Luxurious Passenger Rail Service Has Returned to Mid-Coast Maine

BRUNSWICK, Maine, July 28 /PRNewswire/ — Transporting passengers to a bygone era of luxury and worry-free travel, Maine Eastern Railroad is the summer’s newest attraction on Maine’s celebrated scenic coastline.

Earlier this month, Maine Eastern Railroad, owned by the New Jersey-based Morristown & Erie Railway (M & E), kicked off its first full season. The train will provide roundtrip passenger service Thursdays through Sundays from Brunswick to Rockland with stops in the coastal communities of Bath and Wiscasset now through Labor Day weekend. Weekend transportation will continue through Maine’s famed foliage season with the train scheduled to run through October 31.

M & E’s first passenger rail service came to Maine in the summer of 2004 at the request of Governor John Baldacci, who hoped that the company could provide passenger service to support the hugely popular Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland using their already existing freight line between Brunswick and Rockland, set some 55 miles apart.

As a result, M & E initiated Maine Eastern Railroad, running trips during the festival in August. The train’s arrival marked the first time in decades a major passenger train has serviced Maine north of Portland. 2005 marks the railroad’s first full season, and increased marketing efforts and an expanded schedule are expected to draw new attention to the train.

“An entire generation has missed out on this experience,” said Jonathan Shute, Maine Eastern’s general manager. “This is relaxing, hassle-free travel that gives families the chance to experience first-hand what was once America’s most fashionable, functional and fun way to travel.”

The Maine Eastern passenger fleet is comprised of restored streamlined stainless steel railcars from the Art Deco era of the 1940s and 1950s and recently fully rebuilt to today’s standards of safety and comfort. From the comfort of climate-controlled coaches, passengers will have a front row seat to some of Maine’s most breathtaking seascapes.

Operating from the Cedar Street stop in Brunswick, Maine Eastern meanders along the craggy coast for two hours, stopping in Bath and Wiscasset before arriving at Rockland’s original train station, just two blocks from the Farnsworth Art Museum and the legendary waterfront. Along the way, passengers will spot charming seaside villages, sailboats tacking in the breeze, swooping gulls soaring overhead, perhaps a meandering moose, and during the fall, trees that glow with a kaleidoscope of color.

The train gives Maine’s visitors an easier, more luxurious way to travel up the state’s storied coast and is another exclusive service that makes Maine unique as a destination.

With a focus on being family-friendly, Maine Eastern is striving to keep tickets affordable. A ticket from Brunswick to Rockland and back is $30 per person, or $75 for a family package that includes two adults and two children. There are also discounts for seniors and children, as well as shorter trips with reduced fairs for those who wish to take a quick daytime jaunt up or down the coast.

State transportation officials and Maine Eastern representatives are optimistic that one day, rail service will run from Boston to Rockland, making Maine even more accessible. Currently, the Amtrak Downeaster runs from Boston to Portland and the hope is that rail service will eventually be extended northward to a planned new station in Brunswick.

For more information about Maine Eastern Railroad or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.maineeasternrailroad.com/. To learn more about travel in Maine, log on to the Maine Office of Tourism’s Web site at http://www.visitmaine.com/.

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