CONNECTICUT DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
2800 BERLIN TURNPIKE P.O. BOX 317546
NEWINGTON CONNECTICUT, 06131-7546
|FOR RELEASE: October 11, 2016||
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
OFFICE OF COMMUNICATIONS
TELEPHONE: (860) 594-3062
FAX: (860) 594-3065
WEB SITE: www.ct.gov/dot
GOV. MALLOY SAYS THE STATE IS CONTINUING TO MAKE PROGRESS BUILDING THE HARTFORD COMMUTER RAIL LINE AS STATE-OF-THE-ART CONSTRUCTION MACHINE BEGINS OPERATIONS
Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker today unveiled the mammoth Track Construction Machine (TCM) that is now being used to double-track portions of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) passenger rail line, which is now being branded as the CTrail Hartford Line. Building a second track parallel to the existing single track, which is currently used by Amtrak trains, will allow more frequent train service and more efficient train movements when the CTrail Hartford Line, which will allow frequent, commuter rail service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, begins operations in January 2018.
As part of the NHHS Rail Program, the 250-ton TCM is laying nearly nine miles of track between North Haven and Meriden. The effort will take approximately three weeks to complete and will safely and efficiently lay new track without interfering with the operation of train traffic on the adjacent existing mainline track. The primary benefits of using a TCM over other methods of track construction are its production capability and the fact that it can lay track without disrupting train operations on adjacent tracks. This marks the first time a TCM will be used to lay this significant length of track in Connecticut.
“We are excited to finally launch commuter rail service between New Haven, Hartford and our friends in Springfield, and state-of-the-art, 21st Century machinery like this is helping keep us on schedule so we can begin service as soon as possible,” Governor Malloy said. “A modernized transportation system brings so many benefits to an area. High among them are the economic advantages that attract businesses and grows jobs, however for too many decades our state lacked the forward-thinking vision to make these improvements. We are committed to building a best-in-class transportation system for Connecticut’s residents, and the Hartford Line is one piece of this vision that will move us forward.”
“Launch of the Hartford Line will provide an opportunity for Connecticut to join in a regional vision to a make rail a more convenient and faster option for travelers,” Commissioner Redeker stated. “Expanded rail service will strengthen transportation infrastructure in Connecticut and the region.”
The TCM is the main component of a moving assembly line designed to install rails and ties in one efficient operation. Prior to start of the operation, train cars carrying fifty, 1,600-foot long rails were off-loaded and the rail was deposited on either side of the rail bed. Fifteen tie cars, each carrying 176 concrete railroad ties weighing over 800 pounds each, are towed behind the TCM and feed it with concrete ties via a conveyor system. While pulled along the rail bed by a bulldozer, the TCM uniformly lays the ties onto the ballast (rail bed) at predetermined spacing and simultaneously threads the rails onto the ties. A clipping machine attaches the rail clips to hold the completed track assembly together.
The machine can assemble up to 1,000 feet of track per hour (500 ties) in ideal conditions, at over one mile of track per day. Prior to the use of the TCM, it would have taken months to complete this work using either track panels, which require offsite assembly and transportation to the site, or manual installation through the use of other, more traditional track construction equipment.
The TCM is expected to return to Connecticut in 2017 to add another ten miles of track between Meriden and Newington. By the time the expanded service begins in 2018, about 32 miles of the 62-mile corridor between New Haven and Springfield will be double-tracked.
TCMs have been used successfully around the world on some of the largest track construction projects over the last ten years, including in Italy, Northern Ireland, Brazil, India, and Saudi Arabia, among others. Only a handful of these machines exist in the United States.
“In partnership with the State of Connecticut, Amtrak is pleased to celebrate this important milestone in the CTrail Hartford Line project,” Amtrak President and CEO Wick Moorman said. “Through strong collaboration between Amtrak, CTDOT, the Federal Railroad Administration, and our various contractors, we are continuing to progress this transformational project and look forward to delivering a state-of-the-art railroad that will allow for improved and expanded service.”
The CTrail Hartford Line service will provide more frequent, convenient and faster passenger rail service between New Haven, Hartford and Springfield by increasing the number of round trip trains from six daily Amtrak intercity and regional trains to a total of 17 round trip trains a day to Hartford, and 12 trains per day to Springfield. The expanded service and new stations are expected to increase ridership, improve travel times, expand intermodal transportation options, encourage economic development and create more livable and sustainable communities.
Updates on the status and location of construction activities are provided on the NHHS Rail Program website at www.nhhsrail.com, as well as on its Facebook and Twitter social media accounts. Visitors to its website can also subscribe to receive updates via e-mail.