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IN PROGRESS: Hartford-New Britain Busway/ CTFastrak

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I would be very scared of an idea that includes people connecting to the Berlin-New Britain busway. I don't think many people are excited about commuting by driving to a train station and then switching from the train to a bus at a tiny train depot before riding into the city and walking or taking a different bus to their job. Any succesful plan would need to include the commuter train continuing on to Hartford or connecting to the springfield-hartford-new haven line.

I would be much more excited about high speed rail service going to Hartford than commuter rail service. If one could place a nice High Speed rail line going from Boston-Hartford-New York then I think Hartford would see a super return on that and it would do more to ease the interstate traffice through New England than any commuter rail would. Unfortunately the Acela is still too slow because it isn't a dedicated line...and of course misses Hartford which would be nice.

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Ideally, planning should be started on the whole shebang:

Danbury to Vernon

New Haven to Springfield

Spur line to BDL

Easy connection to Metro North / NYC

Easy connection to T / Boston

Start now, we should be all set by 2108 at the latest....

I'd say go past Vernon. At least go to Willimantic/Storrs (both). From there, you can make the run towards Providence to pick up the T. Or Worcester, up I-84 ... if Mass. ever does something to help ease the nightmare between Worc. and Framingham.

I've personally hoped for a Danbury to Putnam train. The past few years, I wish there had been one.

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I would be much more excited about high speed rail service going to Hartford than commuter rail service. If one could place a nice High Speed rail line going from Boston-Hartford-New York then I think Hartford would see a super return on that and it would do more to ease the interstate traffice through New England than any commuter rail would. Unfortunately the Acela is still too slow because it isn't a dedicated line...and of course misses Hartford which would be nice.

I agree. When I first moved here I was shocked that the Acela didn't go through hartford. I think connecting us to Boston and nyc would be great for growth. Think about all those business types that would love to use it to commute. plus it could spur cross regional development. You think if they ran it though hartford they could get a dedicated line? I also thought CT had some weird law that the Acela could only go 50 mph and the amount of curves in the track really inhibited the speed. Which is right?

I also think that maybe once the hartford springfield line goes up, then maybe a spur to waterbury would be more feasible.

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Where is the easy connection to the T?

Lets see...Hartford-Vernon-Willimantic-Plainville to Worcester. Of course we would need to REBUILD the midland route but I can see multiple benefits from that.

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Lets see...Hartford-Vernon-Willimantic-Plainville to Worcester. Of course we would need to REBUILD the midland route but I can see multiple benefits from that.

As UP's resident I-395 Corridor member, here's my two cents on this.

The major issue with the region is: it's more connected north-south than east-west, simply because of the routings of the highways. The towns along the RI border are very disconnected from the rest of the state, including the Hartford area, for the most part. A few people may venture that way, but most don't. Norwich or Worcester dominate the region's attention. In Putnam or Killingly, perhaps Plainfield and Sterling, Providence also becomes a factor.

If you built a train line between Hartford and _______ through Willimantic...

- Griswold: Jewett City would likely be the only destination a train would service. Too far south to make the turn towards Worcester from here. Too close to Norwich to be a terminus. The only way this would get service is if there was a line along 395.

- Plainfield: There's several issues with Plainfield. The most glaring is... where would a line go? There's two population centers in town: would it head south along 14A towards Plainfield Center. Or north along 14 towards Central Village and Moosup. Secondly: just which city does it connect with most? Seems like Norwich to me, especially in the Norwich vs. Worcester debate. It seems also out of the way between Hartford and Providence. Essentially Scotland and Canterbury would be open arms while one/more between Chaplin, Brooklyn, and Hampton would have to severely resist a proposal.

- Thompson: Some infrastructure and rail beds remain of old rail lines between Willimantic and Boston, no tracks however. Is a former junction town as well, and was on the Middle Post Road. However, is too rural to be anything more than just a stop. Any major construction would also be fiercely contested by locals. Is also heavily aligned towards Worcester/Boston/Mass. than Norwich/Hartford/Conn., more than ever now with people flocking southward from Mass. for cheap land, access to 395, and even some elements of a white flight from neighboring Webster. The only reason Conn. would put a line through here would be for the connection to Worcester. Pretty much all locals (including myself) would use the line to Worc. rather than into Conn.

The best locations to me would be Putnam or Killingly. Putnam would be great for the turn north towards Worcester, but Killingly (Danielson, but Dayville could also work) is seemingly at the crossroads of the region. It's halfway between Providence and Hartford, Worcester and Norwich. You could terminus at either one, you could extend from either to Worcester or Providence.

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As UP's resident I-395 Corridor member, here's my two cents on this.

LD, you really know your turf!

I kind of thought connecting Worcester to Hartford would be unrealistic concidering the peoulation base. Even of the proposed NH-H-S commuter rail is fully built out I see a connection between Springfield and Worcester the most likely route. And if you ever take the Highway between them you will find that the car or if gas gets too crazy the bus can travel in excess olf 80MPH most of the way to Boston. So the demand may never arise for a rail connection here and may even then never rival other modes.

A connection from Hartford to Norwich-New London-Casinos seems more likely, but since the govt has yet to get the $$ together to finish route 11 I severely doubt it. Also Rt2-11 almost never have enough traffic to discourage commuters. I have co-workers in Colechester that have the same commute time as I do from 8 miles out of Hartford along 384-84

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As UP's resident I-395 Corridor member, here's my two cents on this.

The major issue with the region is: it's more connected north-south than east-west, simply because of the routings of the highways. The towns along the RI border are very disconnected from the rest of the state, including the Hartford area, for the most part. A few people may venture that way, but most don't. Norwich or Worcester dominate the region's attention. In Putnam or Killingly, perhaps Plainfield and Sterling, Providence also becomes a factor.

If you built a train line between Hartford and _______ through Willimantic...

- Griswold: Jewett City would likely be the only destination a train would service. Too far south to make the turn towards Worcester from here. Too close to Norwich to be a terminus. The only way this would get service is if there was a line along 395.

- Plainfield: There's several issues with Plainfield. The most glaring is... where would a line go? There's two population centers in town: would it head south along 14A towards Plainfield Center. Or north along 14 towards Central Village and Moosup. Secondly: just which city does it connect with most? Seems like Norwich to me, especially in the Norwich vs. Worcester debate. It seems also out of the way between Hartford and Providence. Essentially Scotland and Canterbury would be open arms while one/more between Chaplin, Brooklyn, and Hampton would have to severely resist a proposal.

- Thompson: Some infrastructure and rail beds remain of old rail lines between Willimantic and Boston, no tracks however. Is a former junction town as well, and was on the Middle Post Road. However, is too rural to be anything more than just a stop. Any major construction would also be fiercely contested by locals. Is also heavily aligned towards Worcester/Boston/Mass. than Norwich/Hartford/Conn., more than ever now with people flocking southward from Mass. for cheap land, access to 395, and even some elements of a white flight from neighboring Webster. The only reason Conn. would put a line through here would be for the connection to Worcester. Pretty much all locals (including myself) would use the line to Worc. rather than into Conn.

The best locations to me would be Putnam or Killingly. Putnam would be great for the turn north towards Worcester, but Killingly (Danielson, but Dayville could also work) is seemingly at the crossroads of the region. It's halfway between Providence and Hartford, Worcester and Norwich. You could terminus at either one, you could extend from either to Worcester or Providence.

The North Airline Rail Trail would be nice for the trackage from Willimantic to Thompson Chaplin and Scotland could have station and so could Chaplin. In Thompson, it could either go to Douglas Franklin to Boston or it could go north on the P& W to Worcester. East Thompson was the site of the 4 train accident. A local freight and an express freight was put on the same track. The result of the head on crash was that the Eastern State Express (going to Portland Maine via Worcester), derailed and the the Norwich Steamboat express crashed into the ESE. Only 3 deaths with that accident.

Anyway, the casinos would like to buy the Midland for passenger service - and I know P&W, CSO and NEC would love to use it to. Penn Central illegally pulled up the track. Ella Grasso told them they couldn't, but one night they pulled it out. Ella wanted the tracks back but PennCentral filed bankruptcy. Truthfully, the railroad wasn't abandoned until 1990.

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LD, you really know your turf!

I kind of thought connecting Worcester to Hartford would be unrealistic concidering the peoulation base. Even of the proposed NH-H-S commuter rail is fully built out I see a connection between Springfield and Worcester the most likely route. And if you ever take the Highway between them you will find that the car or if gas gets too crazy the bus can travel in excess olf 80MPH most of the way to Boston. So the demand may never arise for a rail connection here and may even then never rival other modes.

A connection from Hartford to Norwich-New London-Casinos seems more likely, but since the govt has yet to get the $ together to finish route 11 I severely doubt it. Also Rt2-11 almost never have enough traffic to discourage commuters. I have co-workers in Colechester that have the same commute time as I do from 8 miles out of Hartford along 384-84

Well, most of the issues IIRC with Route 11 would be the red tape around environmental issues on the proposed routing. Apparently they were going to get funding to finally finish the thing off, or until *stuff* happened in the world.

Anyway... a Worcester to Hartford train would be nice. (I could be able to still work in Worcester and move to Hartford, if I wanted to.) But in order for this to work, it would have to fly along the corridor of I-84. Pretty much from Vernon east, the only stops would need/have to be in Tolland, Stafford Springs, Sturbridge, Charlton, and Auburn ... which makes life a lot easier. But if the Commonwealth seems to have a hard time fixing the T connection between Worcester and Framingham (I've done it before, it's painful) ... no reason even building out to Springfield or Hartford. Essentially, it's all long term thought or wishful dreaming. So many things have to happen, it'll take decades before we see it.

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Blue is the Springfield/Hartford/NH line

Red is East West commuter lines. Hartfords based on Waterbury-Bristol line extended through to Rockville

Green is just a line that exists and would serve the NW and with a little work connect Middletown/Portland

Yellow would be the Subway

SpringfieldTransit.jpg

HartfordTransit.jpg

Hartford Red line

Vernon 32,000

Manchester 58,000

East Hartford 50,000

Hartford 125,000

Newington 30,000

New Britain 72,000

Plainville 18,000

Bristol 61,000

Waterbury 109,000

Serving a population of 555,000 including Hartford

Springfield Red Line

Palmer MA 15,000

Wilbriham MA 14,000

Springfield 152,000

West Springfield 28,000

Westfield 43,000

Serving a population of 252,000 including Springfield

Hartford Green Line

Middletown 47,000

Cromwell 14,000

Rocky Hill 19,000

Wethersfield 27,000

Hartford 125,000

Bloomfield 20,000

Simsbury 24,000

Serving a population of 266,000 including Hartford

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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Red Line in Mass.? Help further connect the region? Not a bad idea.

Well to be honest I just added up the towns along that line and its not really all that great. I edited the numbers into my previous post.

Although I think you would need to include Hartfords population in the Hartford lines, and Springfields in the Springfield lines I worry about the net gain in ridership for Springfields red line and Hartfords Green Line.

Mind you this is just my fantasy piggybacking on the two existing plans.

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Well to be honest I just added up the towns along that line and its not really all that great. I edited the numbers into my previous post.

Although I think you would need to include Hartfords population in the Hartford lines, and Springfields in the Springfield lines I worry about the net gain in ridership for Springfields red line and Hartfords Green Line.

Mind you this is just my fantasy piggybacking on the two existing plans.

I think that the Green Line would actually do pretty well if marketed correctly and after the NHHS line is complete and successful and possibly the Waterbury-Hartford line.

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<LI class=t_lightness_0>Seems like trains are sexy talk right now.

I hope our government can get its act together and fund some rail projects.

http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article_li...=HBJTODAY#A5124

Conn. rail ridership shows strong increase (posted Today at 11:36am)

Rail ridership increased by nearly 1.4 million new riders on Shore Line East and New Haven Line rail service in 2007, marking across-the-board increases, according to the Connecticut Department of Transportation's latest annual rail ridership report. The New Haven Line experienced more than 1.3 million new passengers in 2007, nearly 4 percent over 2006. Shore Line East ridership increased 5.5 percent, or 25,000 more passenger rides in 2007. The SLE increase includes new riders on the inaugural holiday weekend service operated from November through December.

For the first two months of 2008, Connecticut intrastate ridership experienced double digit increases in certain markets on the New Haven Line. On Shore Line East in 2008, similar increases took place in January and February. This past January, SLE ridership increased 7.6 percent, and in February it rose more than 10 percent from 2007 ridership.

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OK, Forum. I'm merging the Busway thread into the Hartford - Waterbury commuter rail thread. Now is the time to act and let our voices be heard. I think we need to push for the rail connection to Waterbury to be implemented and that the busway idea be scrapped. The stations and land clearance process can still go ahead, but with an eye to using the rail right-of-way for rail. I think we should contact state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, co-chairman of the legislature's transportation committee who is quoted in the new article as:

"I've asked the DOT for details on what a rail line would cost, as a backup if the busway doesn't come to fruition," DeFronzo said. "The busway remains the top regional transportation priority, but there is some concern, and some skepticism, about whether the federal government will approve such a costly project."

Remember the Feds downgraded the busway to not recomended and rail is poised to be a focus of the new administration in DC. The political climate is as good as it will get to get the more ambitious project implemented. I encourage all of us who feel that the rail option is much more feasible to speak up. We need to write letters to the Courant and the Waterbury Republican and the local and state politicians. Maybe we can even make a blog site dedicated to Hartford - Waterbury Commuter Rail Service. Who is with me?

Hartford Courant

Courant.com

Transportation

DOT Seeking Input On Slow-Moving Busway

By JOSH KOVNER

The Hartford Courant

December 3, 2008

Conceived nearly a decade ago to reduce traffic on I-84, the proposed New Britain-to-Hartford busway remains on the drawing board.

The project's price tag, about $335 million a few years ago, has ballooned to $570 million; the completion date, originally 2006 or 2007, is now late 2013 at the earliest.

Much is riding on the busway

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OK, Forum. I'm merging the Busway thread into the Hartford - Waterbury commuter rail thread. Now is the time to act and let our voices be heard. I think we need to push for the rail connection to Waterbury to be implemented and that the busway idea be scrapped. The stations and land clearance process can still go ahead, but with an eye to using the rail right-of-way for rail. I think we should contact state Sen. Donald DeFronzo, D-New Britain, co-chairman of the legislature's transportation committee who is quoted in the new article as:

"I've asked the DOT for details on what a rail line would cost, as a backup if the busway doesn't come to fruition," DeFronzo said. "The busway remains the top regional transportation priority, but there is some concern, and some skepticism, about whether the federal government will approve such a costly project."

Remember the Feds downgraded the busway to not recomended and rail is poised to be a focus of the new administration in DC. The political climate is as good as it will get to get the more ambitious project implemented. I encourage all of us who feel that the rail option is much more feasible to speak up. We need to write letters to the Courant and the Waterbury Republican and the local and state politicians. Maybe we can even make a blog site dedicated to Hartford - Waterbury Commuter Rail Service. Who is with me?

Hartford Courant

Courant.com

Transportation

DOT Seeking Input On Slow-Moving Busway

By JOSH KOVNER

The Hartford Courant

December 3, 2008

Conceived nearly a decade ago to reduce traffic on I-84, the proposed New Britain-to-Hartford busway remains on the drawing board.

The project's price tag, about $335 million a few years ago, has ballooned to $570 million; the completion date, originally 2006 or 2007, is now late 2013 at the earliest.

Much is riding on the busway

Edited by MichaelQReilly

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You beat me to it HT. Is there anyone out there who still wants to contend with a straight face that the DOT is a complete joke? We would be far better off making this a rail line, considering that the rail right of way is ALREADY THERE!

We should contact the guy at www.ctsmartgrowth.com and get him on board with us.

I will be happy to write something up and I will definately call and e-mail and even snail mail if necc. this is seriously possibly the biggest mistake our reegion could make, or the biggest step forward.

I almost said something to the mayor this morning about it.

I should have, but whatever.

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I will definitely be sending letters out and making some phone calls. I think we can drum up popular support for this if we really try. We need to get some letters published in the local papers and make the debate between a new rail proposal and the busway take center stage in the media. We know the media loves a soap opera, so I say let's try to give them one.

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I will definitely be sending letters out and making some phone calls. I think we can drum up popular support for this if we really try. We need to get some letters published in the local papers and make the debate between a new rail proposal and the busway take center stage in the media. We know the media loves a soap opera, so I say let's try to give them one.

How would you like to organize, HT?

I think one great thing that could be done is contact all potentially interested parties and get everyone on the same page.

if we can patch several organizations together it would be a start. then as a coalition approach the media and the state and the VP elect.

there has to be some kind of pro rail lobby, lets find out and contact everyone.

right now I can come up with a short list, if anyone has more, please provide and if you can include contacts.

The mayor of NB, Hartford, waterbury, Bristol.....

Hartfords train station

NH Hartford Springfield commuter rail

every smart growth group out there

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How would you like to organize, HT?

I think one great thing that could be done is contact all potentially interested parties and get everyone on the same page.

if we can patch several organizations together it would be a start. then as a coalition approach the media and the state and the VP elect.

there has to be some kind of pro rail lobby, lets find out and contact everyone.

right now I can come up with a short list, if anyone has more, please provide and if you can include contacts.

The mayor of NB, Hartford, waterbury, Bristol.....

Hartfords train station

NH Hartford Springfield commuter rail

every smart growth group out there

Those are all things that I think we should be doing. We all should write letters to Rep. Larson and CT Speaker Amman as well. I will write my local state senators and reps, whom I actually know pretty well and write a letter to send to the papers on my personal behalf. I think we should all speak out personally and as a group about it and there are definitely pro-rail groups out there that would be helpful. I will do some research tonight. There is a meeting at 6:30 tonight at the West Harford Public Library on New Britain Ave. that I may try to swing by, I'm not sure yet. This is something that we could really potentially influence, so I am definitely going to try to put my two cents in and hope someone who matters in all this responds.

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The busway is a project that was created by using no vision. It would be a huge mistake to build something so limited. The New Haven to Springfield rail should be done first, then branches should follow. Waterbury should get involved in derailing this project. I've yet to hear anyone support the busway. Paving over the rail bed would be an amazing mistake in this era of mass transit. Also, ctrapidtransit.com freezes my browser. Make your voice heard in person:

December 3rd, 2008 -

6:30 to 8:30PM

Public Information Meeting

Faxon Branch Library

1073 New Britain Avenue, West Hartford

December 4th, 2008 -

6:30 to 8:30PM

Public Information Meeting

Union Station

One Union Place, Hartford

December 8th, 2008 -

6:30 to 8:30PM

Public Information Meeting

Newington Town Hall, Helen Nelson Room

131 Cedar Street, Newington

December 9th, 2008 -

6:30 to 8:30PM

Public Information Meeting

New Britain City Hall, Room 504

27 West Main Street, New Britain

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Hartford Courant

Courant.com

YOUR LETTERS

Commuter Rail: Better Use Of Funds

December 12, 2008

I have reached the conclusion that the New Britain-Hartford busway should not be built [Our View editorial, Dec. 6, "Remember The Busway?"]. It has taken too long and is too costly and far too limited in terms of public transit and smart growth.

Instead, the state Department of Transportation should focus its limited personnel and resources on getting the New Haven-to-Springfield commuter rail service "shovel-ready." This would make the project a candidate for inclusion in the incoming Obama administration's infrastructure/ economic stimulus plan.

Linking Hartford to New York City and Boston should be Connecticut's top priority for transit, urban renewal, economic development and smart growth.

Once accomplished, the DOT should work in concert with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the rail company that operates freight service between Waterbury and Berlin to extend the existing MTA Waterbury Branch Line service to Hartford through Bristol, Plainville and New Britain. That is a smarter use of our limited transportation dollars.

I am very skeptical that travelers would use the busway as an alternative to a congested I-84.

Residents from Waterbury to Plainville might use commuter rail service if they could leave their cars or be dropped off at a station in their towns. But more important, I am confident that the people of Hartford, West Hartford, Newington, Berlin, New Britain, Plainville and Bristol would use the service to travel to New York City for business and pleasure.

The DOT has not persuaded me, my constituents and my legislative colleagues that the busway makes sense.

David McCluskey, State Representative, D-West Hartford

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Hartford Courant

Courant.com

Mass Transit

State Officials To Consider Upgrades To Rail Service

By DON STACOM

The Hartford Courant

January 3, 2009

Just 11 years ago, then-Gov. John Rowland's administration wanted to abandon the Waterbury-to-Bridgeport rail line, where passengers were scarce, service was infrequent and the equipment was notoriously decrepit.

Today, the route is the fastest-growing branch of Metro-North's Connecticut system.

The 27-mile line figures to become a key measure of whether state officials are willing to invest in mass transit during the nation's economic slump. Legislators could decide as early as this year whether Connecticut should pump money into upgrading its infrastructure.

Approving those improvements would bolster the case for a more ambitious, long-term rail project, according to a key lawmaker. Rep. David McCluskey, co-chairman of the General Assembly's Transportation Committee, sees modernizing the Waterbury branch as a step toward refurbishing the barely used Waterbury-to-Berlin line to create a new commuter link between Waterbury and Hartford.

A three-year boost in ridership on the Waterbury branch

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