy said there is enough room for a ticketing machine and possibly a vending machine.

A Downeaster stop will boost the town’s efforts to showcase its downtown to tourists who might otherwise bypass it for Kennebunkport, Ogunquit or Portland, said Blake Baldwin, chairman of the town’s Economic Development Committee.

“We are hoping to leverage traffic from the Downeaster to impress on people that Kennebunk is more than just a bump in the road,” Baldwin said.

He said the town’s decision to provide financial support for a regional trolley service was key to the rail authority’s decision to bring the train service to Kennebunk. He hopes the train service will be prove popular enough to eventually allow for year-round service.

Stopping in Kennebunk will add a few minutes to the trip, Quinn said, but the service will benefit from increased ticket sales. The Downeaster makes five daily round trips between Boston and Portland, and two daily round trips between Brunswick and Boston.

The town plans to add 55 parking spaces based on ridership projections, Eddy said.

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