Downeaster and MBTA trip to Rhode Island

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Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporting Member
Sep 2, 2021
The Slate Belt
Nothing as exotic as Nigeria or even Vancouver but just a trip from Brunswick Maine to Warwick Rhode Island to spend Thanksgiving šŸ¦ƒ with my son, daughter in law, and grandson. I am currently on the Downeaster train 682 as we just made our backup move into Portland station.

Earlier we arrived at Brunswick in time to see our trainset come in from the storage facility as I was fiddling with the parking machine. We got up to the platform and boarded the business class which was the first car behind the engine (this trainset had 2 P42s one on each end). Train left on time. Around Freeport I headed for the cafe counter and got a breakfast sandwich, coffee, and juice and a bagel with cream cheese for my wife. I was happy to see the attendant toasted the sandwich muffins separately rather than nuking the whole thing.

We just left Portland right on time. We had just 3 in BC leaving Brunswick, picked up 1 in Freeport, but a bunch more came on at Portland.
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Just pulled into Saco still on time. Passed Old Orchard Beach which is a seasonal stop. Strange seeing the town almost deserted unlike summer. The run across the Scarborough Marsh is always scenic and we hit 75 mph our fastest so far.


The side with double seats is facing East which means the sun is coming in and is low to the horizon on these late fall days making looking out the window difficult. Especially since the window isn't as clean as it could be.
I should note that the WiFi seems to be working well.

The old mills of Saco/Biddeford.
Just arrived in Haverhill MA. Trip through NH was uneventful. Uneventful is good. Basically stop and go at Haverhill as no one on or off. Just passed 681 leaving the station he is just a few minutes late. No other traffic except for a couple of CSX track cars. There was a freight sitting at Royal Jct on the Back Road probably waiting to follow us in to Rigby Yard south of Portland.

Now in MBTA territory and crawling along at 10 mph for some reason. Ok we just picked up speed.
Whoops looks like we are not taking the Wildcat after all but staying on the route via Reading. Means we will not make Woburn Anderson. Notice that a lot of the old telegraph poles still exist now with new cables probably for PTC strung on them. South of Reading we hit a section of jointed rail, a bit of nostalgia. We pick up speed south of Wakefield and the train really rocks and rolls. Now past Oak Grove and the Orange Line rapid transit appears to our right which we parallel up to North Station.
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Arrived at North Station on time in spite of our pokey progress on MBTA track. Charged up our Charlie Cards and made our way to the Green Line platform where a car to Park St. arrived shortly. At Park St. we transferred to the Red Line for 2 stops to South Station including a couple of the infamous slow zones. I was tempted to ride one of the new CRRC Orange Line cars but I just have an affinity for the Green Line and its history as North America's first subway.

Red Line platform at Park St.

Now at South Station waiting for our commuter rail train to TF Green which is the closest station to my son's house in Warwick. About an hour wait, got some yogurt to tide me over until dinner

With time to kill I snuck out into the platforms to check out the trains (the faregates haven't been installed here yet)

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Made it to Warwick. The MBTA train left on time and got to TF Green a few minutes late as there were some slowdowns around Hyde Park, not sure why.

I did find alerts for the Downeaster that 3 trains would not serve Woburn due to trackwork so that explains the different routing.

Our train at the TF Green station.
For a couple of days we are staying at a hotel as my son is recuperating from an operation. This is the Hyatt Providence Airport which is right next to the TF Green station. We lucked out and got a room with a good view.
MBTA train to Wickford Jct. with Amtrak 86 from Richmond VA in the background.
For a couple of days we are staying at a hotel as my son is recuperating from an operation. This is the Hyatt Providence Airport which is right next to the TF Green station. We lucked out and got a room with a good view.
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MBTA train to Wickford Jct. with Amtrak 86 from Richmond VA in the background.
Ah, the railfan window. ;)
It has been an interesting few days to say the least. My son had some issues with severe pain that sent him back to the hospital for a couple of days while they checked everything out to make sure there were no complications. I borrowed their car and drove my wife and DIL back and forth a few times. I guess I can now add Providence RI to the list of places I can navigate. They finally sent him back home yesterday and he is recuperating. We ended up extending our hotel stay as he is using the bedroom we would have used to rest in.

One interesting thing was the drive to RI Hospital which goes along Allens Ave by the Port of Providence with lots of industrial stuff which I find interesting plus railroad tracks down the middle of the street with spurs going off to various industries most of it appearing to be no longer used. There was an active line that crossed the road to an area with lots of fuel tanks. I know Providence and Worcester RR moves Ethanol to or from the port there so perhaps those tracks were for that operation.

We are still planning to head home Monday so I will have a trip report for that at the time.
Great trip report and photos. I've been on the Downeaster many times, made me feel like I was there! Just wish they would stop at Old Orchard Beach year round, at least make it a flag stop...
I agree it's not like stopping there costs them that much time as they have to slow down to traverse OOB anyway. Might make a more convenient stop for people south of Portland rather than driving to the PTC.
Not the most cheerful of Thanksgivings, but Iā€™m sure it was a great help and comfort to your son and daughter-in-law to have you and your wife there.

Hope your son is feeling better.
Yes thanks he is feeling better. We actually moved our turkey dinner to Sunday so we have some prep to do today like making pies ( my specialty šŸ™‚).