Amtrak Downeaster arrives at the station on March 8 in Freeport. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

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The Bangor area is emerging as a Maine rail transportation hub like no other. On the freight side, the area hosts two Class I (large) railroads — Canadian Pacific and CSX — with reach across North America to Canada, Mexico and Atlantic and Pacific ports, including our own Searsport. Imagine the economic opportunities to create good paying jobs in Bangor and the surrounding region!  

On the passenger side, Bangor has an opportunity to tap into the economic prosperity that the Downeaster passenger rail service has brought to York and Cumberland counties in the past 20 years. At the direction of our elected officials in the Maine Legislature, the Maine Department of Transportation has begun initial studies for the extension of passenger rail from Brunswick, through Augusta and Waterville, to Bangor. Bangor is well situated to be the destination of passenger rail expansion. Bangor is the hub of the second largest regional economy in Maine.  

Greater Bangor has two universities — the University of Maine and Husson. Bangor is the gateway to northern Maine, Acadia and the Bold Coast. Downtown Bangor is the hub of the Community Connector bus network that reaches all parts of the city and extends to Brewer, Hampden, Veazie, Orono and Old Town.

A downtown Bangor rail station serving an expanded Downeaster would extend the reach of that car-free connection to Augusta, Portland, Boston and beyond. Why should southern Maine reap all the benefits of passenger rail service? Bring the Downeaster Down East!

Edward Hanscom