Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by NH2060
Seeing as the last of the new stations is nearing completion and the first of the proposed "expansion" projects for Branford, Madison, and Clinton are well underway I think a separate thread for these 3 as a whole is appropriate.

here's a video posted over a week ago with some footage of the Branford expansion from this past fall:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIcLzeSKhSQ" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Has there been any renewed movement on Clinton 2nd platform funding and design? Branford and Madison seem to be more or less churning on some sort of set schedule, but not Clinton.
  by NH2060
Posted by the Courant on Friday. More details in the article (with fair use quote):
The state is in the midst of adding 100 parking spaces at the Guilford station and extending its platform from 40 feet to 200. At the Branford station, workers will be building a new platform and a pedestrian bridge later in the year.

http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut ... story.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by NH2060
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:Has there been any renewed movement on Clinton 2nd platform funding and design? Branford and Madison seem to be more or less churning on some sort of set schedule, but not Clinton.
Construction on the Clinton platform set to begin some time this year:
http://www.middletownpress.com/governme ... -expansion" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by YamaOfParadise
It's great that this finally materialized; too late for me to take much advantage of, as I won't be commuting somewhere along SLE by the time the Clinton platform is constructed, but it's still good that it's finally happening. I imagine the fact that since Unilever shuttered Chesebrough Ponds in 2012 and thereby vacated the parking on the north side of the tracks, probably helped getting the platform ready for construction... but that still sucks that the plant closed.

I'm through these areas fairly frequently, so I can probably post updates and pictures of the construction of all three of these when it happens, given I remember to come Spring.
  by ebtmikado
There's no evidence of any work being done at Madison.
All the article said about Madison was lengthening the platform.
There was no mention of the northside platform.
Lee Carlson.
  by NH2060
The new Branford platform might not open until next year:
According to Paul Andruskiewicz, the state Department of Transportation construction project engineer, there have been unforeseen delays in the project.

“December 18 is the current scheduled completion day but they will most likely not meet it,” Andruskiewicz said.

http://www.nhregister.com/general-news/ ... r-december" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
  by Jeff Smith
New Haven Independent
Soft Opening Today for Two-Way Branford Train Station

After delays due to site problems, winter weather, elevator parts, and, most recently, the Train Approach Messaging System (TAMS), the actual train moment arrives today.

As of 6 a.m. today the orange cones and caution tape at the head of the Kiss & Go drive on Kirkham Street were removed and passengers will have access to the north side of the Branford Train Station.

But access does not mean access to northbound trains. Not quite yet.

DOT Transportation Engineer Paul Andruskiewicz said Thursday morning that a ribbon cutting has not yet been scheduled and that it will take a week or two for Amtrak to schedule the trains traveling north.
  by ebtmikado
Shore Line East trains, like all trains on the Northeast Corridor between Boston an Zoo (Philadelphia)
operate EAST-WEST, not north-south.

  by Jeff Smith
CT Portal Press Releases

Public use exemption for full quote: Gov. Malloy Announces New Platform Opening at Branford Station on Shore Line East

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commission James P. Redeker and other state and local officials today marked the completion of a new platform at the Branford railroad station on Shore Line East - the commuter rail line between New Haven and New London. Trains are scheduled to begin utilizing the new platform on Saturday, November 5.

The new platform on the northbound side of the station compliments the existing southbound platform along with an "up and over" pedestrian walkway that includes elevators, stairs, and ADA-compliant accessibility. A state-of-the art "Train Approach Messaging System" (TAMS) was also installed to alert people on the platform that a train is approaching.

Also included in the recently completed project is a bicycle parking area, a new canopy for shelter from the elements, and a number of parking, landscaping and other amenities. There are now about 375 parking spaces at Branford station.

"Shore Line East has proven to be an important link in our commuter rail network, and improvements like these make it more enticing for commuters to get out of their cars and onto the train," Governor Malloy said. "We are committed to this work because a strong transportation system means a strong economy."

"A project like this has a substantial ripple effect in the local and regional economy," Commissioner Redeker said. "When people are working, they're spending money. And when commuters use the train rather than drive to work alone in their cars, local traffic is reduced and the air stays a little cleaner."

"Improving our transportation infrastructure is one of the best investments that we can make in a stronger economic future. The Branford train station is an important part of that future, and I know all of Branford is glad to see it up and running at full capacity," State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford) said. "Easy access to railways helps Branford residents commute to work and attracts visitors to our town so that they can visit our many local restaurants and businesses. I have been working with the First Selectman and the state Department of Transportation to ensure that town residents stay up-to-date as this project progressed, and am happy we could be here today to announce its completion."

State Representative Lonnie Reed (D-Branford) said, "As a longtime commuter to New York, I remember when the Branford train stop was a sad little shed that you apologized for when colleagues came to visit. Now, our appealing village station is an economic driver and an inviting gateway to a vibrant local economy promising opportunity and fun. Thank you to the Governor, the DOT and the workforce who helped make it happen."

"It's an exciting day for Branford to finally have a completed train station that will safely and effectively serve residents and visitors for years to come," State Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Branford, Guilford) said. "This area of town is on the rise and the new and improved station coupled with a recent state grant to boost transit oriented development is just what we need to help the town continue making progress when it comes to economic development in Branford."

The same project also included extending the northbound platform at the Guilford Shore Line East station, the next station north of Branford.

In addition to Branford, there are Shore Line East stations at State Street in New Haven and in Guilford, Madison, Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, and New London. Connections to Metro-North's New Haven Line and Amtrak are available at New Haven's Union Station. More information on the rail line is available at http://www.shorelineeast.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.
  by shadyjay
Great to hear! Now just Clinton and Madison will be the only stations with a single platform.

Looking at Google Maps, I personally think a great solution at Clinton would be to utilize the empty parking lot visible here on the right (Cheeseborough Ponds site)
https://www.google.com/maps/@41.2796457 ... a=!3m1!1e3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And construct a north-side platform along it. The "up & over" could be on the far left end of the lot, with a south-side platform off-set from it, to accomodate a new track. Reason being... it would be good to have another siding where stopping trains could get out of the way of Amtrak, such as in Guilford (the next 3-track area is in Saybrook). There is a freight siding which ends just out of the frame on the left. That could be extended eastward through where the existing platform is located. The whole station area at present is pretty tight, not much room for expansion on the south side.
  by F-line to Dudley via Park
Direct opposing platform on the parking row is exactly what the plan is. Renders are hard to come by and this particular one may be dated, but Town of Clinton has a small one here: http://www.clintonrsvp.com/resources/Cl ... df#page=57" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. This report largely focuses on TOD redevelopment of the closed Unilever plant next door for housing and mixed-use. Scroll back to the beginning of the linked report and they've got a lot of verbiage about planning therein. I don't know town politics in this area well enough to peg whether they've got the acumen to pull this off or if their NIMBY's are just anti-development zealots like a lot of Shoreline towns, but it's an intriguing proposal for what density could directly abut the station.
  by YamaOfParadise
Being in an adjacent town, I think they might be able to pull it off based on what they're doing with their old high school right off of I-95; they're redeveloping it into mixed-use in much the same way as they want to for the old Ponds building, complete with a five-story hotel. It might continue to go at a snail's pace, but considering the town OWNED the school and managed to get it sold off to a real-estate developer.
  by The EGE
For all we complain about ConnDOT on this site - myself included - they've actually done a fairly impressive job with SLE on a shoestring budget. Starting with 4 NHV-OSB round trips, they've grown to 17 round trips with some running to STM and NLC, and more possible after the CT River bridge is replaced in a few years. In one week, all but two stations will have significant bidirectional service. They're one of a small number of pre-ADA commuter rail systems in the US - I believe only Caltrain and Tri-Rail are the others - that are 100% handicapped accessible. Every single station is located in a walkable town center, yet has well-utilized parking. And based on its success, there are talks of further expansion and a Niantic infill - and I doubt the upcoming Hartford Line service would have received its massive investment without the proof of SLE.

There's still a long, long way to go, but it's worth noting what we've already achieved.