Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, Connecticut Department of Transportation (ConnDOT) Commissioner James Redeker and other state and local officials on June 5 led a tour of the New Haven Rail Yard, which is undergoing a $1.15-billion, multi-year upgrade and expansion.
Gov. Malloy also announced that a fifth new power supply substation has been put into service on the New Haven passenger rail line, adding more redundancy and increasing options to reduce the chance of future prolonged power failures.
“I want to ensure riders have as safe and reliable a commute as possible. That’s why we have invested and, will continue to invest, billions in our rail infrastructure to serve the people of Connecticut,” said Gov. Malloy. “We could not operate the New Haven Line – the busiest in the nation – without the New Haven Rail Yard. This facility has served our rail system since the mid-1800s when trains first began operating in the Northeast Corridor. This rebuilding and expansion is the best demonstration of our commitment to investing in new facilities, maintaining our rail assets and providing the best and safest possible service to Connecticut commuters.”
Last week, the State Bond Commission, chaired by Gov. Malloy, approved $80 million for the rail yard program. The state funding will pay for a new warehouse for rail car components, storage tracks for rail cars, demolition of an old storage facility and a pedestrian bridge linking Union Station and the yard, so that employees can more easily access the yard.
“We have seen what can happen when there’s a major power failure on this railroad – disrupting service, inconveniencing commuters and the ripple effect into the local and regional economy,” said ConnDOT Commissioner Redeker, referring to last fall’s power outage on the New Haven Line in Mount Vernon, N.Y., which disrupted service for two weeks. “We continue to make investments in our power supply and overall rail infrastructure, which are long overdue.”
The tour began at the Rail Yard’s $215-million Component Change-Out Shop, a structure which can accommodate 13 cars on three tracks for changing out/replacing major components, such as HVAC units on top of the cars. The shop has a 35-ton bridge crane and in-floor lifts that can lift cars individually or in pairs so that wheels, traction motors and other components on the underside of the cars can be removed and replaced.
Last month, a fifth new power supply substation was put into service for the rail yard, adding more redundancy and increasing options to reduce the chance of future prolonged power failures. The new “1086” substation was installed by United Illuminating Company, in partnership with ConnDOT. Previously, the New Haven Rail Yard was powered by the Devon Supply Substation in Milford. This new source of power to serve the New Haven Rail Yard and its electric switch heaters will allow additional redundancy and power options to maintain and operate the New Haven Line more efficiently and safely.
The New Haven Rail Yard Facilities Improvements Program began in 2005 and has been continuously evolving as operations, needs and technologies change – especially with increased ridership, the purchase of 405 state-of-the-art M-8 rail cars now being delivered and the recently stepped-up program to provide higher-speed intercity passenger service on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Line.