Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Connecticut touts New Haven Line aid

Written by 

Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy on Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, announced that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) will oversee a $10 million project to upgrade Metro-North Railroad's power supply for the New Haven Line, the most heavily-used stretch of passenger railroad in North America.

The project is being emphasized as one seeking to prevent the kind of power failure –deemed "catastrophic" by Connecticut—that seriously disrupted New Haven Line service last year.

Gov. Malloy also announced his plans to meet with the new President of Metro-North, Joe Giulietti, and with MTA Chairman and CEO Thomas Prendergast, on Feb. 13, to discuss operational concerns on the New Haven Line. The New Haven Line carried a daily average of more than 106,000 riders in 2013, according to MTA records.

"In anticipation of adding even more service on this state owned rail corridor, we want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible and prevent the major system interruptions that we experienced in September," Malloy said in a statement.

Metro-North will manage the project in conjunction with Connecticut Light & Power (CL&P), which has been contracted to do the work and will install new transformers to replace four aging transformers to ensure reliability and safe operation of the electric supply that powers New Haven Line trains, as well as Amtrak Northeast Corridor trains traveling on much of the route between New York and Boston.

CL&P and Metro-North have developed an accelerated schedule for replacing two transformers. Replacement of the first transformer began Monday and is expected to be completed within 16 days. Replacement of the second transformer will begin immediately thereafter and be finished by Mid-March.

One New York-area rail advocate, while welcoming Connecticut’s announcement and the effort, notes the New Haven Line, particularly the portion within Connecticut itself, has traditionally been underfunded relative to other Metro-North infrastructure, though funding has improved in recent years.