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Metro-North Danbury Branch Electrification


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The state is stepping up to the plate to improve commuter rail service into Danbury and perhaps expand it into New Milford.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said Monday the State Bond Commission this week plans to consider a $3 million bond for the Danbury Rail Study., the line's final study.

The state Department of Transportation studied electrifying the line from Danbury to Norwalk last year. That study came up with five options to improve the line.

Adding electricity to the line is one choice the state is considering. By running the trains with electricity instead of diesel fuel, the state can speed up trains on the line.

Another option is to extend the line to New Milford. A third option is to add sidings, which are parallel lines that allow two trains to pass each other.

Another idea is to control the trains electronically from Grand Central Station, which again would allow more trains to run on the same track. That would put more trains and more frequent service on the line.

The final option is to do nothing. The cost of this option is routine maintenance.


I really hope they go through with this and electrify the Danbury branch of Metro-North. I also hope they extend it to New Milford. Stamford is a huge job market for CT residents and I believe the majority of commuters on the Danbury branch are going to Stamford, or other offices on the gold coast, and probably a few head to New Haven. A lot of people from New York are moving to Danbury because they are priced out of the market in the city and Westchester. They currently choose to drive to the Harlem line of metro-north at Southeast or Brewster and take the train directly into Manhattan that way.

A while back I remember reading on another forum a thread about the danbury line and someone suggested they build a stop at the Danbury Mall. I know the tracks go next to the mall so I think it is feasible.

Anyone that has driven from downtown New Milford to route 7 knows how bad traffic can get so I'm sure there are a lot of people that would use the train if it was available. I also read someplace about some resistance in New Milford to the train because they don't want to become another Brewster. Brewster has a lot of daylaborers that wait on Main Street in front of the train station to get picked up for work.

Bottomline is the electrification of the Danbury line is a good thing, it will ease traffic and it might lure some companies to Danbury because of it's proximity to NYC and Stamford and the train will make it an easy way to move people between those cities.


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Does anyone else find it ironic that most of our mass-transit revolves around getting people out of our State, or close to it? No wonder there si a brain-drain, they basically pave the roads with gold leading to NYC and Boston. Get some friggin mass-transit to Hartford already. 2012 isn't anywhere near soon enough....

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Getting people to work in Stamford, Norwalk, Bridgeport, or New Haven is a bad thing? Right now Stamford is the big destination but it is slowly spreading out. Norwalk has a lot of jobs right now and is growing and I hope that Bridgeport is going to attract more employers too. Like I said in my original post, Danbury could feel some economic development from this too.

I agree with you that 2012 is too long to wait to start commuter service to Hartford. CT is behind the times. We need to get our mass-transit system working so we can attract more companies to our state. Jersey started to fix their transit system a long time ago and look how many companies moved there. CT should be doing the same thing. The state was going to close the Danbury branch under Rowland!

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On the list of American cities with the most corporate headquarters you will find Stamford at number 5. There are a ton of decent jobs in that city and it's still growing. Everybody knows that traffic on I-95 or the Merritt is a nightmare during rush hour, so a lot of people take the train if they can. Don't forget all the hedge funds and private equity funds in Norwalk and Greenwich have a lot of desirable jobs. You don't just get people commuting from CT, they are "reverse commuting" from NY and Jersey.

About once a month I take the 5:00 pm train from Grand Central to Bridgeport and I have noticed a ton of people get on at Stamford and a lot get on at Norwalk. I think you are correct the majority of commuters on the New Haven line are going all the way to Manhattan, but the number of people commuting between CT cities is growing rapidly. Past New Haven the Shore line east commuter train runs all the way to New London, and I think they have a few express trains that go all the way to Stamford.

Check out this article on the changing commuting patterns on Metro-North.


When Hartford's commuter train is running I could see it growing into another Stamford. If Mass does their job and extends their Boston train past Worcester to Springfield then Hartford will be linked to Boston and New York via rail. That should be a good incentive for more companies to relocate there and create jobs for CT.

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Let's be honest, Metro North isn't around to get people to Stamford/Norwalk/Bridgeport, it's to get people to and from NYC. As a by-product, people can easily get to and from ST/Nwk/Bpt. Is it bad? No, and it is a positive that Danburyt be included, but it is still basically funneling people toward going out of state....
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I currently reside in Danbury. I have riden Metro North a few times now on evening trips into The City. I never leave from Danbury, due to the relative slow speed and lack of trains. I usually leave from Southeast, NY instead and take the much quicker and much more offered Harlem Line.

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