Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Connecticut's stimulus funds target Danbury Branch

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Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell says the Nutmeg State will expand a planned signal upgrade of Metro-North Railroad’s Danbury Branch to cover the entire 24 miles of the line. Connecticut will use federal stimulus funds to do so; the entire project is projected to cost $53 million, including $30 million in stimulus funds.

Rell said the original plan called for installing Centralized Train Control on just eight miles of the branch, between Norwalk and Wilton, Conn. The Federal Transit Administration already has approved the project, which will allow Metro-North’s Control Center in Grand Central Terminal to oversee operations on the entire branch.

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“Upgrading this system will ultimately mean better, safer, more reliable service for the thousands of commuters who depend on the Danbury Branch to get to and from work,” Rell said. “That is key to our effort to encourage greater use of public transportation and reduce congestion on ourroads and highways. Improving the commuting and business climate improves our economy.”

Metro-North forces will perform the initial work, with  a contract expected to be issued to a private-sector contractor in 2010 by Connecticut’s Department of Transportation. Completion is expected by the end of 2011.

The Danbury Branch runs from its namesake city to South Norwalk, where it joins with Metro-North’s New Haven Line.