Ridership on Amtrak's Downeaster that travels between Brunswick, Maine, and Boston is ahead of last year despite a series of weekend disruptions caused by construction and the Boston Marathon bombings during school vacation week.
This weekend marks the last bridge work preventing trains from reaching Boston until after Labor Day, said Patricia Quinn, executive director of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority.
The disruptions have been caused by reconstruction of historic arch bridges over the Shawsheen River in Andover, Mass., by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Construction this year has prevented the Downeaster from reaching Boston on five weekends and part of a week in February.
"It's work that needs to be done, so we understand that it needed to happen," Quinn said.
To make up the disruptions this weekend, the rail authority was offering $5 weekend fares for stops between Brunswick and Haverhill, Mass., Quinn said. One-way fares typically range from $6 to $29.
The Downeaster was also celebrating National Train Day on Saturday with a family friendly event in Brunswick, the beneficiary of expanded service late last year.