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Downeaster train riders won't be able to buy alcohol during New Hampshire stretch

Downeaster riders won't be able to buy alcohol during NH stretch
Downeaster riders won't be able to buy alcohol during NH stretch 00:30

UPDATE: Officials say riders can continue to buy alcohol in New Hampshire while a "creative solution" is worked out. Read more.

PORTLAND, Maine - Riders on an Amtrak train that runs from Maine to Boston may soon have to hold off on buying alcoholic beverages during the 35-mile stretch of the trip that goes through New Hampshire.

The Amtrak Downeaster takes passengers 145 miles from Brunswick, Maine, to Boston. The train includes a cafe car that serves alcohol.

However, the New Hampshire Liquor Commission has told the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority that the train can't serve alcohol during the New Hampshire stretch of the journey.

The change is set to go on the books on March 20, the Portland Press Herald reported. It stems from a New Hampshire law that forbids serving alcohol that hasn't been purchased in the state.

The company that provides the train's food and beverage service, Mansfield, Massachusetts-based NexDine Hospitality, buys its alcoholic drinks for the 145-mile run in Maine, the paper reported.

"In the process of renewing its license to serve alcohol on Amtrak's Downeaster, NexDine inadvertently acknowledged that it had been in violation of New Hampshire liquor laws, which require product served in New Hampshire to be purchased here," the NH Liquor Commission said in a statement.

The NHLC said it has been attempting to work with NexDine on a temporary solution. In the interim, the NHLC has informed NexDine and Amtrak Downeaster that they can proceed with business as usual.

The train brings hundreds of thousands of passengers to Boston every year and it's advertising sometimes plays up the ability to relax with a drink during the ride. It's a popular alternative for sports and concerts because it terminates steps from TD Garden, one of New England's biggest performance venues.

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