Over two and a half years since the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority began expanding Amtrak's Downeaster route from Portland to Brunswick, the tracks will finally reach the College this November.
In an email to the Bowdoin Orient, onsite project manager Mike Lyne wrote that he is confident that construction of the platforms in Freeport and Brunswick are not far from completion.
The expansion of the Downeaster will connect Brunswick with Portland and Boston on one train line.
The rail authority began construction in Freeport and Brunswick in August 2010, but the recent completion of Brunswick Station remains the most visible sign of progress.
JHR Development of Maine, who owns the real estate for Brunswick Station, has worked with the Brunswick Downtown Association to construct a building around the train platform that appeals to both tourists and the Brunswick community.
Lyne wrote that he was excited for the opportunities that the train and Brunswick Station will bring to local businesses.
"Not unlike hotels that shoot for four stars because of the amenities they can offer, a community stands to rate a bit higher to those looking for homes, looking to travel or looking to start a new business" if it sports a train station, wrote Lyne in an email to the Orient.
"It could be a tremendous psychological boost for local, small business in otherwise difficult times," Lyne added.
Brunswick resident and Bowdoin Senior Housekeeper Steve Lavoie agrees that the new rail and Brunswick Station will be great assets to the community.
"As the older places are shut down, it's time to get more business back where we need it," Lavoie said.
The Brunswick Station houses restaurants Scarlet Begonias and Byrne's Irish Pub, the offices of Park Row Interiors, OA Center for Orthopedics, a walk-in clinic provided by Mid Coast Hospital, and the Brunswick Visitor's Center.
Mindful of the College nearby, JHR also opened The Inn at Brunswick Station and The Bowdoin College Store as continuations of the complex.
Currently, Concord Coach Lines provides buses from the Visitor's Center to Portland and Boston. Lyne said the Amtrak train will allow for more versatile traveling, but also foresees bus service continuing through Brunswick.
"If anything, it is my understanding that the buses and the train will cooperate in ticketing efforts to give the market as many alternatives to driving a car as possible," he said. "You might be able to use the same ticket on both the bus and the train."
Todd Herrmann '85 explained the benefits of the Downeaster line in Brunswick by reflecting on his own experiences at Bowdoin.
"When students wanted to go to Boston they were usually going to a bulletin board...and posting a ride. It was a very active ride board," Herrmann said. Nonetheless, it was not a straight shot, and he recalls hitchhiking down the highway to his home in Gloucester.
"To think that you could go right from the station all the way down with Wi-Fi, and only three or four stops along the way really makes it very versatile," he added.
Some current Bowdoin students who live near Boston, such as Meaghan Dwan '15, currently prefer to have their parents pick them up from campus than take the bus, citing convenience and comfort levels.
Nonetheless, Dwan said, "It will be a lot easier to take the Amtrak."
Editors' note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Brunswick would be connected to New York on the new line. Additionally, the name of the Amtrack line was misspelled "Downeastern"; it is in fact "Downeaster." The Orient regrets these errors.