CT Progressive Democrat

News and Views from CT State Representative David McCluskey / Democrat - West Hartford

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amtrak Next-Gen High Speed Rail Vision for Connecticut

Yesterday, Amtrak revealed its new 40 year plan for High-Speed Rail in the Northeast Corridor. The goal is to achieve sustained speeds of 220 miles an hour with a three hour trip time between Boston and Washington, DC.

To accomplish this, Amtrak proposes new dedicated high-speed rail alignments and equipment. For the segment from New York City to Boston, the route featured in the report is NYC to Danbury, Waterbury, Hartford through Rhode Island.

This route was analyzed because MetroNorth's New Haven Line between New Rochelle and New Haven has capacity constraints and the Amtrak-owned, Shore Line Route from New Haven to Rhode Island has curvature restrictions (which slows down trains) and design requirements to meet environmental concerns. The environmental concerns are not elaborated in the report, but some must involve the multiple river crossings/bridges along the route.

In the report, Amtrak details the economic value of Next-Gen High-Speed Rail for Hartford. It estimates that such service would provide travel times between Hartford and NYC that are comparable to what Stamford currently enjoys. The population and jobs within 90 minutes travel of such service would be 4 to 5 times higher than Hartford's current transportation network.

You can access the report by going to www.amtrak.com, going to Inside Amtrak and then click on Reports and Documents.