Catching the Downeaster to Boston is as easy as going to one of the four Amtrak stations in southern Maine. The Downeaster's northern terminus is Portland, the largest city in Maine. With an active population of outdoor enthusiasts, recreational opportunities abound. In addition, there are many museums, restaurants, historic sites and cultural opportunities to be found. The next stop to the south is historic Old Orchard Beach. This resort town boasts a famous pier, amusements, rides, beautiful sand beaches and many shops and restaurants to choose from. Just a bit further south is the Saco station, which is within walking distance from the many shops and restaurants of downtown Saco. The last stop in Maine is the Wells station. More of a commuter station than the other three, the Wells station has easy access to I-95 and is just minutes from the beach.
While getting up and moving around is one of the privileges of train travel, the comfortable reclining seats do provide ample leg room, fold-down trays, reading lights overhead and convenient luggage racks. Coach class comes complete with plenty of outlets for charging your laptop computer or other electronic devices, and free wireless Internet access is available throughout the train. In addition, the on-board restrooms are large and clean. For the business traveler seeking a bit more luxury, an additional fee provides extra seating room, free newspapers and one complimentary nonalcoholic beverage. The hungry train passenger need only head to a table in the on-board Downeaster Café, usually found at the end of the train. Featuring sandwiches and light meals, the Café also includes beverage choices such as Maine-brewed Shipyard beer, Starbucks coffee, wine and other nonalcoholic beverages.
One-way adult tickets between Maine and Boston run from $19 to $24, depending on your departure station. You may purchase your tickets at one of the station's Quick-Trak ticket machines, from an Amtrak agent (Portland and Boston only) or from your local travel agent. You may even purchase your ticket from an on-board conductor, but be prepared to pay up to $9 extra for the privilege. Multiple-pass options also are available, from monthly commuter passes to a College 6Tix pass, which offers six one-way tickets at a reduced rate for students. Special rates such as "Kids Ride Free Sundays," medical travel discounts or group fares may be in effect as well; please check with Amtrak to confirm availability.
Article Written By K.M. Chapman
Based in California and Maine, K.M. Chapman is a freelance writer, photographer, and educator. She is a former weekly columnist, and has been published in newspapers, in-house publications and online. She is an intensely curious former science teacher and a cohort of the Maine Governor's Academy for Science and Mathematics Educational Leadership. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communication studies.