Amtrak's Media Center is teaming up with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA) to roll out some serious upgrades along the tracks from Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Brunswick, Maine. They're dropping over $50 million to install Positive Train Control (PTC), a high-tech system that'll automatically keep trains in check and make trips faster and safer. If you ask me, those are the two best upgrades they could possibly have.

I've always felt pretty safe on the Downeaster, but this is like giving the trains superpowers to prevent accidents before they happen. As far as the speed upgrade, I've always been happy with leaving Portland and getting to Boston in less than two hours and 30 minutes. How much time will be saved is unknown (at least from the research I did).

I almost always opt to taking the Downeaster when going to a concert, especially at the TD Garden. It drops you off right there! No gas money (along with the insane cost to park your vehicle) kind of makes it a no-brainer, especially with the train's fair rates.

Federal Air Marshals To Begin Land And Sea Patrols
Getty Images

And apparently, it's not just about safety and speed. According to Amtrak's Media Center, The NNEPRA's Executive Director, Patricia Quinn, sees potential for more train services in the future, thanks to PTC.

So what exactly is Positive Train Control? It's basically a fancy setup with new signals and devices along the track, all tied into the existing tech. Think of it as a digital watchdog that ensures trains stay on track and keep everyone more safe. They've already finished planning and signed off on construction, and hope to have things wrapped up by the spring of 2026.

After reading this upgrade, I came to notice it isn't just a fresh coat of paint—it's a whole new signal system for tracks that've seen their fair share of history. Some are over 70 years old, and it's time for a tech facelift to ensure better reliability and smoother, faster rides.

4 Beautiful Maine Railroad Stations That Are Gone and What Replaced Them

Gallery Credit: Jeff Parsons

20 Restaurants in Maine Known for That One Item

These restaurants may serve lots of delicious items, but they are known for that one item they do well.

Gallery Credit: Lori Voornas

More From 94.3 WCYY