Brunswick train layover facility permit intact

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BRUNSWICK — The citizen oversight board of the Maine Department of Environment Protection on Nov. 19 rejected an appeal of a stormwater permit issued for an Amtrak train layover facility.

The Brunswick West Neighborhood Coalition, a citizen’s group opposing construction of the maintenance and layover facility for Downeaster trains, appealed the permit granted in July to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority. It argued there were “fundamental flaws” in the DEP’s permitting process, including deficiencies in groundwater and soil modelling.

But the Board of Environmental Protection unanimously denied the appeal and sided with DEP staff, who had recommended the permit.

BWNC has not said if it will appeal the decision in court. Construction of the layover facility, meanwhile, began in October.

  • farmertom2

    Oh, let’s beat this dead horse some more. It’s over, it’s done, the neighborhood NIMBers lost. Maybe we could all move on? Not as if there aren’t other improvements that need making, problems to be addressed…

  • Chew H Bird

    Apparently the “right” to ruin a residential neighborhood instead of using an industrial park while sucking taxpayer funds in an un-sustainable money grab while demonstrating a flagrant disregard for the reality of operating a hugely expensive transit system for the benefit of very few people (train overs special interest group) is how our government thinks… No wonder we have budget and trust issues (and I do not live near the facility).

    • Queenie42

      Chew, I think if you dig a little deeper you will find that the big lie in all this is the fact that we were made to think there were other sites under consideration for the train layover. The land where this facility is being built was bought and paid for BEFORE we were told that there were 3 sites under consideration. This was never the case. Get in touch with Poppypappa. (I think you know who I mean.)

      • Chew H Bird

        I know. Thank you and happy Thanksgiving.

        • Queenie42

          You too, Chew.

    • Fire_and_Steel

      What “industrial park” would have been a better location? There were explanations given for why other sites wouldn’t be as good or just plain wouldn’t work, but the NIMBYs and their “experts” didn’t want to hear it. None of the opponents’ “experts” could come up with a better location that would actually _be_ better; they just had various dubious “reasons” why putting it in a place that had already been a railroad yard was “not good.”
      And those who don’t live near the facility but seem to oppose it just on general principles aren’t NIMBYs, they’re BANANAs: Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything. (Or maybe they just hate trains.)
      Maybe there’d be fewer “budget issues” if the minutiae of every step didn’t have to be litigated over and over again.
      Looks like the “train lovers special interest group” greatly outnumbers the NIMBY/BANANA/train haters special interest group.

      • Chew H Bird

        This issue has already been beaten more than an overworked paint shaker, but the tracks go directly past the Brunswick industrial park… And did anyone consider placing the maintenance facility on the old Air Base grounds where Brunswick could compete for commercial shippers?

        The negative financial aspects of the Brunswick Down Easter service are well documented and will continue to be negative based upon the population density and lack of compelling reasons for tourists to use the service to come to Brunswick. As a Brunswick resident I am appalled at the financial money pit we have created and that losing financial proposition should be reason enough to put an end to any debate.

        I actually like trains and they serve a valuable purpose in high population areas but there is no viable reason for passenger service to run north of Portland at this time (or for the next few decades). If a viable commercial train service had been implemented to support the airport in Brunswick I could see the addition of passenger services at some point in the future.

        As an aside, the idling of diesel trains immediately next to an environmental engineering corporation (and extremely close to a day care center) has to be one of the worst decisions ever made. While I never heard anyone complain about trains passing by, the fumes from the idling are horrible (I have first hand knowledge of this).

        I may be bananas, but I feel good about not supporting the blatant waste of taxpayer dollars when we have so many critical needs in our community and a very poor economic model.

        • Fire_and_Steel

          “And did anyone consider placing the maintenance facility on the old Air
          Base grounds where Brunswick could compete for commercial shippers?”
          Yes, and it has been explained here previously that unless the former grade crossing over Bath Rd./Rt. 24 is “grandfathered” as an “existing” crossing, a state law would require it to be above- or below grade (23 MRSA Sec. 7205). Someone else will have to supply an estimate for the cost of running the track under or over the roadway, but I’d bet it would be six figures or more. If MDOT did authorize the crossing to be at-grade, there would probably be another bunch of NIMBYs/BANANAs (possibly some of the same ones) complaining about trains “impeding traffic” on Bath Rd., etc., etc., etc.
          Part of the reason for the facility to be built was to reduce or eliminate the idling of trains. I suppose now that the NIMBYs don’t have that to complain about, they need to find some other fault. “Waaah, the construction crew didn’t cover their dirt pile.”
          It’s time for BWNC to stop the “oh, you misspelled something, so now you can’t have a permit” and other nitpicking, and just bury that dead horse.

          • Chew H Bird

            I might be in favor pf spending more money on the project if there was a reasonable probability of there being a positive economic strategy behind the investment. Over or under the existing roadway would might have been a reasonable investment if the opportunity for commercial freight had been factored into the entire package… I am not against trains but I am against long term costly investments that have a negative economic impact on our community for the benefit of very few people.