Monday, November 10, 2014

Kennebunk steals Brunswick’s Downeaster Glory Story

The old Boston & Maine Railroad station, located on Depot Street in Kennebunk, will likely become the seventh stop in Maine for the Amtrak Downeaster. The building, which still maintains a platform, is owned and occupied by Dietz Associates. The town is working to purchase a parcel almost directly across the street at 11 Depot St. to be used as a parking lot. (Alex Acquisto photo)

An item came across our desk this morning from the widely read Kennebunk Post.  You can read the full article here:

It has to do with the Downeaster adding a stop in Kennebunk.  Prominent in the article is Matt Eddy, former Economic Development Director here in Brunswick, who now holds the same position in Kennebunk.  A presumably more current view of the Kennebunk site is shown in this screen capture, which we suspect may be another product of a William Lord piloted drone.


What we found most interesting in the reference article are these words:

Amtrak has not specified how many trains will stop in Kennebunk, Eddy said. “Their (Amtrak’s) capacity will increase when the storage area is improved in Brunswick. If that were to happen there would be a capacity to either add more cars or add more runs.”

The Downeaster “does a lot of surveys on where people are going on the train,” Tibbetts said. “When they’re traveling up from Boston or New Hampshire, where are they going? Their number one destination is Portland. Their number two destination is the Kennebunks.”

“People are going to Portland, renting a car and coming down here, or they’re getting off in Wells and taking a bus or taxi and they’re going over to the Kennebunks,” Tibbetts said.

For those readers who like a little ‘friendly competition’ between neighboring towns, this passage should find interest:

Selectman Dick Morin also spoke in favor of the proposal: “We’ve invested immense time and energy in getting our downtown cooking, this is one more way to bring people to our downtown and I would put money on, when we go live, that we will start to put pressure on Saco and Wells to figure out how they’re going to stay open, because I think the train is going to want to just buzz right by and stop here. I don’t think we have anything but good things to come of this.”

Let the above soak in.  Think about things; like the recent report of Enterprise car rental giving up their staffing at Maine Street Station.

These thoughts come to mind for us.  First, how can Portland and Kennebunk be such dominant destinations, when all we hear locally is how critical Freeport and Brunswick are to Downeaster success and appeal?

Second, considering the distances and ridership involved, why the hell are full train sets even operating over the ‘Portland North’ extension?  And why is another $30 million in capital expense being planned to expand this extension?

Said another way, why would anyone rent a car in Brunswick to drive to Portland or Kennebunk?


As silly as that question may sound, we think it captures the larger silliness of the situation overall.  Though we’re confident Brunswick residents are happy to do whatever they can to improve the Kennebunks economic outlook.

No comments:

Post a Comment