Passenger train service could return to Rockland if Amtrak’s plan for future growth comes to fruition.

The national rail service issued its “vision” for the next 15 years on Wednesday, following the release of President Biden’s plan for investing in the country’s infrastructure.

“With a growing and diverse population, a global climate crisis and longer traffic jams, America needs a rail network that offers frequent, reliable, sustainable and equitable train service. Amtrak has the vision and expertise to deliver it. Better rail service means cleaner air, less traffic and happier people,” the plan states.

“Population growth and future U.S. transportation needs support the development of corridor routes that could efficiently serve 160 additional diverse communities. Amtrak has met with stakeholders across the U.S. – state officials, mayors, businesses and others – to identify their local needs and expectations.

“Our vision incorporates this input and we will work in partnership with stakeholders to grow and improve passenger rail. Our vision builds upon Amtrak’s national network of long‐distance trains, integrating new and improved corridors into our existing system.”

As of Thursday, Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell said he had not heard anything directly from Amtrak.

Regular passenger train service to Rockland ended in April 1959. The train station is where the Trackside Station restaurant is located at the intersection of Union and Pleasant streets. The station was built in 1917-18.

Seasonal excursion passenger service between Rockland and Brunswick began in July 2004, stopping that first year adjacent to Sandy Beach. In 2005, passengers were dropped off outside the train station on Union Street. In 2006, the station building was renovated and a restaurant was added.

That service ended when the state ended its contract with Maine Eastern Railroad and awarded a contract to Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

Amtrak’s Downeaster began service between Portland and Boston in 2001, extending it to Brunswick in 2012.


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