Getting There is Half the Fun!
The total trip takes about two and a half hours. Business travelers will be happy to know every Downeaster train has free wireless Internet. On a nice, clear day, the ride is scenic. Just after leaving Portland, the train runs through Old Orchard Beach, Maine, where travelers get a clear view of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, Old Orchard Beach Pier, and the amusement park. Further along the tracks, the train runs through the small, quaint town of Durham, New Hampshire, and passes through the University of New Hampshire Campus, providing a broad glimpse of the University's dormitories, academic buildings, and athletic fields. The majority of the route between Exeter, New Hampshire, and Woburn, Massachusetts, follows along the Merrimack River.
The trip ends at Boston's North Station, housed in the same building as the TD Garden. The TD Garden is the home of the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and various concerts, special events and conventions. From North Station, one can walk to Boston's historic North End neighborhood, or travel further into the city by connecting to the subway station just across the street.
There are a variety of available discounts. If you plan to just take a day trip, fares run as low as $39, provided one purchases at least three days in advance and returns the same day. Up to two children can ride free on Sundays with the purchase of a full priced adult fare. Special discounts are also offered for college students, senior citizens and AAA members.
Many Downeaster trains are staffed by a group of volunteers called "Train Hosts." With the goal of helping passengers make the most of their train trip, Train Hosts provide information and resources to passengers about the various Downeaster destinations and can be helpful if one is looking for recommendations on sites to visit or help with coordinating local transportation for their destination.
A variety of food and beverages are available for purchase in the snack car including Captain Eli's sodas and Amato's sandwiches--both Portland-based companies. For breakfast, muffins, pastries, bagels, cereal, and other common items are available. Light meal offerings for lunch and dinner include hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, clam chowder, and other similar items. Snacks offered include chips, cookies, pretzels, and popcorn. Beverages such as coffee, tea, juice, beer, wine, and liquor are also available in the snack car. Prices range from $1 to $6 for food items and from $1 to $5 for beverages.