WATERVILLE — Poland Spring Water launched an initiative Friday to expand the use of trains to transport its bottled water, marking the first such shipment at the Pan Am Railways yard in Waterville.

The company plans to move 4,000 containers a year by train, instead of by truck, to transport bottled water from Maine to markets in Massachusetts, and eventually may use rail to deliver its water to markets in New York and New Jersey.

On Friday, the company started using the intermodal facility in Waterville, which hasn’t been used in nearly two decades. Trucks will be hauling containers to the Waterville facility from the company’s bottling plant in Kingfield, about 45 miles away.

Using rail instead of trucks translates into a reduction of more than 500,000 road miles and lowers carbon emissions, according to a news release from the company.

“As part of Poland Spring’s commitment to environmental leadership, we’ve been exploring alternative modes of transportation for shipping Poland Spring to our major markets on the East Coast,” Chris Haynes, director of Northeast Regional Logistics for Nestle Waters North America, parent company of the Poland Spring brand, said in a statement. “Like most manufacturers in Maine and (elsewhere in) New England, we rely on trucks to distribute our product. By taking advantage of the recent improvements to Maine’s rail infrastructure to ship by train, we can reduce the number of trucks on the road and ship our product to targeted distribution points more efficiently to better service our customers.”

The launch of Phase II of the “Poland Spring Express” on Friday drew representatives from Poland Spring, the Maine Department of Transportation and Pan Am Railways officials as shipping containers filled with pallets of Poland Spring water were transferred by crane to a waiting train bound for Massachusetts.

From Waterville, the containers are loaded onto rail cars and transported to Rigby Yard in South Portland to join the train heading to Massachusetts. The company began its experimental rail initiative in January when it began shipping bottled water from its Hollis plant using rail cars loaded at the state’s new intermodal facility in Portland.

David Fink, president of Pan Am Railways, said in a statement that he was excited to see an alliance different people, companies and officials to bring the project to fruition.

“Our hope is to build on the success of ‘The Poland Spring Express’ and use it as an example to expand the intermodal business in Maine,” Fink said.

The new Waterville operation will add 60 containers to the train. The trains will operate daily from Friday through Monday.