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Business and Economy

Maine Rail Project to Replace Ties to Begin in Fall

PORTLAND, Maine - Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority Executive Director Patricia Quinn says another tie replacement project will begin later this year.

But Quinn told Maine legislators this week that the project won't cause nearly as much disruption as a tie replacement project last year. That went on for months, forced late and canceled trains and depressed ridership.

Quinn says Pan Am Railways, which will do the work, will be better prepared. "It's in the fall, not in the spring.  So the crews will be broken in, the equipment will be broken in," Quinn says. "And we've also had several meetings with Pam Am and required certification that the equipment be in good shape before we start.  So it should be much less painful."

Quinn told legislators that ridership is "soft, but rebounding" this year. And she says rising revenue and shrinking expenses should mean Downeaster passenger trains will need $1 million less in state subsidy than was projected for this fiscal year.