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Maine Eastern Railroad begins its 9th season

May 18, 2012

Maine Eastern Railroad begins its 9th season. For the ninth consecutive season, Maine Eastern Railroad will be offering passenger excursion service beginning Saturday May 26.    The company, which is owned by the Morristown & Erie Railway in New Jersey, is a full time, year-round freight rail operation that runs on the state-owned tracks known as the Rockland branch of the former Maine Central Railroad.              The 57-mile short line railroad has become a popular attraction for out-of-state tourists and dedicated rail fans, as well as for Maine residents who enjoy the colorful character of the restored, full-sized, standard gauge vintage equipment, some of which is more than 60 years old.                  

Operating between Brunswick and Rockland, the train traverses 4 counties and a dozen individual towns and cities along the Maine coast. Round trip service will begin May 26, when the Alewives Special will make a special stop in both directions at Damariscotta Mills to deliver passengers to the annual Fish Ladder Restoration Festival during the Memorial Day weekend. And like last year, the railroad will make special stops in Newcastle for three annual events: the Damariscotta Pirate Rendezvous on June 23; then the Pemaquid Oyster Festival on September 30; and the Great Pumpkin Festival and Regatta on October 6 and 7.  These occasional, special stops in Newcastle and Damariscotta Mills, are planned specifically for the unique events on those weekends, while regular service for the rest of the season will be the usual destination and starting points of Rockland, Wiscasset, Bath and Brunswick. Maine Eastern Railroad works to promote the towns on each end of the line, and offers information on their website about a variety of events that can be experienced by rail, including the Brunswick Outdoor Arts festival on August 18; and the annual Taste of Brunswick food festival on September 15. The railroad will also make an additional special stop in Brunswick on August 25, directly across the road from the main entrance to the Brunswick Executive Airport, (formerly Brunswick Naval Air Station), during the Great State of Maine Airshow and Aviation Expo. On the other end of the line, the historic waterfront town of Rockland offers a great deal of opportunity to enjoy restaurants, boutiques, museums and galleries, not to mention major events including the North Atlantic Blues Festival on the weekend of July 14; the Maine Lobster Festival August 1-5; and the Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors Show August 10 and 11. The railroad also offers a number of excursion packages in Rockland, including Rail & Sail, and Rail & Air programs; a Rail & Spa package; overnight packages and museum packages. All four of Maine Eastern stations in Brunswick, Bath, Wiscasset and Rockland offer easy walking access to downtown attractions and amenities for those travelling on day trips, or staying over for a night or two. The 2012 Maine Eastern schedule will offer Saturday service beginning May 26; followed by four-day service, Wednesday through Saturday beginning June 20, all with two round trips per day.  Beginning September 12, the railroad will run its Fall Foliage trips 5 days per week, with two round trips Wednesday through Saturday, and one round trip on Sunday. There will be no train service on July 4. A spokesman for the railroad said that the season was already shaping up with reservations, adding that the railroad has built a formula for success by allowing passengers flexibility in travel arrangements and plenty of opportunity to enhance their experience by including other components in their travel options. In addition to the uniformed crew, the passenger excursion service is staffed with volunteer ambassadors who provide local information and support during the daily trips.  For more information click www.maineeasternrailroad.com; or follow Maine Eastern Railroad at twitter.com/maineeastern; or facebook.com/mainesrailroad.  For reservations, call 207.596.6725.

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