Category Archives: Connecticut

Waterbury Branch In Serious Trouble

Before the General Assembly started its short session this week, members of the Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments had a message for local legislators.

“The state of Connecticut is going to fall apart completely unless we can find a way to address transportation and, specifically, railroad improvements,” said Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess during a rail summit he hosted Feb. 2 at Town Hall.

The purpose of the summit, Hess said, was to provide area legislators with information to fight for funding for improvements on the Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad and transportation in general. The line runs from Waterbury to Bridgeport through the Naugatuck Valley.


Many officials in New York State Government have joined in proposing a Hyperloop between Stewart Airport and New York City. We are also proposing Revising the “Beacon Line” which runs from Poughkeepsie area to Connecticut. We will also be running a new railroad from West Trenton, New Jersey (which will cross the Hudson River) near Poughkeepsie.

To make this line work, we will need improvements in Connecticut rails.

Any questions on Stewart Hyperloop or revised Beacon Line, Contact Ken Kinlock


Gov. Malloy Pushes for Inland Route

Trains In The Valley

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy pens strong letter of support for the establishment of New Haven—Springfield—Boston passenger service on the Inland Route.

In his letter, Malloy asks that Gov. Baker advance the necessary planning and engineering work that would be required to establish the service.

He also asks for the project to be added to the updated Massachusetts State Rail Plan, which is current being prepared by MassDOT.

Gov. Malloy’s letter follows a letter of support — for both expanded service on the Knowledge Corridor and East-West rail — sent by Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman Richard Neal back in November 2016.

In a related development, the Worcester City Council on Tuesday evening called for a regional transportation summit to look at improved passenger rail service from Worcester to Boston, and to Springfield, eastern Connecticut, and New York City.

Returning passenger service on the route between Boston and New Haven via Springfield, a service that was recommended in the recently completed Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative (NNEIRI) study, is not a small project.

Moving this project forward requires the support of Gov. Baker, who until now has been reluctant to say much of anything on this topic. Additionally, state and federal funding for the required planning and engineering work would need to be identified and secured.

Is Connecticut’s transportation funding crisis real?

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said last week that the state’s transportation system is facing a crisis because revenue from taxes on gasoline are sinking as vehicles get better mileage, and people use less gas.

His Transportation Commissioner told state lawmakers back in February that the “Special Transportation Fund” was headed toward insolvency in 2020. Last week, he said this would make it difficult for the state to borrow money for road, bridge and rail projects.

The Governor said cutbacks and fare hikes would be needed soon, but a Republican State Senator that serves on the legislature’s Transportation Committee says the numbers do not tell that story.

Numbers from the Department of Transportation actually show that gasoline consumption has actually increased over the past few years. There’s a slight decrease this year, but over the past five years it’s gone up about 50 million gallons.

Related Content: Gov. Malloy, News 8’s Mark Davis have animated exchange on transportation

Sen. Len Suzio (R-Meriden) says the real problem is that transportation spending has gone way up. The Malloy administration admits there are more transportation projects in the pipeline because so much of the infrastructure needs to be replaced.

The administration also says that projections show that receipts from the gas tax won’t keep up with inflation and higher interest rates on borrowing.

Thoughts On Connecticut Freight Railroads

In a great attempt to bring back the capabilities of the old New Haven Railroad, the State of Connecticut has developed a STATE RAIL PLAN:

The Providence & Worster (former NY and New Haven Railroad) and the New England Central(Central Vermont/Canadian National) are owned by the same company, Genesee and Wyoming. The P & W , successor to the New Haven Railroad , is alive and appears to be doing very well.

Most of the smaller Connecticut Railroads are doing as well as expected. The Housatonic Railroad (coming from New York State) needs help once they enter Connecticut. A plan is developing to bring that about:

Aside from all of this, there are several comments recently on CSX.

Maybe CSX needs to sell out in Western Connecticut? Put ownership with P&W or Housatonic?

What are your thoughts?

What Railroads Connected With Maybrook Yard?

The Maybrook Line was a line of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad which connected with its Waterbury Branch in Derby, Connecticut, and its Maybrook Yard in Maybrook, New York, where it interchanged with other carriers. It was the main east-west freight route of the New Haven until its merger with the Penn Central in 1969.

After the New York and New England Railroad succeeded merging with the Newburgh, Dutchess and Connecticut Railroad at Hopewell Junction en route to the Fishkill Ferry station, they sought to expand traffic onto the newly built Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge in order to move goods to the other side of the Hudson River, and the Central New England Railway was perfectly willing to provide a connection. The CNE line was originally chartered as the Dutchess County Railroad in 1889 and ran southeast from the bridge to Hopewell Junction, and was operational on May 8, 1892. The line was absorbed by the CNE in 1907, and eventually merged into the New Haven Railroad in 1927. Passenger service was phased out beginning in the 1930s, the same decade the New Haven Railroad faced crippling bankruptcy. Later financial troubles in the 1950s and 1960s led to its eventual acquisition by Penn Central Railroad in 1969.

Upon taking ownership, the Penn Central began discouraging connecting traffic on the line that paralleled Penn Central routes for the rest of its journey to prevent it from being short-hauled. After 1971 only one train in each direction (for the Erie Lackawanna) traversed the full line.

Through service over the line ended abruptly in 1974 when the Poughkeepsie Bridge burned and was not repaired.

Maybrook Yard was where freight cars were interchanged between railroads from the west and the New Haven, whose Maybrook Line headed east over the Poughkeepsie Bridge to the railroad’s main freight yard, Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven, Connecticut.

To handle the traffic the yard was dramatically expanded in 1912 to three miles in length with six separate yards including two hump yards. A new 10-stall roundhouse with a 95-foot turntable replaced the original and was later expanded to 27 stalls. Also added was a large icing plant for refrigerator cars. At its height, the yard had 177 tracks totaling over 71 track-miles.

For much of its existence six class I railroads interchanged traffic at the yard with the New Haven Railroad. In 1956 the yard saw 19 arrivals and 18 departures of which 14 were operated by the New Haven, eight by the Lehigh and Hudson River Railway, seven by the Erie Railroad, four by the New York, Ontario and Western Railway, two by the Lehigh and New England Railroad and two by the New York Central Railroad. Rail service is still provided to customers in Maybrook by the Middletown and New Jersey Railroad on tracks owned by Norfolk Southern.

In 1993, Conrail pulled out of the Danbury area, selling all the track to Maybrook Properties. Freight traffic was rerouted on the Albany-Boston Line, turning south at Springfield, Mass., to New Haven, ending significant freight traffic on the Beacon-to-Danbury Line.

All evidence of Maybrook yard is now gone but for a single track coming from Campbell Hall.

The Erie Railroad brought in 500 cars each day, the O&W brought in 180 cars a day, the Lehigh and Hudson 400 cars a day, the Lehigh and New England 140 cars a day. New Jersey Central would send trains here, as well.

The trains would uncouple their cars in the receiving yard, be classified by destination and recoupled into trains heading into New England.


Guest Post by Ken Kinlock

Getting There: 700-mph Hyperloop, third-rail ban, billion-dollar bridge and other transportation updates

Ct Post By Jim Cameron

In July, I wrote about tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s idea to build a 700-mph tube system to whisk passengers from Washington to New York in 29 minutes. Using a combination of a near-vacuum and linear induction motors, I noted that Musk has yet to build a working full-scale prototype, and called him “the PT Barnum of technology,” offering “more hype than hope.”

At the time, Musk had just gone public after a meeting at the White House, saying he’d been given “approval” to start boring giant tunnels for his project. I scoffed at the notion, but have been proven wrong.

Sure enough, a reader recently informed me that Maryland’s governor has given Musk permission to start digging 10 miles of tunnels under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to eventually link the two cities. Boring will cost up to $1 billion a mile. So, though I remain skeptical of Hyperloop’s future, I stand corrected.

In October, I wrote about our state’s complex electric system to power Metro-North. In Connecticut, those trains rely on overhead catenary to get power, but in Westchester County and into Grand Central, the trains convert to third rail.

Given the perennial problems with the overhead wires, both old and new, I explained why converting to a third-rail system in Connecticut didn’t make sense: the trains would accelerate slower and we would still need catenary for Amtrak.

What I didn’t know was that third-rail power was banned by the state Supreme Court in 1906 after a center-track third rail power system installed by the New Haven Railroad resulted in several electrocutions near Hartford.

Clearly, the third-rail power system in use today is much safer than the one experimented with a century ago, but in this land of steady habits, overturning that ban might be a challenge.

In October, I wrote about our state’s complex electric system to power Metro-North. In Connecticut, those trains rely on overhead catenary to get power, but in Westchester County and into Grand Central, the trains convert to third rail.

Given the perennial problems with the overhead wires, both old and new, I explained why converting to a third-rail system in Connecticut didn’t make sense: the trains would accelerate slower and we would still need catenary for Amtrak.

What I didn’t know was that third-rail power was banned by the state Supreme Court in 1906 after a center-track third rail power system installed by the New Haven Railroad resulted in several electrocutions near Hartford.

Clearly, the third-rail power system in use today is much safer than the one experimented with a century ago, but in this land of steady habits, overturning that ban might be a challenge.

Preliminary work to replace the 121-year-old Walk Bridge in South Norwalk continues apace, even as local elections have turned the project into a political hot-potato. Some oppose the cost and disruption of replacing the swing bridge with a two-section lift bridge while others, more nostalgic, want the new bridge to resemble the old. Those proposing a fixed bridge, effectively closing the Norwalk River to commercial boat traffic, are keeping their hopes alive even though the state DOT has rejected that idea.

Rumors that construction of the new bridge might require demolition of the Norwalk Aquarium’s IMAX theater seem to have been confirmed. But the real heavy construction won’t begin until 2019, so there’s plenty of time to catch a movie.

Amazon Fresh is shutting down in some neighborhoods, including ones in Connecticut

Amazon is pulling the plug on Fresh, its grocery delivery service, in parts of nine states throughout the country. So, if you live in certain parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and California, you’re out of luck.

Maybe you are IN LUCK! You can do better in Connecticut with Stew Leonards

But if you live in major cities, like New York City, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, it seems that you’ll still be able to access Fresh, an Amazon spokesperson told us.

The shutdown of Fresh in some parts of the country comes a few months after Amazon bought Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, though, Amazon said what’s happening with Fresh is unrelated to the acquisition. Just last month, Amazon announced the impending shut down of Wine, which originally launched in late 2012.

Stew Leonard’s now delivers groceries to your home

In all the places I have ever lived, the best place to buy your groceries was in Connecticut. STEW LEONARD’s

Sick and tired of how you can get verything you ever wanted
delivered to you by AMAZON and WAL*MART

If you are a fan of Stew Leonard’s, then we have got some good news.

You will now be able to get your groceries delivered right to your door. The grocery store has launched a new service called ‘Stew’s Fresh Delivery.’

The chain announced that every Stew Leonard’s, including the stores in Norwalk, Danbury and Newington will deliver.

But, you will have to live within a 20 or 30 minute drive of the Stew Leonard’s store to be eligible for delivery. (that covers a lot in a small state).

Hope the local media in their area will support them rather than give free advertising to Amazon, Wal*Mart (and Apple)

Rail Freight Thru Connecticut

A few years ago Jon Melnick, a transportation planner with the New York City Transit Authority, published an article about travel from Delaware to Connecticut not using AMTRAK. He took two days and 22 buses to travel from Newark, Delaware to Old Saybrook, Connecticut. We discussed how to continue on towards Boston.

2017 Update: Still no connection between Shore Line East and Providence, Rhode Island!

news article: “Feds drop Old Saybrook-to-Rhode Island bypass from final rail plan”


Then we began to expand on our plans for: (1) bridge across Hudson River between Poughkeepsie and Beacon; (2) revival of Beacon Line” from Beacon to Harlem Division, Danbury and Connecticut. So where do we go in Connecticut? The “Maybrook Line” which preceeded the “Beacon Line” before the Great Bridge at Poughkeepsie burned.


We put together a WebSite on the freight railroads of Connecticut

Then we got copy of the Connecticut State Rail Plan.


Amtrak owns the corridor that runs between Springfield, Massachusetts and New Haven, Connecticut. This segment is one of the federally designated high-speed rail corridors.

The Boston and Albany route through Springfield toward Boston is a heavily congested freight route operated by CSX. It experiences between sixteen and eighteen freight trains per day.

Amtrak owns the 70 – mile segment along the Connecticut shoreline between
New Haven and the Rhode Island state line . The segment is primarily 2 – tracks with passing sidings near Guilford, Old Saybrook, and Groton
Connecticut, like other states, struggles with the mounting costs of maintaining its highway infrastructure. A single intermodal freight train can carry the same load as 500 trucks . Nationally,
freight shippers would have to add 50 million additional trucks on the roadways.

Encouraging and supporting approaches that maximize the amount of freight that moves by rail while minimizing tonnage moving over state highways will help reduce wear and maintenance costs on the state’s road system.
Railroads are the most fuel – efficient means of surface transportation, and are becoming more efficient and “green” at a much faster rate than long – haul trucking. Moving freight by rail
reduces the consumption of diesel fuel, reduces heavy truck traffic, and reduces carbon emissions.

The railroad track structure allows for the passage of wildlife and only experiences traffic a few times per day, as opposed to roads and highways, which see nearly constant movement of vehicles.

Unlike public transit and the public highway network, the rail freight industry is operated by the private sector for profit. There are ten privately owned freight railroad companies operating in Connecticut
These companies own most of the rail freight infrastructure in the state
and all of the rail freight equipment operating within the state.

Housatonic Railroad Company (HRRC) is a regional short line that operates in the western part of Connecticut along the Berkshire Line (50.0 miles), and to Derby/Shelton via its Maybrook Line (33.5 miles)
and in western Massachusetts. HRRC owns the southern 13.6 miles of the Berkshire Line between Boardman’s Bridge and Brookfield, as well as the Maybrook Line to Derby.HRRC interchanges with CSX in
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and has the potential to interchange with CSX in Beacon, New York.

The HRRC has an opportunity to interchange with Pan Am Southern Railway in Derby, should the potential for this particular routing present itself.
HRRC operates trains between Pittsfield and Canaan on Monday through Friday, and between Canaan and New Milford on Sunday through Thursday.
It operates a local switching operation in the New Milford -Danbury
– Newtown area on Monday through Friday. There are switching yards
in N. Canaan, New Milford, Danbury, and Hawleyville/Newtown, along with
and an engine and railcar maintenance facility in Canaan.

P&W provides local freight service from Milford to Derby

In Connecticut, CSX operates nearly 70 miles of railroad and maintains 11 public and private grade crossings. In 2009, CSX handled more than 9,500 carloads of freight and employed
seven people in Connecticut. Products shipped include lumber, municipal and construction waste, plywood, limestone, and wood
pulp. CSX has a TRANSFLO terminal in North Haven that provides transloading (transfers of freight between railcars and trucks),
materials management, and logistics services