Shore Line East Cuts Service Starting Sept. 5 for Rail Work

Shore Line East at New London (CC BY-SA 3.0)


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The Connecticut Department of Transportation announced yesterday that Shore Line East will operate fewer trains and change train departure times starting Tuesday, Sept. 5, to accommodate track work – giving commuters a short window to adjust their plans for transportation. 

On weekdays, the new schedule will operate 14 trains between New Haven Union Station and New London Station and two trains will run between New Haven Union Station and Old Saybrook Station, according to a release from the Department of Transportation. 

On the previous schedule, 22 trains operated on weekdays between New Haven Union Station and New London Station, and two trains ran between New Haven Union Station and Old Saybrook Station with a connecting bus to and from New London.

On weekends, the new schedule has been decreased from 16 to 14 trains per day between New Haven Union Station and New London Station, and more trains will stop at Madison Station, according to the department. 

The track work is needed for the Amtrak Fitter Interlocking Project, which will construct a “new, wired universal interlocking in Clinton” to subdivide a 16-mile segment into two and “allow single track operation over a shorter distance during maintenance with less operational disruption,” according to a Northeast Corridor Commission project list

The construction work is “anticipated to be completed before the end of December 2023,” according to the department’s release.  

“When completed, the project will improve Amtrak’s ability to do maintenance on the tracks with less impact on service,” said Josh Morgan, spokesman for the Connecticut Dept. of Transportation in an email on Thursday. “While the State of Connecticut provides funding to operate the Shore Line East, Amtrak owns and controls the Northeast Corridor east of New Haven. Working on the railroad is dangerous and safety and reliability improvements cannot happen at the same time trains are passing through the territory, which is why these schedule adjustments were made.”

Amtrak will honor Shore Line East multi-ride tickets on select Amtrak trains, but ticket holders must reserve a seat using Amtrak’s Ride Reserve program via Amtrak’s mobile app or on Amtrak’s RideReserve site. Check the new Shore Line East schedule for Amtrak train times. 

“We understand any schedule change can impact our Shore Line East riders. Therefore, we requested that Amtrak expand the number of cross-honor trains through this project to ensure we are meeting the needs of our riders. Thanks to Amtrak’s partnership, customers can ride certain Amtrak trains with their normal Shore Line East ticket,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Bureau Chief of Public Transportation Benjamin Limmer, in a release.

Jim Gildea, chair of the Connecticut Commuter Rail Council, said the rail’s communication process with commuters was not sufficient. 

“Simply put, providing commuters less than one week’s notice to make alternative travel plans does not meet reasonable standards,” Gildea said Thursday. 

In May, Gildea described the legislature’s FY24 budget cuts to Shore Line East that will bring the line to 44 percent of pre-COVID service levels as “catastrophic” for long term viability of the line, and had called for 100 percent restoration of service in January. 

“Sadly, this is just a precursor and an early glimpse of what the upcoming budget cuts will do to the service based upon the recently enacted budget by the legislature,” he told CT Examiner. 

However, Gildea said the work being done to the line was necessary and “unfortunately a necessary part of having a best in class rail system.” 

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