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Amtrak’s Downeaster rail service has been suspended through the end of May amid ongoing efforts to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, which manages the service, announced Wednesday the extension of a temporary service suspension through at least May 31, according to spokesperson Natalie Bogart.
That move was taken in line with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ gradual phase out of coronavirus-related restrictions. Under that plan, certain businesses, including barber shops, salons and other personal services, will be permitted to reopen Friday, while keeping in place restrictions on lodgings and other industries into the summer. It also requires individuals to wear cloth face coverings in settings where it is difficult to maintain social distancing.
Downeaster passenger rail service has been suspended since April 13, and before that it had been scaled back to a once daily round-trip from Maine to Boston.
Bogart said that preparations are underway to resume service later this spring. Amtrak will have in place when service resumes new public health precautions, including new cleaning protocols, signs promoting physical distancing, and limits on passengers allowed on trains.
Meanwhile, Pan Am Railways is expediting track improvements and maintenance projects along the Downeaster corridor to avoid construction interruptions when service eventually resumes, according to Bogart.