The state continues to work on restoring at least seasonal passenger rail service to Rockland.

Finger Lakes Railway in Geneva, N.Y., agreed to take over the lease with the Maine Department of Transportation for freight service on the Rockland line which had been held by Canadian Pacific Railway. Finger Lakes is expected to take over that service in July.

“We are still working with Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority and Finger Lakes on a potential passenger pilot on the Rockland Branch and the requirements of that passenger service. There is no timeline yet on the start up of the passenger pilot but we continue to work on it,” Nate Moulton, director of freight and passenger services for the Maine DOT said Tuesday, June 28.

Canadian Pacific has had the lease for the 56-mile long Rockland to Brunswick line. Canadian Pacific purchased Central Maine and Quebec Railway more than a year ago.

Finger Lakes Railway proposed 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. A stop in Waldoboro is also under consideration.

Under the plan, 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.

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

A Finger Lakes executive said earlier this year 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.

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.