Low-voltage station could help trains idle lower in Brunswick

Posted July 30, 2014, at 8:34 p.m.

PORTLAND — The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority is considering installing a system capable of allowing passenger train engines to idle on reduced settings near Brunswick residential neighborhoods.

Nearby residents have complained about the health effects of the diesel exhaust from Amtrak Downeaster engines that idle near Cedar Street for up to about 15 hours a week.

The NNEPRA board of directors voted on Monday to pursue purchasing a 480-volt power station with a compressed air system that will allow engines to idle on their lowest setting, according to Jim Russell, NNEPRA’s director of special projects.

The station is estimated to cost $65,000, but could save the agency $40,000 per year in fuel, Russell told board members.

Engines sitting outside will still have to idle during colder months when the temperatures are around freezing, Russell said.

Board members chose the station out of seven options presented by Russell and a committee tasked with looking into alternate power for the engines.

Church Street may be a better choice for a permanent power station because there is more track space, Russell said.

The board intends to get input from the Cedar Street neighborhood and get more details about the system before deciding to move forward with the plan.

 

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