The Downeaster is a 141-mile (227 km) regional passenger train service, managed by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA), and operated by Amtrak. The train runs from North Station in Boston, Massachusetts, to the Portland Transportation Center in Portland, Maine before continuing on to Brunswick Maine Street Station in Brunswick, Maine. The train operates five daily round trips between Portland and Boston and two daily round trips between Boston and Brunswick.
The Downeaster runs north out of North Station towards the historic mill towns of Lawrence and Haverhill, Massachusetts and crosses the Merrimack River before entering New Hampshire. It travels inland through the New Hampshire towns of Exeter, Durham and Dover, and north of Great Bay, before crossing the Salmon Falls River into Maine. From there it travels through the coastal town of Wells and through the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. The rail line takes the train back inland through Biddeford and Saco across the Saco River, before heading to the coastal town of Old Orchard Beach. The train station is located one block from the ocean in Old Orchard Beach. From here it continues through the expansive Scarborough Marsh, north to Portland. The train remains inland and runs through the town of Freeport, home to L.L. Bean, before terminating in Brunswick Maine.
The Downeaster operates multiple trains daily, seven days a week, every day of the year. It operates on both a weekday, and weekend/holiday schedule, and some stops and connections are seasonal, for the current schedule click here.
Southbound train numbers are 680, 690, 682, 692, 684, 694, 686, 696, 688, and 698. The northbound train numbers are 681, 691, 683, 693, 685, 695, 687, 697, 689, and 699.
The Downeaster offers “Everyday Discounts [formerly dead link]” such as half price tickets for Seniors and Children, and discounted fares to Medical patients and Disabled riders, AAA Members, US Military Personnel, and Students.
The train also offers many other “Specials & Promotions [formerly dead link]” throughout the year.
Stations, stops and connections
- 1 Brunswick (Maine)
- 2 Freeport (Maine)
- 3 Portland (Maine)
- 4 Old Orchard Beach (Maine) (seasonal)
- 5 Saco (Maine)
- 6 Wells (Maine)
- 7 Dover (New Hampshire)
- 8 Durham (New Hampshire)
- 9 Exeter (New Hampshire)
- 10 Haverhill (Massachusetts)
- 11 Woburn (Massachusetts)
- 12 Boston (Massachusetts)
Coach (economy) is the most affordable class of travel and is offered on all trains. Seating is "Reserved Coach" so a ticket guarantees you a seat. The cars, call "Amfleets", carry approximately forty to sixty passengers per car, arranged in pairs either side of the aisle. Seats can be arranged in facing sets of four, but in almost all cases you will find that seats will all face the direction of travel. Luggage racks and spaces for larger items are provided, along with toilets either at the end of the coach.
An Amtrak coach class seat size is roughly comparable with a business class airline seat: there is ample leg room, a reclining seat back and fixed armrests on the outside of each pair of seats. If there is a seat in front of you, a fold-down table will be available. All seats have a reading light and a 120 V outlet.
Business class seating is limited on all trains, as Business class is in the other half of the Cafe Car. Seats are arranged in pairs to one side of the aisle, and singly on the other side of the aisle (called '2+1 seating'). There is more room than coach class. Seats include armrest and cup holders as well as an at-seat attendant service with complimentary refreshments and a newspaper. All seats have a reading light and a 120 V outlet.
The Downeaster has a café car that offers snacks, light meals, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages. This includes local foods and beers from a local brewery.
Amtrak Connect (Amtrak's wireless internet service) is available on all trains at no additional cost.