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The Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) has issued a request for qualifications seeking a service provider to operate the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield passenger-rail line beginning in late 2016, the department announced late last week.CTDOT is searching for an operator for the 62-mile long train line, now branded as the CTrail Hartford Line. The operator will provide train crews and station maintenance services, according to a CTDOT press release.The deadline for the RFQ is Feb. 27, 2015, when a request for proposals will be issued. Responses to the RFP will be due in September 2015, with selection of a service provider anticipated for December 2015, department officials said.The line is owned by Amtrak, which currently operates service on the line, including the Vermonter. Amtrak will continue to operate its trains and maintain the railroad right of way."This $365 million High Speed Rail Project will improve the quality of intercity service along the corridor and enhance regional rail connections," said CTDOT Commissioner James Redeker. "Connecticut will add 22 CTrail trains per day to the 12 trains that Amtrak currently operates. This project will make rail travel far more attractive and competitive in the corridor."
The department expects that by 2016's end, the entire corridor between Hartford and New Haven will be double-tracked. Key to the program is installation of a state-of-the-art signal system that includes positive train control to ensure safety along the entire corridor. Station improvements will include the addition of high-level boarding platforms, pedestrian bridges, increased parking, ticket vending machines, passenger information displays and many other enhancements at the Meriden, Wallingford, Berlin and Hartford Stations, CTDOT officials said.