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Faster trains, new stations part of 15-year Northeast passenger rail revamp

Passenger trains pass through an industrial area in West Haven.
Tyler Russell
Connecticut Public
Over the next 15 years, an estimated 400 miles of signals will be replaced, 1,600 track miles will be rehabilitated and 730,000 ties will be replaced on the Northeast corridor's rail system.

Work will soon commence on a 15-year plan to upgrade rails along the Northeast corridor.

The plan is called CONNECT 37 and was laid out by the Northeast Corridor Commission, which helps operate the region’s rail system. It will invest about $175 billion in improving the rail lines.

The plan, and its funding, are results of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill.

Improving the state’s rail system will be an overall economic driver, bringing in more companies and community investment, Gov. Ned Lamont said.

“Every single business I talked to, says, 'A: Do I have the workforce?' And we have people moving into the state, make it easier for people to move into the state,” Lamont said. “'B: will there be housing?' So people can, you know, live near where they work, or easy to get to rail so they get to and from.”

The plan will bring to Connecticut about 100,000 new jobs and billions of dollars in rail improvements, including additional stops in Northern Connecticut and faster trains.

Lamont was joined for a panel discussion in Stamford by Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner, Metro North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi, Federal Railroad Administrator Amit Bose and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto.

Abigail Brone
Connecticut Public
Lamont (right) in a meeting January 29, 2024, in a meeting with transportation officials touted the rail improvements as an economic driver.

Bose asked residents to keep the ongoing projects in mind throughout the upcoming years.

“These projects do take time to complete. We're also going to be doing these projects on an active railroad here, because we don't want to stop that service,” Bose said.

As part of the rail upgrades there will be an increase of 50% more Amtrak trips from Boston to New York City and 51 more Metro-North trips from New Haven to New York’s Penn Station.

State lines will also be increased along the Waterbury and Hartford lines, which saw particular ridership growth during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of 15 years, an estimated 400 miles of signals will be replaced, 1,600 track miles will be rehabilitated and 730,000 ties will be replaced.

Abigail is Connecticut Public's housing reporter, covering statewide housing developments and issues, with an emphasis on Fairfield County communities. She received her master's from Columbia University in 2020 and graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2019. Abigail previously covered statewide transportation and the city of Norwalk for Hearst Connecticut Media. She loves all things Disney and cats.