Hartford Line

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Hartford Line
Hartford Line commuter rail logo.jpg
Overview
Service type Commuter rail
Status Planned
Locale Connecticut and Massachusetts
First service June 16, 2018 (planned)[1]
Current operator(s) TransitAmerica Services / Alternate Concepts Inc.
Website www.hartfordline.com
Route
Start New Haven
Stops 9 (initial service)
End Springfield
Distance travelled 62 mi (100 km)
Service frequency 30 minutes (peak)
60 minutes (off-peak)
Line used New Haven–Springfield Line
Technical
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Operating speed

Up to 110 mph (180 km/h) (planned)

Up to 79 mph (127 km/h) (current)
Track owner(s) Amtrak
Route map
Springfield enlarge… Amtrak
Enfield
in design
Windsor Locks Amtrak Bradley International Airport
Windsor Amtrak
Hartford Amtrak CTfastrak
Flatbush Avenue
CTfastrak
in design
Newington Junction
CTfastrak
proposed
Berlin Amtrak
Meriden Amtrak
Wallingford Amtrak
North Haven
in design
Hamden
proposed
New Haven
State Street
Shore Line East MTA NYC logo.svg
New Haven
Union Station
Amtrak Shore Line East MTA NYC logo.svg

The Hartford Line[2] is a planned commuter rail service between New Haven, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. It will use Amtrak's New Haven–Springfield Line and supplement existing intercity rail services between the two cities. The project is a joint venture between the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts with support from the federal government as well, the service is planned to launch on June 16, 2018.[1]

History[edit]

Background[edit]

During the mid-1980s, because of the high cost of operating the line, Amtrak removed 25 miles (40 km) of track, turning the line from a double-track line to a line with a single track with passing sidings.[3][4]

In 1994, the Connecticut Department of Transportation conducted a feasibility study for a New Haven–Hartford service which envisaged three trips in the morning and three in the afternoon. It estimated that capital costs would be $4.4 million and that it would require an annual subsidy of $2.5 million. Ridership was projected at 1,000 per day. A revised and expanded proposal in 2001 contemplated service to Springfield and hourly service, with half-hourly service during peak periods, this would require $249 million in capital costs, both for rolling stock and to restore double tracking to the line. The service would require a yearly subsidy of $13 million but would carry 1,800–2,000 passengers daily.[5]

Various delays have prevented the establishment of this service. One source of delay for re-establishment of this commuter rail line was lack of widespread support in the New Haven region, although reestablishing this service was briefly mentioned in the South Central Regional Council of Government's January 2001 Long Range Mobility Plan[6] it was not until 2003 that this commuter service provision began to consistently listed among key transportation priorities in the annual Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Legislative Agenda.[7]

The New Haven–Hartford–Springfield Commuter Rail Implementation Study, released in 2005 by ConnDOT, recommended half-hour peak service, with new stations at North Haven/Hamden, Newington, and Enfield. No action was taken following the study, as proposed schedules did not link well with those of the New Haven Line and ridership projections were low (particularly for northbound morning and southbound evening trips).[8]

Current plan[edit]

The plan calls for the improvement of existing stations and the construction of new stations along the line. To facilitate frequent and bi-directional service, the line will incorporate newly installed double track totaling 27 miles (43 km)[9] as well as 2 miles (3.2 km) of new passing sidings. Five new interlockings will be built, and new signal systems will be installed, including the installation of Positive Train Control. Bridges and culverts on the line will be repaired, rehabilitated or replaced.[3]

On June 16, 2018, when CTrail Hartford Line service begins,[1] the number of trains on the corridor will increase from 6 to 17 daily round-trips between New Haven and Hartford. There will be 12 trains providing continuing service to Springfield. Service will be expanded to 25 daily round-trips with 30 minute peak and 60 minute off-peak service when all the planned improvements are completed. Speeds of up to 110 mph (180 km/h) will be achieved, resulting in the saving of 37 minutes between Hartford and New York's Penn Station.[10]

Funding[edit]

In January 2010, $40 million of stimulus funds were approved to double-track 10.5 miles (16.9 km) of the corridor under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.[11][12] In July 2010, Governor Jodi Rell asked the Connecticut State Bond Commission to authorize borrowing $260 million in an effort to attract additional federal matching funds, to double-track the remainder of the corridor, construct freight sidings, and improve signaling, these upgrades, together with new rolling stock, should allow for two-way service during peak hours at speeds of up to 110 miles per hour (180 km/h).[13] On August 17, 2010, Connecticut lawmakers authorized borrowing the $260 million.[14]

On October 25, 2010, Governor Rell announced that Connecticut received an additional $120.9 million in funds from the federal government to fund the double tracking of the remainder of the line south of Hartford as well as station improvements in Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin and Hartford.[15]

Construction of pedestrian bridge and new platforms at Berlin station in December 2015

As of April 2011, Connecticut State officials had applied for $227 million from the federal government that would complete track improvements between Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts. ConnDOT applied for the money to the Federal Railroad Administration, part of $2.4 billion that the governor of Florida rejected because of the spending it would require from his budget.[16] In May 2011, Connecticut was awarded $30 million for track improvements in Hartford.

On August 15, 2012, the Federal Railroad Administration granted a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) on the line's environmental assessment, a major step towards the obligation of $121 million in federal funding for the line.[17]

In February 2017, the state approved an additional $50 million in bonded funds for the project, the money will support design of the rebuilt Windsor and Windsor Locks stations and of the new stations at North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield. It will also complete funding for four miles (6.4 km) of double track being added north of Hartford, and pay for design and environmental permitting for an additional 7.5 miles (12.1 km) of double track between Hartford and Enfield.[18][19] If further funding is found to build these additional miles, it would complete the double-tracking of the line except for downtown Hartford and the aging Warehouse Point railroad bridge.[20]

The state still intends to seek Federal Railroad Administration funds to pay for construction of the new and rebuilt stations, the replacement of the Warehouse Point bridge, and a layover yard near Springfield.[3][21]

The budgeted funds for the Connecticut portion to date total $769.1 million, of which $204 million has come from the Federal sources ($190.9 million from the Federal Railroad Administration and $13.9 million from the Federal Transit Administration) and the balance from the state of Connecticut.[22]

Construction[edit]

Second platform at State Street under construction in December 2016

In 2015, major construction commenced at the four stations in Berlin, Meriden, Wallingford, and Hartford.[23] On August 3, 2015, Amtrak began busing its weekday morning and evening Shuttle trains to allow double tracking work to begin.[24]

In December 2015, the state announced that the cost of construction had increased by $135 million for a total of $570 million, and that service would not begin until January 2018.[25]

In July 2016, work began at the New Haven State Street station on a new high-level platform;[26] in August 2016, a new 260 foot, high-level platform was put into service at Hartford.[26] The platform was constructed on the existing low-level platform.[23]

On October 11, 2016, a 17-car track-laying train began work to built the second track on the southern half of the line, the train laid track from North Haven to Meriden in October 2016, and returned for Meriden to Newington in 2017.[27]

In 2017, the start date was pushed to May 2018 to accommodate construction of the new double track north of Hartford.[28][29]

The new Wallingford station replaced the old station on November 6, 2017,[30] the rebuilt Meriden station opened on November 19, 2017,[31] though final construction continued through December 18, 2017.[9]

As of January 17, 2018, 26 out of 27 miles (42 out of 43 km) of double track have been installed between North Haven and Windsor. Trains are now running on both tracks between New Haven and Berlin, and double tracking is expected to be operational to Hartford in early 2018. Remaining track work in Windsor, including resurfacing and signal installation, is expected to start in January 2018 and be completed by the start of service on June 16, 2018. All railroad crossing improvements have been completed aside from work in Windsor, which is expected to be completed by spring 2018.[9]

Operation[edit]

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced on July 24, 2017 that TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts Inc., operating as a joint venture, won a 5-year $45 million contract to operate the Hartford Line.[29]

On October 23, 2017, the state announced its proposed fares, with a trip from New Haven to Hartford priced at $8 and from New Haven to Springfield at $12.75, both roughly half as much as Amtrak; discounts for bulk purchases of tickets and commuter passes are also offered.[32] Amtrak will accept Hartford Line tickets onboard all Amtrak along the line, except for the Vermonter. However, tickets sold by Amtrak will be at Amtrak ticket rates.[33] Tickets can be purchased at ticket vending machines (TVMs) at all stations, except for Windsor and Windsor Locks, where the on-board surcharge will be waived.[34]

Connecticut DOT will provide eight round trip commuter trains on weekdays under its new CTrail branding that will be operated by its new contractor. Five of these will terminate at Hartford, with the remaining three continuing north to terminate in Springfield. Additionally, Amtrak will be adding three Shuttle round trips on top of its current six round trips between New Haven and Springfield. Altogether there will be seventeen round trips between New Haven and Hartford, with twelve of them operating the full line to Springfield, on weekends and holidays, CTrail will operate four New Haven–Hartford round trips and two New Haven–Springfield round trips. Amtrak will continue to offer its existing weekend service with some minor schedule changes.[35]

Qualification runs to train crews were performed over the weekends of March 9 and 16, 2018 with a Shore Line East trainset.[36][37]

On April 17, 2018 the Connecticut DOT announced a launch date of June 16, 2018 for the service, with free weekend service being offered on June 16 and 17. Full service will commence on June 18.[1]

Rolling stock[edit]

Amtrak operates current intercity on the line with GE Genesis diesel locomotives, Amfleet coaches and ex-Metroliner cab cars; in December 2017, the state signed an agreement to lease 16 MBB coaches from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for three years, at a cost of $4.54 million, with options to extend the lease for up to three more years.[38] The railcars required significant repair and repainting before entering service, leading the Connecticut DOT to request $2.3 million from the state legislature in April 2018.[38]

Connecticut plans to buy new equipment for the Hartford Line, as a bulk purchase with Metro-North Railroad's Danbury and Waterbury branches, after about five years of operation,[21] although replacing the leased equipment with the current Shore Line East Mafersa coaches that will be displaced by the Kawasaki M-8s remains an option.[39]

Builder Model Photo Quantity Road numbers Year built Year acquired Notes
Locomotives
GE P40DC SLE P40DC 833 @Westbrook by Henry Hunt.jpg 8 833, 834, 836, 838, 840–843 1993 2005 Ex-Amtrak[40]
GE P40DC 4 4800, 4801, 4802 & 4803 1993 2016[40] Ex-New Jersey Transit, Ex-Amtrak[40]
EMD GP40-2H Westbound SLE train approaching Guilford, December 2015.JPG 6[41] 6694–6699 1971[41] 1996[41] #6695 retired[42]
Coaches
MBB Coaches MBTA MBB coaches IN CTDOT paint.jpg 16[38] 505,1509. 12 500s, 4 1500s 1988[43] 2018[38] Leased from MBTA[37][38]

Station stops[edit]

Milepost Station Hartford Line
in service date
Connections
0 Springfield Union Station 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: Lake Shore Limited, New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport PVTA Bus: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11E, 12E, 14, 17, 20, 20E, 21, 21E, 92
Bus transport Greyhound Lines
Bus transport Peter Pan Bus Lines
7.9 Enfield in design Bus transport Enfield Magic Carpet Bus
14.6 Windsor Locks 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 905W
BSicon FLUG.svg Bradley International Airport, 3 miles (4.8 km) NW
19.1 Windsor 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 32, 34, 36
25.3 Hartford Union Station 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 30, 60, 62, 64, 66, 72, 74, 76, 82, 83, 84, 901, 903, 904, 905, 906, 907, 910, 913, 914, 918, 921, 950, dash
Bus transport CTfastrak: 101, 102, 128, 923, 924, 925, 928
Bus transport
Greyhound Lines
Bus transport
Peter Pan Bus Lines
28.6 Flatbush Avenue in design Bus transport CTfastrak: 101, 102, 121, 128
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 31, 33, 37, 140, 144, 153
30.2 Newington Junction proposed Bus transport CTfastrak: 101, 102, 121, 128
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 69, 140, 144
35.9 Berlin 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport CTtransit New Britain: 512
43.3 Meriden Transit Center 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport CTtransit Hartford: 919
Bus transport CTtransit New Haven: 215M
Bus transport CTtransit Meriden: 561, 563, 564, 565, 566
Bus transport Middletown Area Transit: M-Link
49.0 Wallingford 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
Bus transport CT Transit New Haven: 215M/W
Bus transport CT Transit Wallingford: 292
55.6 North Haven in design
Hamden proposed
61.4 New Haven State Street 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Shore Line East
BSicon BAHN.svg MetroNorth: New Haven Line
Bus transport CT Transit New Haven
62.0 New Haven Union Station 2018 BSicon BAHN.svg Amtrak: Acela Express, New Haven–Springfield Shuttle, Northeast Regional, Vermonter
BSicon BAHN.svg ConnDOT: Shore Line East
BSicon BAHN.svg Metro-North Railroad: New Haven Line
Bus transport CT Transit New Haven: 271, 272, 278, 950, Union Station Shuttle
Bus transport Megabus
Bus transport Greyhound Lines
Bus transport Megabus
Bus transport Peter Pan Bus Lines
Bus transport Yale University Shuttle

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "CTrail Hartford Line Rail Service Scheduled to Launch June 16; Commemorative Inaugural Event to be Held Friday, June 15" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. April 17, 2018. Retrieved April 17, 2018. 
  2. ^ "Gov. Malloy Announced Three New Train Stations as Part of NHHS Rail Program" (Press release). Hartford, Connecticut: State of Connecticut, Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy. October 24, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "New Haven–Hartford–Springfield Rail Program: Objectives & Scope". New Haven–Hartford–Springfield Rail Program. Connecticut Department of Transportation. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  4. ^ Karr, Ronald Dale (1995). The Rail Lines of Southern New England. Branch Line Press. p. 78. ISBN 0942147022. 
  5. ^ Fazzalaro, James J. (January 16, 2001). "New Haven-Hartford and Waterbury-Hartford Rail Service Proposals". Connecticut Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on September 27, 2006. Retrieved October 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ South Central Regional Council of Governments Mobility, A Transportation Plan for the Year 2020 page 8
  7. ^ Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce Legislative Agenda booklets 1997 p. 7, 1999 p.7, 2000 pp. 9,10, 2002 p. 14, 2003 p.6, 2004 p. 6, 2006 p. 2
  8. ^ Wilbur Smith Associates (2005). "Recommended Action" (PDF). New Haven Hartford Springfield Commuter Rail Implementation Study. Connecticut Department of Transportation. Retrieved November 3, 2014. 
  9. ^ a b c "Winter 2018 Newsletter" (PDF). NHHS Rail Program. January 17, 2018. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  10. ^ "Program Benefits" (PDF). NHHS Rail Program. November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  11. ^ "After Feds Put Connecticut Rail Plan On Slow Track, State Will Seek More Funds". Hartford Courant. January 31, 2010. 
  12. ^ "HSIPR Funding by Region". Federal Railroad Administration. Retrieved April 2, 2018. 
  13. ^ "Gov. M. Jodi Rell seeks state OK to borrow $260 million to push high-speed rail". Stamford Advocate. 
  14. ^ "State OKs $260 Million To Pay For Commuter Rail System". The Hartford Courant. 
  15. ^ "Governor Rell: Connecticut Wins $120 Million for New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Project" (Press release). Office of Governor Jodi Rell. October 25, 2010. Retrieved March 23, 2018. 
  16. ^ Stannard, Ed (April 6, 2011). "Conn. seeks funds for rail work on Hartford-to-Springfield line (document)". New Haven Register. 
  17. ^ "Environmental Assessment". NHHS Rail Program. Retrieved August 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "CTDOT Announces $50 Million In Additional Funding For NHHS Rail Program" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. February 20, 2017. 
  19. ^ Stacom, Don (February 21, 2017). "Hartford Line From Hartford To Springfield, Mass. Gets $50 Million In Bonding". Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 21, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Appendix 6: New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program Track Chart" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. January 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Stacom, Don (February 18, 2017). "Hartford Rail Line On Track Despite Connecticut Budget Crisis". Hartford Courant. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Objectives & Scope: Funding". NHHS Rail Program. Connecticut DOT. Retrieved October 17, 2017. 
  23. ^ a b "New Haven–Hartford–Springfield Rail Program Stations Factsheet" (PDF). NHHS Rail Program. November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Amtrak Begins Substitute Bus Operation to Facilitate Construction on Hartford Line" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. July 31, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ Stacom, Don (December 4, 2015). "Springfield-To-New Haven Commuter Rail Cost Increases, Service Begins In 2018". Hartford Courant. Retrieved December 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Fall 2016 Newsletter" (PDF). NHHS Rail Program. November 29, 2016. Retrieved January 26, 2017. 
  27. ^ Stacom, Don (October 11, 2016). "17-Car Construction Train Works Its Way North, Laying Track On Hartford Line". Hartford Courant. Retrieved October 12, 2016. 
  28. ^ "Summer 2017 Newsletter" (PDF). NHHS Rail Program. Summer 2017. p. 2. 
  29. ^ a b "Gov. Malloy Announces TransitAmerica Services and Alternate Concepts Selected as Service Provider for the Hartford Line". The Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy. The State of Connecticut. Retrieved July 24, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Gov. Malloy Announces Opening of New Train Station in Wallingford That Will Serve the Hartford Line" (Press release). Office of Governor Dannel P. Malloy. November 6, 2017. 
  31. ^ "CTrail Hartford Line Meriden Station Opens Platforms and Pedestrian Bridge" (Press release). Connecticut Department of Transportation. November 19, 2017. Retrieved November 26, 2017. 
  32. ^ "$8 To New Haven: DOT Announces Proposed Fares For Hartford Line". Hartford Courant. October 23, 2017. Retrieved April 6, 2018. 
  33. ^ New Haven – Hartford – Springfield Rail Program [@NHHSRail] (April 3, 2018). "1 of 2: CTDOT has received confirmation that Amtrak will accept Hartford Line tickets onboard all Amtrak trains between New Haven and Springfield upon service launch, with the exception of the Vermonter. Tickets sold by Amtrak will be at Amtrak fare rates" (Tweet). Retrieved April 11, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  34. ^ New Haven – Hartford – Springfield Rail Program [@NHHSRail] (April 3, 2018). "2 of 2: Tickets at Hartford Line fare rates will only be sold at TVMs at Hartford Line stations, except for Windsor and Windsor Locks, and on board CTrail Hartford Line trains. Passengers boarding at Windsor/Windsor Locks will not have to pay the on board surcharge" (Tweet). Retrieved April 11, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  35. ^ "CTrail Hartford Line Proposed Schedules" (PDF). Connecticut Department of Transportation. October 23, 2017. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  36. ^ New Haven – Hartford – Springfield Rail Program [@NHHSRail] (March 12, 2018). "The CTDOT is gearing up for May launch of the CTrail Hartford Line passenger rail service! Qualification runs began last weekend and will occur this coming weekend along the corridor" (Tweet). Retrieved March 22, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  37. ^ a b New Haven – Hartford – Springfield Rail Program [@NHHSRail] (March 13, 2018). "For the Hartford Line's service launch, CTDOT is leasing legacy Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) coaches from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). The SLE train used last weekend was for testing and training purposes only" (Tweet). Retrieved March 22, 2018 – via Twitter. 
  38. ^ a b c d e "Rail Car Repairs, Leasing Issues Put Hartford Line Start Date in Doubt". Hartford Courant. April 4, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018. 
  39. ^ Stacom, Don (January 8, 2016). "Shore Line East Will Send Trains To Hartford Line, Get New Fleet". Hartford Courant. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  40. ^ a b c Hartley, Scott A. (March 17, 2016). "Connecticut DOT taking on used P40DCs". Trains Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  41. ^ a b c "NRE to overhaul Connecticut DOT commuter rail locomotives". Trains Magazine. March 20, 2017. Retrieved April 10, 2018. 
  42. ^ "Shore Line East". Trains Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  43. ^ "MBTA Vehicle Inventory". NETransit. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]