A new train service that will run up and down the Interstate 91 corridor opens to the public this weekend.
CTrail is a direct way to get both north and south of Hartford, according to the state Department of Transportation.
Elected officials took their first ride from Hartford on Friday at noon.
“With the launch of the Hartford Line, Connecticut is taking long-overdue, bold steps to invest in our future, laying the tracks for job growth, business expansion, and the revitalization of our urban areas,” said Gov. Dannel Malloy. “Investing in our transportation system is critical to drive economic growth, boost development, create jobs, and improve the overall quality of life for our residents. If we want our state to be competitive and attract the jobs of the future, investing in our transportation system is not optional.”
The train will go from New Haven to Hartford and on up to Springfield, MA.
Lawmakers have been thinking about the endeavor for decades as a way to ease traffic on I-91 and $191 million in federal funding helped make the project possible.
The new service will include 17 trips a day between New Haven and the capital city and 12 trips between Hartford and Springfield.
There will be stops in places like Wallingford, Berlin, Meriden, Windsor Locks and other areas.
From Springfield to New Haven, it should take 81 minutes.
The trains travel at 110 mph and will run every 45 minutes during their weekday schedule.
It utilizes twenty-seven miles of new double-track along previously existing single-track sections, allowing more frequent trains to travel through the corridor. Additionally, new train stations were built in Wallingford, Meriden, and Berlin, and high-level platforms and other upgrades have been made at the Hartford and New Haven State Street stations.
The line will also provide direct or connecting service to bigger cities like New York or Boston.
The DOT said it will be a catalyst for economic development, business and recreational travel.
“Investing in transportation means investing in a stronger Connecticut,” said commissioner James P. Redeker, DOT. “It’s taken the leadership of Gov. Malloy and many others to leverage federal funds to bring this much-needed service to our state. We’ve already seen an explosion of interest in transit-oriented development in rail communities and we expect that will only grow as young people continue to make clear that they want transit at the heart of their hometowns.”
Governor Dannel Malloy has been pushing for more public transportation.
"I am talking about a generation now and the ones that will follow it. I know from surveys that a lot of young people, college grads, don't want to own a car," said Malloy.
Train service could be an economic boost for towns like Meriden, Wallingford, and Berlin.
"This is really such a game changer. Couple years we are going to look back and say this started the renaissance of Connecticut's future," said Redeker.
The first public train launches on Saturday.
For the first full weekend of operation, the rides will be free.
Regular weekday service begins on Monday.
More information on schedules can be found on the Hartford Line website here.
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