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Rail News: Amtrak

Amtrak, Connecticut reach funding agreement on Hartford Line commuter-rail service


Amtrak and the state of Connecticut have reached an agreement spelling out cost ceilings and a timeline for completing the Hartford Line commuter-rail route, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy announced late last week.

Connecticut's State Bond Commission this week will vote to approve an allocation of $155 million to complete construction of the future Hartford Line, according to a press release issued by Malloy's office. For its part, Amtrak will deliver service with a ceiling on costs and a timetable for wrapping up the project.

The bond commission's approval will bring the total funding for programs in this corridor to $643 million, with $208 million in federal funds and $435 million in state funds, Malloy's press release said. The cost for upgrading the Hartford Line is $570 million.

Now in the construction phase, the completed Hartford Line is expected to triple the number of trains between New Haven and Hartford, and double the service between Hartford and Springfield.

Four station projects are underway and due to be completed prior to the launch of service, while critical fiber optic signal cable and communication nodes are installed along the corridor to power the system and its positive train control components.

Each weekend, centuries-old and undersized culverts and drainage structures are being replaced. The roadbed is currently being excavated for a second track.

"Instead of letting this languish for years and years, we are stepping up to the plate as a state to stand up for better transportation, more jobs, and economic development. This is a transformative project — and we have a commitment to get it done," said Malloy, adding that communities to be served by the line are planning transit-oriented development projects around their stations.

An additional $73 million is being spent on related corridor investments, including adding a platform at the State Street station in New Haven, renovations at the Berlin station, continuing the design of five new stations along the corridor and studying the realignment of the line in Hartford as part of the overall Interstate-84 viaduct alternatives.

Construction on the future Hartford Line will extend into late 2017, with a service launch no later than January 2018, Malloy's press release said.

The line will run along the Interstate-91 Corridor to connect New Haven, Conn.; Hartford, Conn.; and Springfield, Mass.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/8/2015