- Associated Press - Saturday, February 1, 2020

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - A regional rail service that carries passengers from Maine to Boston broke its ridership record in 2019, when it attracted more than 570,000 passengers.

Amtrak Downeaster had 574,404 passengers last year, up nearly 8% from the previous year, the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority said on Friday. The service’s previous record was a little less than 550,000, and it was set in 2017.

The month of August included the highest ridership in the history of the Downeaster, which started running in 2001, said Natalie Bogart, marketing director for the rail authority. The authority said the growth in ridership was due in part to increased frequency to Freeport and Brunswick, which are at the northern end of the line.

The Downeaster runs from Brunswick to North Station in Boston, with stops along the way in Portland, Old Orchard Beach and other popular destinations in southern Maine and New Hampshire. Its ridership grew at record levels in nine of 12 months in 2019, the rail authority said.

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