Hartford Rail Line Funding Ok’d

December 11, 2015

By State Reps. David Baram and Peggy Sayers

After years and years of efforts, Connecticut is finally heading into the homestretch of providing expanded commuter rail service along the I-91 Corridor between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield with stops in Windsor and Windsor Locks.

The State Bond Commission today approved a $155 million allocation to complete construction of the Hartford Line. This is the final installment to upgrade the line and launch expanded service between New Haven and Hartford.

Earlier this week Gov. Dannel Malloy announced an agreement with Amtrak to complete the Hartford line, receiving guaranteed agreements for cost ceilings and a clear timetable for work completion.

According to the announcement, the completed Hartford Line will triple the number of trains between New Haven and Hartford and doubling the service between Hartford and Springfield.

The program is now in construction and work is progressing rapidly. Four station projects are in construction and due to be completed prior to the launch of service, while critical fiber optic signal cable and communication nodes are installed along the corridor to power a brand new signal system including Positive Train Control. Every weekend, centuries-old and undersized culverts and drainage structures are replaced. The roadbed is currently being excavated for the second track.

In September, the Federal Transit Administration awarded $700,000 to Connecticut to conduct a study of transit-oriented development (TOD) opportunities in the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor, also known as the Hartford Line.

The funding also will advance TOD opportunities at the four new stations in North Haven, Newington, West Hartford and Enfield, as well as the two stations that will be relocated in Windsor and Windsor Locks. This grant will guide CTDOT and its partners toward the implementation of a corridor strategy for TOD to increase ridership, enhance affordable housing opportunities, create mixed-use development to activate station areas, and link people to jobs through multimodal transportation connections along the entire corridor.

These new developments are great news for our towns. The Hartford Line will serve thousands of people as well as businesses along the corridor with better connections to other lines, including Metro-North service and help Connecticut build an enviable transportation system, serving as a model for the nation.

Current program estimates indicate that construction on the future Hartford Line will extend into late 2017 with a service launch no later than January 2018.

State transportation planners forecast as many as 750,000 passenger trips a year when the operation gets underway, and more than 1 million a year when the system is completed. It will start with 17 daily round-trips between New Haven and Hartford, and 12 continuing north to Springfield.