(Update: Booze is Back!) New Hampshire Bans Amtrak Passengers from Drinking Booze on Trains Passing Through

This article has been updated with new information after New Hampshire's liquor control agency reversed its ban.

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Amtrak Downeaster
Photo: Portland Press Herald / Contributor (Getty Images)

Editor’s Note, Thursday March 9, 12:50pm EST: This article was originally published on March 8th at 2:30pm EST. Today, less than 24 hours later, New Hampshire has officially created an exemption allowing Amtrak to serve alcoholic beverages on trains passing through the state. You can read our complete coverage of the decision here. The state has yet to figure out a long-term solution, but for now, Amtrak passengers can rejoice — and celebrate with a boozy tipple.

Below is our original reporting from March 8th.

As long as you’re not driving through Kansas or Nebraska, road trips are pretty awesome. Especially if you’re driving a comfortable car that was designed with long-distance driving in mind and not, say, a 15-passenger van. But they do come with one downside: You can’t drink in the car. If you take Amtrak instead, though, you’re free to enjoy a couple of cold ones while the miles roll by. At least as long as your train isn’t in the state of New Hampshire.


In case you missed it:

According to the Portland Press Herald, New Hampshire has banned the Amtrak Downeaster from serving alcohol while it’s in the state, which sounds pretty antithetical to its motto, “Live free or die.” Especially since the state’s reasoning is about as red tape-y as it gets. New Hampshire doesn’t allow alcohol to be served if it wasn’t bought in the state, and the alcohol served on the Downeaster is purchased in Maine.

Passengers who have already purchased alcohol will still be able to consume it while the train is in New Hampshire, but they won’t be able to get a refill until the Downeaster has left the state. The good news for passengers is, New Hampshire is a small state, so the train should only be dry for about 40 minutes while it travels the 35-mile section of track that’s located in the buzzkill state.

Since they’re still allowed to drink what they’ve already purchased, we can’t imagine this new decision will be anything more than a minor inconvenience for passengers traveling between Boston, Massachusetts and Brunswick, Maine. It’ll probably just lead to a mad rush to the cafe car as the Downeaster gets close to the New Hampshire state line. Boston’s reputation for heavy drinking is well-earned, and that’s not going to change any time soon.


But also, come on. Enforcing this rule isn’t going to lead to any extra tax revenue for the state. It’s just annoying. Surely, New Hampshire can give Amtrak a waiver for the Downeaster. The people deserve their Narragansetts.