WALLINGFORD, CONN. – Amid cheers from a crowd that included Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker and representatives from Amtrak and the town of Wallingford, the city’s new brick passenger station was put into service on Nov. 6, 2017.
Built as part of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) Rail Project, the contemporary station replaces an historic depot about one mile to the south. It includes high-level, accessible platforms, an overhead pedestrian bridge with elevators, canopies to shelter customers from inclement weather, automatic snow melting systems and a passenger information display system. Easily accessed on foot, the station also offers electric vehicle charging, bicycle racks and ample parking.
“The opening of this station is part of a widespread effort to encourage economic development and create a more livable and sustainable downtown area.” – Wallingford Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr.
Construction on the new facility, designed by Michael Baker Engineering, began in December 2014 and cost approximately $21 million. It is the first station to open under the larger NHHS Rail Project, a partnership between the state of Connecticut, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), as well as the states of Massachusetts and Vermont. Popularly known as the CTrail Hartford Line, it will bring new, frequent regional rail service between New Haven, Conn., and Springfield, Mass. – and intermediate communities – starting in spring 2018. This supplements existing Amtrak service along this Amtrak-owned rail line.
“Creation of the Hartford Line will provide those working, living and traveling along this corridor with fast, safe, and reliable rail transportation – providing greater attraction for businesses, stimulating job creation, and improving our overall quality of life,” Governor Malloy said.
Overall, the NHHS Rail Project has included improvements to track and signal systems, upgrades to bridges, culverts and at-grade crossings, installation of a second track, and renovation or construction of stations. Trains will be able to operate at speeds up to 110 mph, with an average travel time of 81 minutes between New Haven and Springfield.
As of late 2017, the estimated $1.2 billion program had received $564 million in state funding and $205 million through federal sources, including the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Connecticut intends to seek additional funding from the FRA and the Federal Transit Administration.
Towns such as Wallingford have considered possible enhancements to the areas around their rail stations to encourage the creation of mixed-use neighborhoods that would allow residents to work, shop, and live without the need for an automobile.
In FY 2016, nearly 9,400 customers began or ended their journey at the Wallingford station.