Transit planners are in the middle of a two-year study of the Waterbury branch, and are scheduled to recommend this summer whether to make minor enhancements, drastic improvements or no changes. They also might propose a complete overhaul by converting the right of way into a busway or light rail route.
Metro-North has gradually beefed up service on the route, but Naugatuck Valley commuters have insisted that ridership would rocket if the schedule were expanded. There's no simple way to add trains, the railroad says, because the relatively antiquated line is already maxxed out at morning and afternoon rush hours. Only one train at a time can operate because there are no signals and only a single set of tracks with nowhere for oncoming trains to pass. Also, the branch can accommodate only diesel service, so Metro-North can't pull trains from its heavily traveled and electrified New Haven-to- Manhattan main line.
Very interesting. As we've learned from Noel Weaver over on the Danbury CTC thread shown below, Waterbury was once a highly used double-track line. This could become an alternate route to Hartford / West Hartford if they also pursue reactivating the line to Berlin from W'Bury. I don't think they'll convert to LRT or BRT. I could see sidings and CTC being installed if they don't study the line to death. Forget electrification, BiggAW (who I am convinced is Systems Consciousness in disguise) will get his M-8's for SLE before that happens.
I'd like to see them rename the branch the Naugy, too.
Noel Weaver wrote:At one time the Waterbury was a better railroad than the Danbury was. Even though the Danbury had the wires the Waterbury was fully double track until 1950 and double track as far as Ansonia or rather a point somewhat east (railroad direction at the time) of Ansonia. This part of the second track came out between Ansonia and Derby Junction as a result of the August 19, 1955 floods. The CTC on the Maybrook Line was removed by Conrail sometime in 1979. I have the B/O on this somewhere here but it is not handy right now. Even after the second track was pulled up, they had decent sidings at
Naugatuck, Beacon Falls and Seymour for the purpose of making meets. Again, I would have to get into old timetables to determine just when these old sidings came out but I suspect it was either Conrail or Metro-North that removed them. Another thing about the Waterbury Line is the relatively few road crossings that exist. One in Waterbury, the next one between Ansonia and Derby and two or three between Derby Junction and Devon. There is more than this on the Danbury
Branch just in Norwalk alone. Back in the 1940's there was a lot of railroading on the Naugy (Waterbury Branch to most of you).