Governor M. Jodi Rell today joined with Shore Line East (SLE) commuters to visit the newly constructed Branford train station and the new Guilford station to be opened soon. Governor Rell boarded the 3:28 p.m. train in Branford to see first-hand the improvements to SLE service while visiting with daily commuters, and then departed in Guilford to tour the station currently under construction.

The Branford, Guilford and Clinton Shore Line East train stations are part of an overall $25 million effort by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) to improve safety and operations on Shore Line East. The Branford and Clinton stations opened to commuters this past August.  The Guilford station is expected to open in the coming month.

            “This is a new day for Connecticut commuters using the Shore Line East service, and it represents my continued commitment to provide first-class, on-time service to our residents whether traveling for work or pleasure,” Governor Rell said. “Rebuilding Connecticut’s rail and public transportation system has been one of my top priorities.  With the passage of the $1.3 billion transportation improvement program in June, Connecticut commuters will continue to see the results of the state’s effort to improve rail service in the coming years.”

The Connecticut Department of Transportation constructed the Branford, Guilford and Clinton train stations to replace the older existing lower platform decks.  The new stations have increased access and service to the commuters improving functions such as handicapped accessibility, high-level platforms to allow for level boarding on trains, a commuter shelter area, a convenient commuter drop off area, increased parking and enhanced lighting.  A total of five new stations will be built in the coming years.  The Madison and Westbrook Stations are scheduled to begin construction in 2006. 

“The Branford, Guilford, and Clinton train stations provide a safe and convenient location for commuters to park and board the train,” DOT Commissioner Stephen Korta II said.  “The increased free parking and customer-friendly stations match the Department’s commitment to provide better services to our in-state commuters.”

Construction on the Branford and Guilford stations began in 2004.  The Madison and Westbrook stations are presently awaiting award of contracts with construction to begin in 2006. 

SLE trains are owned and operated by ConnDOT under contract with Amtrak to provide daily rail operations.  SLE commuter operations began in May of 1990 serving seven stations along the 33-mile segment of Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor between New Haven and Old Saybrook.  ConnDOT extended service to New London in 1996.  The State Street Station, which provides access to downtown New Haven, was opened in 2003.

Shore Line East has provided on average 1,600 rides per day or 405,000 rides per year with service from Monday through Friday.  Over the past month, SLE has experienced an increase in total monthly rides of 9 percent for September 2005 as compared to September 2004.  Trains do not operate on Saturday, Sunday or major holidays.  Shore Line East Service connects at New Haven, Bridgeport and Stamford stations for Metro-North service to New York City.  Reduced-price combined Shore Line East/Metro-North monthly commuter tickets are available.

Connecticut Department of Transportation

Current Rail Activities

Governor’s Transportation Initiative

  • The $1.3 billion Transportation Improvement Program provides for the design and purchase of 342 passenger cars for the New Haven Line as well as a new rail maintenance facility and other public transportation initiatives. 

Specifically the Governor’s Transportation Package (SB-2000) included:

  • $667 million for new rail cars on the New Haven Line,
  • $300 million for new rail maintenance facilities,
  • $187 million for “congestion mitigation” measures on Interstate 95 from Greenwich to North Stonington,
  • $150 million for improvements to I-84 and I-91, as well as other state roads and highways,
  • $7.5 million for new transit buses.

M-8 Passenger Rail Car Fleet Replacement Program

  • The Connecticut Department of Transportation and MTA/Metro North have embarked on an aggressive program to replace the older passenger rail car fleet on the New Haven Line.
  • A 17 % increase in ridership during the last decade on the New Haven Line combined with an average 4% monthly increase in 2005, makes the need to replace older rail cars a priority. The new M-8 Fleet will address the issue of consistent service and additional seating.
  • Work has already begun.  An engineering firm has been hired to provide technical specifications and engineering services for design of the new cars.

Running Repair Shop for Rail Maintenance in New Haven

  • Running Repair Shop, approved on the July Bond Commission, is underway.  Relocation of road work and prep construction are currently being done.

The M-2 Car Rehabilitation/Overhaul Project

  • Underway since 2001, completing the rehab of nearly a third of the passenger cars to date.
  • As of October 1, 2005, 43 pairs or 86 passenger cars have been rehabilitated and put back in service.
  • The M-2 Critical System Replacement Program includes window replacement, cleaning and replacement of passenger seats, new painting on the outside of the cars, and a new upgraded electrical system to include replacing heating, A/C, lighting and propulsion systems, and a new sealed waste disposal system.
  • To date nearly:

-           98% of all window repair and glazing,

-           34% of the electronic work,

-           33% of the outside painting, and

-           30% of the seat replacements are completed.

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