WESTBROOK, Maine — A new report explores the possibility of creating a rail service between two Maine cities. It's said to be a way to reduce traffic and cut down on commute times.

While there are no plans for approval in the near future and this really is just a conversation starter, some commuters are excited about the possibility of having another option to travel between Westbrook and Portland.

Commuters like, Makenja Thsibwabwa.

"I use a bus," she said. "I have to use two buses to reach here."

She commutes from her home in Portland to Westbrook every day and has to take two buses, one way. Sometimes in the afternoon, it can take this mom of four close to an hour to get home.

"As a mom, you have to prepare dinner for your kids, you have to know how they passed their day, so you have to reach home quickly," she said. "If you get home late you're not going to have time to talk to your kids." 

Shaving time off her commute would be possible if a rail service were to be created between Portland and Westbrook. That's according to a recently released feasibility study.

The potential passenger rail service would run from West Commercial Street near Portland's Harborview Park to downtown Westbrook. There would be stops at Thompson's Point in Portland and Rock Row in Westbrook.

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The study looked at travel times by bus along a similar route, and how that would compare to rail. From Portland to Westbrook, travel times could potentially be cut in half.

Rail vs Bus
From Portland to Westbrook, travel times could potentially be cut in half.
NCM

The study from VHB of South Portland was done mostly to look at what a rail service would look like and what infrastructure would be needed.

According to that report, it could cost nearly $100 million.

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Although Patricia Quinn, the executive director of The Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, says that cost could be far less due to a number of variables. She says the next steps remain unclear and there's no plan for approval right now.

However, for commuters like Makenja Thsibwabwa, the report provides hope for some more time at home.

"I'm just excited. If maybe it's going to happen, I'll be customer number one."

Thsibwabwa works at American Roots in Westbrook. The company specializes in making fleece products and the founders have a strong focus on creating jobs. Through organizations like Goodwill and Portland Adult Education, American Roots offers a training course for stitchers.