AUBURN — A plan to run an overnight train from Boston to Montreal through Auburn picked up support from the Auburn Council on Monday night, even though the train may not stop in the city.

Mayor Jonathan LaBonte said the plan does not change his long-term goal to bring commuter rail between the Twin Cities and Portland.

“The hotel train is not a commuter rail and it’s not inter-city rail nor does it advance that,” he said. “It’s a privately operated service attempting to compete with passenger air service to connect people from Montreal with Boston with the possibilities that there may be spin-off benefits in Maine.”

Francois Rebelloe is proposing the run one route of his “Hotel Train” through Central Maine. He’s not asking for money from the city or other communities along the proposed corridor but for letters supporting the concept.

His plan calls for running multiple routes south from Montreal, three through Vermont and New Hampshire and one through Maine to Boston on the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Rail line.

Most trips would be overnight, with passengers arriving at the destination in the mornings. Ticket prices would be aimed to be less expensive than air travel and just more expensive then bus fare.


Councilors voted unanimously to authorize LaBonte to send a letter of support.

Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald has already sent the developers a letter of support.

LaBonte said he thought it was a fine idea that could be benefit the Twin Cities. He suggested the city request the creation of a train platform in the area that could someday let passengers disembark in Maine.

“Right now, we don’t have a strategy to allow folks to get off and access transportation services here,” LaBonte said. “So this notion of saying that we’d like a platform available is worth it. It starts to create a direction where we can someday accept passengers.”

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