The Portland Downeaster Station was the original terminus of the line when it debuted on December 14, 2001. When the Downeaster was extended to Freeport and Brunswick on November 1, 2012 the station's location requires trains to preform a back-up move into the station since the switch off the main line into it isn't a wye yet (that will cause a change-in direction change but would save 15 minutes of travel time) but simply connects only to the Boston-bound track. Across from the station platform are also 3 siding tracks used for train layovers and overnights. This is also were the Downeaster Trainsets are normally serviced, not in Boston.
The station is located in the Southern Portland suburbs, in suburbia not anywhere near downtown, although there is local bus service into town. The station is shared with Concord Coach Lines, a local bus company that operates service to Boston and farther downeast into Maine (these departures can provide, and some are scheduled too provide thruway connections). Concord is definitely trying to be a step above Greyhound, other than Boston South Station all of its stops are separate, generally in the suburbs (like Portland's) to provide ample parking, unlike Greyhound's that are generally closer to Maine's Downtown. Interestingly, unlike on the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak fairs are cheaper if not the same as Concord's.
The station amenities consist of a quite large parking lot and a decent sized combined waiting area for bus and rail passengers, along with ticket counters for both services. The bus bays are on the side of the building opposite the main parking lot entrance. The Amtrak platforms require a short-walk through an enclosed at ground level passageway, that's only opened to ticketed passengers when their train is called (a rail fan's nightmare). The platform is short and can accommodate two cars in its high-level portion towards its mid-section with ramps down at either end to low-level portions. The ramp down to track level at the front end of the platform is open to passengers because this is where the Cabbage stops (that leads all Boston-bound trips in push mode with the P42 at the opposite end of the train) and passengers carrying bikes (their only handled to Boston, here and Brunswick) pass them up to a conductor. The middle of the platform has a modern blue wavy canopy structure with white supports.
Photos 1-20 taken on 23 August, 2009; 21-30 on 10 August, 2013; 31-40: 3 August, 2014
Last Updated: 17 August, 2013