If approved, the NHHS project would improve performance on a 62 mile stretch of Amtrak-owned rail, most significantly by double-tracking roughly 35 miles of the corridor and upgrading the line to accommodate maximum train speeds of up to 110mph. Double-tracking allows more frequent train service and reduced travel times by making space for two locomotives traveling in opposite directions simultaneously. Assuming the timely completion of the environmental review process, ConnDOT expects 17 daily round trip trains in the corridor beginning in 2016. There are currently between six and eight round trips daily.
This service increase, which could expand to 25 daily round trips by 2030, will establish a true commuter rail network throughout central Connecticut and lay the groundwork for transit-oriented development along the line. Connecticut has already begun to identify the potential for transit-oriented growth along the corridor. In fact, many of the state’s transit-oriented development grants, announced last year, were targeted to municipalities along the NHHS corridor. The environmental review also includes plans for station improvements and four new regional rail stations at Enfield, West Hartford, Newington, and North Haven, and the NHHS project will integrate into the New Britain-Hartford Busway project in the Capitol Region, which is scheduled to begin construction on May 22nd.
According to project documents, the improved NHHS line will bring economic and environmental benefits to the region.
- Create 12,590 construction and related jobs;
- Increase annual trips on the line by 1.26 million by 2030; and
- Save more than 3.5 million gallons of fuel each year.
Tri-State has long supported the NHHS project and plans to submit comments on its environmental assessment in the coming weeks. Three public hearings have been scheduled, and comments can be submitted to Mark.W.Alexander@ct.gov.