Brunswick Layover Facility

Brunswick Layover Facility

 NNEPRA plans to construct a Downeaster passenger train layover facility at the site of the Brunswick rail yard between Stanwood Street and Church Road in Brunswick  to maximize the utility and efficiency of expanded Downeaster service.  Consigli Construction Company is the design/build contractor for the facility.  A construction scheduled has not yet been finalized.

Because the current train layover facility is located in Portland, and because the host railroad agreement limits the number of daily trips between Portland and Brunswick to six, Downeaster trains must make two dead-head moves each day between Portland and Brunswick just to position the equipment for the revenue runs between Brunswick and Boston.  These deadhead trains travel through 26,000 grade crossings, and burn more than 45,000 gallons of fuel annually, with no passengers on board.  Once the facility is built in Brunswick, these deadhead moves will be eliminated and replaced with revenue runs instead.  This provides more travel options for the public, and creates more riders and revenue to offset costs.

 In addition, the added crew time required to make the deadhead moves adds nearly $450,000 annually to Downeaster operating costs.  These costs will be eliminated when a layover facility is located in Brunswick.   Lastly, the facility will eliminate the need for Downeaster trains to idle outside between runs each day.

The facility will include a layover building to store and service Amtrak Downeaster passenger trains indoors.   The single-story layover building, which will be approximately 655 feet long, 70 feet wide and about 37 feet high, will  accommodate the overnight storage of up to three diesel locomotive-powered passenger train sets used for the Downeaster service.  It will be equipped with a ventilation system to handle locomotive exhaust and will be heated.  Offices, locker rooms, wash rooms and storage facilities will be incorporated in an attachment on the north side of the building.  

A series of three tracks will connect the building to the railroad main line. The building and yard tracks will have a “double-ended” configuration to allow for trains to arrive or depart in either direction. The primary vehicular access to/from the facility will be via Lombard Street. 

In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), NNEPRA provided Environmental Assessment documentation in support of the project.  The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on June 17, 2014. 

NNEPRA accepted input through July 22, 2014 regarding the exterior color of the building.  The building has been specified to be two-tone, with a top and bottom color.  The manufacturer has provided 11 color options to choose from.  Click here to view those options, and a few potential renderings.  The input received from the public was provided to members of the Brunswick Layover Advisory Group at their meeting on July 24, 2014. 

The layover facility is needed for several reasons:

·         Amtrak requires a facility to store, restock and perform daily inspections and routine servicing, such as cleaning and refueling of passenger rail equipment used for Amtrak Downeaster service.

·         An enclosed layover facility in Brunswick would eliminate the need to idle trains outside between scheduled runs.  The facility is required to allow Amtrak train sets to power down between runs, reducing fuel consumption and emissions, vibration and noise otherwise produced by idling trains between scheduled service runs of the Amtrak Downeaster.

·         An enclosed facility is needed to reduce wear and tear on Amtrak rolling stock and allow Amtrak’s contractor to service and restock equipment overnight, particularly during harsh Maine winter months. The safety, efficiency and security of this operation will be significantly improved by providing an enclosed, climate-controlled facility.  Such a facility will also facilitate snow and ice melt off of equipment during the winter.

·         Crew quarters are needed to provide accommodations for Amtrak workers and contractors, such as a break room, restroom, briefing room, commissary and similar workplace amenities.

·         A layover facility located near the eastern terminus of Amtrak Downeaster service (Brunswick Station) will eliminate deadhead train movements between Brunswick and the current layover location in Portland that are required now to position equipment for the morning runs.  These trips back to Portland from Brunswick at night and then back from Portland to Brunswick in the morning don’t carry passengers, increase fuel use and operating costs.

·         Once a layover is built, the Downeaster will be able to operate a third daily round-trip between Brunswick and Boston without increasing the number of train movements between Portland and Brunswick.

Public Input

The NNEPRA Board of Directors established a Brunswick Layover Building Advisory Group in August 2011, to provide input and feedback regarding the building and its design.   The Group, which includes representatives from the Town of Brunswick, Brunswick Town Council, facility neighbors, and MaineDOT, provided critical input into the development of building design specifications.   

As a result of input from the Advisory Group and members of the public, the layover building is being designed to:

·         accommodate inside storage of all trains sets and locomotives used in the Downeaster service to virtually eliminate the need for extended outside idling of train engines;

·         employ low-noise generating rooftop fans;

·         meet an overall net Sound Transmission Class (STC) of 44 or greater, far greater than federal requirements of STC 23, to minimize noise impacts;

·         utilize light fixtures and placement of light fixtures which limit light spillover onto adjacent parcels;

·         include visual screening on the north side perimeter fence.