This week brought good news for people who would rather take the train than battle traffic on 1-95 to and from New York on summer weekends. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) plans to expand service on Shore Line East to include weekend trains to New London as soon as this spring.
State Senator Andrea L. Stillman, vice-chair of the legislature’s Transportation Committee, said the announcement was part of an oversight hearing held on January 28. Although details are sketchy at this point about exactly when DOT would start offering this service, how many trains would run and what the schedule would be, Stillman welcomed the news as a big step in the right direction.
“For many years now all of us along Connecticut’s shoreline have been waiting patiently for more options with regard to rail service so riding the train to New Haven and New York will become a more and more viable option,” Senator Stillman said in a press release. “Today’s announcement is a welcome acknowledgement that more frequent rail service to and from southeastern Connecticut must become a regular part of the landscape for a host of environmental and very practical reasons.”
“News of this planned Shore Line East service expansion with weekend trains to New London will be welcomed by prospective passengers throughout southeastern Connecticut, particularly as the I-95 corridor becomes more congested during the warmer weather,” she added.
According to the DOT, Shore Line East ridership increased by more than two percent in 2012, despite significant disruption caused by Superstorm Sandy, Stillman reported.
“Ridership statistics support the notion that people will use mass transit if and when it is made available to them so I’m delighted to know this initiative is in the works,” she said.