TRAINRIDERS NORTHEAST Executive Director George O'Keefe, left, with chairman and co-founder Wayne E. Davis.

TRAINRIDERS NORTHEAST Executive Director George O’Keefe, left, with chairman and co-founder Wayne E. Davis.


Rail advocacy group TrainRiders Northeast has hired George O’Keefe, Jr., of Winthrop as its first ever executive director

O’Keefe is a Master’s Degree candidate in the Policy, Planning, and Management Program, with a concentration in Organizational Leadership and Management, at the Muskie School of Public Service.

O’Keefe will work alongside TrainRiders’ longtime chairman and co-founder Wayne E. Davis to help the organization expand its mission of bringing modern and efficient passenger rail service to the Northeast.

“A balanced transportation system is what we need in order to provide for sustainable economic opportunities that will last for generations.” said O’Keefe.

A member of Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineer Battalion who was deployed twice in Afghanistan, O’Keefe got his start in the transportation policy field while working as a freelance writer for He has since helped build partnerships between NNEPRA and a variety of community groups that focus on veterans and youth.

“ We’ve been waiting a long time for the right person to come along to help us expand our original goals set out in 1989,” said Davis. “We look to exciting times as we move along to our next accomplishments.”

In 1991, TrainRiders, through its political action committee, RailVision, spearheaded the passage of Maine’s Passenger Rail Service Act, the first citizen initiated bill ever approved by the Maine Legislature, leading to the creation of Amtrak’s Downeaster passenger rail service.

In 1995, TrainRiders also worked with MDOT and the Maine Legislature to create the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority to manage the then-proposed passenger train service. The Downeaster passenger rail service now runs between Brunswick and Boston.

TrainRiders’ members also volunteer thousands of hours every year as hosts at stations along the Downeaster route and on board the trains to provide assistance to rail travelers, Amtrak conductors and NNEPRA.

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