ROCKLAND — A New York company has proposed offering daily passenger rail service from Rockland to the Brunswick station to connect with the Downeaster trains.

Finger Lakes Railway in Geneva, N.Y. proposed the plan to the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority at its Monday, Jan. 24 monthly meeting.

George Betke of Damariscotta, a founder and director of Finger Lakes, said the company wants to offer roundtrips each day from Rockland to Brunswick. From May through October, the plan is to have two daily roundtrip trains on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The train would make stops in Newcastle, Damariscotta, Wiscasset and Bath, as well, Betke said. The rail executive said a stop in Waldoboro is also under consideration.

“There’s been a lot of talk and no action,” Betke said over the years about passenger service on the Rockland to Brunswick line.

He said the difference with the new plan is self-propelled rail cars would be used with the number of cars dependent on the number of passengers. Each rail car can carry 80 people. He said the trips could be only one rail car or more, depending on passenger demand.

Betke said the company gave a verbal conceptual presentation Monday night. He said there are a lot of details to flesh out with the Maine Department of Transportation. The Rail Authority will be working with Amtrak. He said the hope is service could begin this summer. The trains would stop at the station in Rockland.

The proposal would be for a two-year test of this schedule.

He said the rail cars to be used will be more environmentally friendly than regular trains. He said the engines are more like heavy duty truck engines. The cars are diesel powered but the cars will not have to idle all the time, he said.

Tom Peaco, the executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber has long been a supporter of the return of passenger rail to Rockland and has worked closely with the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority toward that goal.

“We are pleased to hear about this new proposal and are eager to learn more,” Peaco said.

Nathan Moulton of the Maine Department of Transportation said that Canadian Pacific, which has a lease for the 56-mile long Rockland to Brunswick line, is working with Finger Lakes to reassign the lease to the New York company. Canadian Pacific purchased Central Maine and Quebec Railway about a year ago.

Regular passenger train service to Rockland ended in April 1959. The train station is where the Trackside Station restaurant is located, at the intersection of Union and Pleasant streets. The station was built in 1917-1918. The Maine Department of Transportation owns the station and the rail line.

Seasonal excursion passenger service between Rockland and Brunswick began in July 2004, stopping that first year adjacent to Sandy Beach. In 2005, passengers were dropped off outside the train station on Union Street. In 2006, the station building was renovated and a restaurant was added.

The passenger excursion service ended in 2015 when the state ended its contract with Maine Eastern Railroad and awarded a contract to Central Maine & Quebec Railway.

Amtrak’s Downeaster began service between Portland and Boston in 2001, and, in 2012, extended it to Brunswick.

The link to Finger Lakes Railway is https://fingerlakesrail.com/index.html.