The state of Connecticut has allocated more than $8 million in Rail Freight Infrastructure Program funding, which will be released to four regional railroad company projects in an effort to improve and modernize Connecticut's rail freight system.
The Central New England Railroad, New England Central Railroad, Naugatuck Railroad, and Providence and Worcester Railroad will repair and upgrade rail lines, beds, crossings and culverts, as well as other related facilities.
“Improving our freight rail infrastructure is a critical component of strengthening Connecticut’s economy,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. “Upgrades to tracks and crossings for rail freight certainly improve our overall transit system, but also create good jobs and a strong system for future commerce. These improvements will allow more freight to be moved safely at higher speeds, while at the same time ease highway gridlock and reduce air pollution.”
The projects will also forward Connecticut’s economic and environmental agenda by creating and sustaining 425 jobs, strengthening commerce, improving safety and reducing air pollution on the state’s roads.
Annually, rail freight companies move 8.5 million tons of freight through Connecticut on more than 625 miles of tracks.
The projects funded include:
• Central New England Railroad was awarded $2,464,300 for track and grade-crossing signal infrastructure improvements installed between Hartford and Bloomfield on the state-owned Griffin Line. Grade crossing warning devices will be installed and surface and track improvements will be made at the Wintonbury Avenue and Mills Lane crossings in Bloomfield.
• New England Central Railroad was awarded $3,579,230 to upgrade their mainline track between New London and the Connecticut/Massachusetts state line to accommodate 286,000-pound rail cars. The project includes upgrading switches, making repairs to the Norwich Tunnel and rehabilitating nine grade crossings.
• Naugatuck Railroad was awarded $1,649,936 on the state-owned Torrington Line between Waterbury and Torrington. Naugatuck Railroad will replace ties and worn rails and improve a rail crossing at Frost Bridge Road on Route 262 in Watertown.
• Providence and Worcester Railroad was awarded $759,395 to rehabilitate 26 miles of the Norwich Branch Line between Plainfield and the Massachusetts state line. New crossties, spikes and ballast will be installed and rail speeds on the line will increase.