On Friday, January 27, 2017, Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty and Senator Richard Blumenthal visited the new CTrail Hartford Line station in Meriden with Mayor Kevin Scarpati, CTDOT Deputy Commissioner Anna Barry and other local/state officials. The station is currently under construction with work scheduled to be completed later this year.
To learn more about construction at this station and others in Berlin and Wallingford click here to read the Program’s Stations Factsheet.
Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker announced on February 20, 2017, that the State Bond Commission had approved $50 million in additional funding for the New-Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Program during its February 1, 2017 meeting.
The funding will support the design and environmental permitting for new CTrail Hartford Line stations in North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks and Enfield as well as 7.5 miles of double track from Windsor to Enfield. This funding will also support the construction of approximately 4 miles of double track between Hartford and Windsor, which is currently underway.
Commissioner Redeker stated, “The funding approved by the State Bond Commission reinforces our State’s continued commitment to providing new regional passenger rail service on the Hartford Line, which will become the newest component of a robust and vibrant multi-modal regional transportation system.”
Scheduled to launch in 2018, the CTrail Hartford Line will offer 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 majority of the existing rail stations will be replaced and several new stations will be built. The expanded service and new stations are expected to increase ridership, improve the high speed and passenger rail system serving the northeast, expand intermodal transportation options, encourage economic development and create more livable and sustainable communities.
Read the official CTDOT February 20, 2017 press release here.
The December 21st fire at the historic Berlin train station building was most unfortunate. As a result of the extensive damage caused by the fire, the remaining walls of the 116-year-old building are no longer structurally stable and pose a safety risk therefore, the remainder of the building is currently being demolished. Demolition crews will attempt to salvage items of historical significance, such as cast iron radiators, metal ends of the wooden benches and metal ceiling tiles.
Demolition debris from the building will remain on site until the salvage operation is complete and the material can be safely removed from the site. The future use of the building site will be determined in the coming weeks.
The heat from the fire caused minor damage to the new CTrail Hartford Line station, currently under construction to the north of the historic station. This damage was limited to exterior metal panels and will be repaired accordingly as construction of the new station continues. The portion of the new platform immediately adjacent to the historic station was in the early stages of construction at the time of the fire and also experienced some damage.
Amtrak trains continue to make stops at the Berlin station. Amtrak imposed a slow order (4 mph max) for trains operating through the station after the fire was extinguished. Once the demolition work is completed, it is anticipated that the slow order will be lifted and train operations will return to normal.
No determination has been made regarding the cause of the fire, which falls under the jurisdiction of the local and State fire marshals.
On October 24, 2016, the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) announced that Connecticut would become the first state in New England to install automated horn systems, commonly known as wayside horns, at various rail at-grade crossings. Installed as part of CTDOT’s noise mitigation efforts along the CTrail Hartford Line, the first horn became operational today (October 24, 2016) at the Cooper Street crossing in Meriden.
CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker states, “As we gear up for service launch on the Hartford Line, we are eager to be at the forefront of wayside horn system installation in Connecticut and recognize the benefits it brings to communities along the line.”
A wayside horn system consists of stationary horns mounted on poles at active rail at-grade crossing. The system is designed to provide a consistent audible warning to motorists and pedestrians upon the approach of a train to the at-grade crossing. Wayside horns take the place of train-mounted horns, which typically are activated up to ½ mile in advance of the crossing. By focusing audible warnings toward the roadways approaching at-grade crossings, wayside horns reduce noise associated with railroad at-grade crossings.
The installation of wayside horns helps CTDOT satisfy one of the conditions of the 2012 Environmental Assessment prepared for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program, which requires noise associated with the enhanced rail service to be mitigated near sensitive noise receptors, such as residential neighborhoods, educational institutions and recreational areas.
“The installation of wayside horns is consistent with CTDOT’s commitment to safety at grade crossings and fulfills our obligation to reduce noise associated with the Program, thereby improving quality of life for our neighbors along the corridor,” said John Bernick, CTDOT Assistant Rail Administrator. “We will look to install additional systems along the Hartford Line in specific areas to reduce train horn noise as we approach service launch.”
The CTrail Hartford Line 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 majority of the existing rail stations will be replaced and several new stations will be built. The expanded service and new stations are expected to increase ridership, improve the high speed and passenger rail system serving the northeast, expand intermodal transportation options, encourage economic development and create more livable and sustainable communities.
On October 11, 2016, 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."
Read Governor Malloy's complete press release here.
View the Track Construction Machine in operation here.
On Friday, September 30th, the state Bond Commission approved tax obligation bond requests for $282.6 million in transportation projects, including $60 million for the double tracking of the Hartford rail line and $200 million to buy 60 rail cars for the New Haven line.
“We need to remain competitive when it comes to rail,’’ continued Malloy. “For too many decades we under invested in this area.’’
Read the complete article here.
On Monday, September 26th, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced that the Town of Berlin is one of 16 towns to receive funding under the latest round of the state’s Small Town Economic Assistance Program (STEAP), which assists smaller communities with infrastructure and capital improvement projects. The nearly $6 million in grants announced this past Monday are the second round of grants announced this year. An earlier round of STEAP 2016 grants was announced in February.
The Town will receive $500,000 for the revitalization of the Downtown Village Streetscape. The streetscape improvement project in the Main Street area of Kensington is the second phase of a project now in construction. The construction of streetscape improvements in this area will be an important element in the continuing effort to create a community center in the Berlin Train Station area. This project complements the institution of rail service in 2018, embraces the importance of walkability, and the creation of a more active business center. This grant follows several other Transit-Oriented Development grants awarded by the Office of Policy and Management for the same area of Berlin.
For more information, click here to read Governor Malloy’s September 26th press release.
High-level platform opened at Hartford’s Union Station
Rail passengers in the capital city will now board trains from a newly constructed high-level platform at Union Station.
The first of five stations upgrades to be completed on the CTrail Hartford Line, the Hartford Union Station project cost approximately $3 million, took one year to construct and was completed on time. In addition to Hartford Union Station, stations in New Haven (State Street), Wallingford, Meriden and Berlin will be constructed or upgraded between now and May 2017 to provide improved passenger facilities including high-level platforms.
The new platform in Hartford is four feet high, about 260 feet long and was built just north of the station’s existing elevators. Unique to Hartford Union Station is the incorporation of a fold-up edge along the platform. While normally in the level or down position for passenger use, this feature allows the edge (outer 29 inches) of the platform to be folded up to allow freight trains carrying wide loads to pass through the station. Other station improvements in Hartford include digital messaging signs, passenger information displays that indicate train arrivals, new benches, trash receptacles, security cameras and emergency phones have also been installed.
High-level platforms make it faster and easier for all passengers to board the train and are especially welcomed by those toting luggage, pushing baby strollers or using wheelchairs. The new platforms comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements for level boarding.
Expanded rail service will begin in January 2018 with the launching of the CTrail Hartford Line which will provide passenger rail service between New Haven and Springfield.
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.
Wallingford adopts a Transit-Oriented Development Plan for new rail station area
The Planning and Zoning Commission has adopted the Transit-Oriented Development Plan, outlining recommendations for developments and infrastructure updates around the new train station in advance of the January 2018 expanded rail service on the CTrail Hartford Line.
The plan recommends moving the existing commercial, industrial zone near the new train station north toward North Plains Highway and replacing it with medium- and high-density residential development as well as improvements in the station area that will encourage new residential and commercial development and better connect downtown to the new station.
WALLINGFORD — Gov. Dannel P. Malloy donned a hard hat and orange safety vest in 90-degree weather to tour the framework of the new train station Wednesday afternoon. Read complete story.
WALLINGFORD >> The $569 million Hartford Line commuter rail project is still a work in progress, and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ventured to to the intersection of North Cherry and Parker streets Wednesday afternoon to check out the progress of the town’s new train station. Read complete story.
WALLINGFORD — With construction crews operating heavy equipment behind him, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Wednesday afternoon said the Hartford Line commuter rail project is on course to open in a year and a half. Read complete story.
WALLINGFORD - The public got a sneak peak on Wednesday of the progress on a transportation plan that has been moving forward for years. Read complete story.