The Amtrak Downeaster train pulls into Portland on Saturday last October. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer Buy this Photo

Beginning May 3, the Amtrak Downeaster will once again offer five daily round trips between Brunswick and Boston, restoring the service to pre-pandemic levels.

The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority announced the change Wednesday.

The rail authority noted that the expanded schedule will include a new southbound train that will depart Brunswick mid-morning and a new northbound train that will depart Boston mid-afternoon, both daily.

“Seasonal service will resume to Old Orchard Beach, and the last northbound train out of Boston each night will operate on a flexible schedule to better serve evening sports and events,” according to the announcement.

The rail service suspended operations last spring to align with Gov. Janet Mills’ executive “Stay Safer at Home” order. Since July 2020, the Downeaster has been offering four roundtrips.

According to the Rail Authority’s Executive Director Patricia Quinn, in March 2020, the Downeaster transported 19% of the ridership compared to March of 2019. Month to date in April, the train is at about 26% of April 2019 riders.

This translates to an average of just under 400 passengers per day, whereas in April of 2019 the train was closer to 1,500 passengers a day.

According to a report from the Portland Press Herald in early April, Downeaster officials have said that expansion to Rockland is included in Amtrak’s growth plan. 

Comments are not available on this story.