FOR RELEASE: April 8, 2008
   TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
   Fax: (860) 594-3066
   Web site:

Connecticut Rail Ridership Experiences

Remarkable Increases in 2007

Nearly 1 .4 Million New Customers Traveled on

Connecticut’s Commuter Rail Service

Rail Ridership Increases Continue in 2008

Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced rail ridership increased by nearly 1.4 million new riders on Shore Line East and New Haven Line rail service in 2007.  The Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) today released its annual rail ridership report for the calendar year 2007 and first two months in 2008, marking across-the-board increases. (Data tables attached)

The New Haven Line (NHL) experienced over 1.3 million new passengers in 2007, nearly 4 percent over 2006.  On Shore Line East (SLE) ridership increased 5.5 percent or 25,000 more passenger rides in 2007.  The SLE increase includes new riders on the inaugural holiday weekend service operated from November through December.

“I am extremely pleased to see more and more Connecticut residents discovering the value of our state’s rail system.  New and expanded rail service has taken place this past year on Shore Line East as promised.  Also, the New Haven Line added more trains and increase service to meet our growing rail ridership,” said Governor M. Jodi Rell.  “More is yet to come as the state updates, modernizes, and replaces rail equipment while expanding rail service.  The new M8 rail fleet will be arriving in the next few years, and continued rail service expansion plans are already underway to improve public transportation in the state.”

In 2008, rail ridership continued to experience remarkable increases.  For the first two months of 2008, Connecticut intrastate ridership experienced double digit increases in certain markets on the New Haven Line.  For example in February, Connecticut Intrastate ridership increased 11.5 percent over 2007 figures. (Intrastate ridership on the NHL are those customers who do not begin or end their trip in Grand Central Terminal.)

On Shore Line East in 2008, similar increases took place in January and February.  This past January, SLE ridership increased 7.6 percent and in February over 10 percent from 2007 ridership.

  “We invite more of the public to join the nearly 1.4 million new riders this past year who traveled on the state’s rail service, and thank our loyal customers who travel on the Connecticut Commuter Rail system for their continued support as we expand and improve rail transportation in the state,” said Governor Rell.

2007 -  New Haven Line Ridership

  • Connecticut Intrastate ridership has highest percentage increase in 2007.  Over 3.9 million passengers traveled on the New Haven Line within Connecticut, a 7 percentage increase or 261,000 more passengers in 2007. (Intrastate ridership on the NHL are those customers who do not begin or end their trip in Grand Central Terminal.)

  • The Waterbury Branch experienced a 6.9 percent increase in 2007.  An additional 6,000 customers traveled on the Waterbury Line.  The ConnDOT has added an early morning peak train beginning on April 7, 2008 from Waterbury at 5:57 a.m. to Bridgeport, Stamford and Grand Central Terminal.

  • The New Canaan Branch increased 3 percent in 2007.  A total of 37,000 more customers rode the New Canaan branch rail service.

  • In the first two months of 2008, Intermediate train travel has increased nearly 10 percent.  (Intermediate ridership on the NHL are those customers who begin or end their trip in Grand Central Terminal.)

The New Haven Line is one of the busiest commuter lines in North America, carrying over 36 million passengers in 2007.  Metro-North Railroad (MNR), the operator of the NHL, marked its 25-year history in operating the rail line.

2007 - Shore Line East Ridership

  • The SLE expanded rail service to include special weekend rail service in November and December 2007.  The inaugural weekend service carried over 3,600 passenger rides in the seven weeks of rail service.

  • The highest weekend trips were Saturday, December 22 and December 29, carrying over 400 passenger trips each day.  In seven weeks of total rail service, Saturday ridership carried 1,919 rides and on Sunday ridership was 1,720.

  • SLE weekday ridership increased over 4.5 percent in 2007, carrying approximately 40,000 riders on average a month.

  • October marked the highest monthly number of weekday riders carried on the rail line with over 44,000 passengers.  The months of January, July, November and December experienced highest increases in 2007.

“We believe a number of issues contributed to the significant increases in ridership on Connecticut’s rail services.  Expanded rail service, additional trains during peak, off-peak and branch service as well as new parking in New Haven and Bridgeport have allowed more of the public to catch a ride on the train,” said Acting Commissioner H. James Boice.  “We also believe that new weekend rail service on Shore Line East, the newly refurbished rail cars, expanded rail service improvements, and the Department’s commitment to improve rail service in the state, all played a role to increase ridership.”