Monday, April 7, 2014

Connecticut Seeks Providers for New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Passenger Rail Service

(SOURCE: Newswire)

HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut will seek proposals from companies to begin operating New Haven-Hartford-Springfield passenger service in 2016. The announcement comes this week from the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

"Like the I-95 corridor across southern Connecticut, the I-91 corridor through the center of Connecticut is a vital artery for economic development and jobs growth," Gov. Malloy says. "Enhancing commuter rail service between New Haven and Springfield will benefit commuters and their employers, and will reduce traffic congestion by taking cars off the road, with the added bonus of reduced pollution."

"As the gateway to New England, the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail program will also facilitate improved service to Massachusetts, Vermont and eventually Montreal," the governor adds. "New train service will connect communities, generate sustainable economic growth, help build energy independence, and provide links to travel corridors and markets within and beyond the region."

The Connecticut Department of Transportation will be seeking proposals in the next 6-12 months. Current service is provided by Amtrak, which also owns the line.

“The state of Connecticut believes that the benefits to the customers of our new service can best be realized in the marketplace. We intend to issue a Request for Proposals that will invite state-of-the-art, proven strategies for the highest quality operations, customer service and maintenance,” DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker says in a letter to Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman. “While federal and state statutes drive open competition, the importance of competition to high-quality service is equally or more important.”

The letter to Amtrak concludes with, “We appreciate the long-standing favorable relationship the Department and Amtrak enjoy, and we encourage Amtrak to pursue this new opportunity with us.”

Commissioner Redeker also says that Amtrak will remain responsible for existing services on the line.

The proposed passenger service will operate at speeds up to 110 mph, cutting travel time between Springfield and New Haven to as little as 73 minutes, according to the state. Travelers at New Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Springfield will be able to board trains about every 30 minutes during the peak morning and evening rush hour and hourly during the rest of day, with direct or connecting service to New York City and multiple frequencies to Boston or Vermont (via Springfield). Future stations also are planned at North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield.

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