Bath City Council gave a nod showing their interest in having a potential expansion of Amtrak’s Downeaster service stop at the train-station-turned-visitors-center at 15 Commercial St.

The expanded service, spearheaded by the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, would see weekend-only service coming to Bath during the summer months. The current proposal has trains running all the way to Rockland on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, as an extension of the current Amtrak service between Brunswick, Portland, Boston, and communities in-between.

The service would utilize existing train sets and staff that NNEPRA has access to, allowing for a more tourist-driven trip up the coast. Patricia Quinn, executive director of NNEPRA, said Bath would be an ideal stop-over for the train.

“The Bath station is in a great place because it’s within walking distance of your downtown area,” she said.

NNEPRA has already garnered support from Newcastle and Rockland, and also got a nod from Wiscasset. Bath was the last community on the route that the organization had to speak to, and thanks to existing infrastructure the city would face minimal costs to be added to the route, according to Quinn.

Bath currently has a temporary, mobile train platform – built by the Maine Department of Transportation – at the site that NNEPRA would use as a stop.

“I think from a preliminary standpoint, in addition to I think some weather related repairs to the platform that’s there, it’s in pretty good condition,” said Quinn.

The only enhancements that might be needed would be some additional hard-surfaces to access the ramp to the platform, and possible some additional lighting.

“There’s a section of grass on a grassed island that would likely need to be made a hard surface,” said Jim Russel, NNEPRA’s special projects manager.

The visitor center being so close to the potential stop also make Bath a great location, said Quinn. Many other towns that are already stops for Amtrak have visitor services specifically for the train, something that Bath already has in pace just a few hundred feet form the platform.

Concerns from councilors and residents were minimal, and largely related to the potential cost to taxpayers and possible disturbances the train could cause. One resident asked whether the train would obstruct traffic in town.

“We’re going to spot the train where it’s not in the circuit, it will not foul any roads,” said Quinn. “We have looked at that and considered that, and are very sensitive at not wanting to park a train in the middle of your town.”

An optimistic timeline could put trains through the Midcoast sometime this summer, depending on funding.