Central Corridor Rail Line

Central Corridor Rail Line

This article is about a proposed passenger service in New England. For other Central Corridors, see Central Corridor.
Central Corridor Rail Line
Overview
Type Regional rail
Status proposed
Locale New England
Termini New London
Brattleboro
Stations 10 (7 new; 3 serve other routes)
Technical
Track gauge
Route map
Central Corridor Rail Line


The Central Corridor Rail Line is a proposed passenger service route between New London, Connecticut, and Brattleboro, Vermont. A primary purpose of the proposed service is to provide a rail link between 13 colleges and universities (including the state flagship schools UConn, UMass Amherst, and UVM[1]) as part of the Knowledge Corridor.[2] Preparing the line for passenger service would require refurbishing the New England Central Railroad tracks, which also carry freight to New London's deepwater port.[3] The northernmost section, in Vermont, is currently being upgraded to continuously welded rail via a $50 million ARRA grant. New England Central estimates that similar upgrades (which include upgrading the track to standard 286,000 pound car loads) from the Massachusetts / Vermont border to New London would cost $18 million, while the full project including stations and rolling stock would cost $150 million.[1][4]

In November 2012, officials from Mansfield, New London, Norwich, and Windham (all of which will be served by station stops) plus the Southeastern Connecticut Council of Governments signed an agreement to pursue funding for the service.[5]

Rolling stock

Equipment is proposed to be refurbished 1950s Budd Rail Diesel Cars,[6] which are less expensive to operate than conventional locomotive-and-carriage trains on lower-density routes like the Central Corridor. The refurbished RDCs would be capable of operating at speeds up to 80 miles per hour - the FRA limit on track speed on the corridor.[7]

Historical Use

The Central Vermont Railway operated passenger service from New London to Brattleboro and beyond until 1966.[8]

During the building of Foxwoods Casino and Mohegan Sun Casino in the 1990s and 2000s, commuter rail service was considered on the New London to Norwich section of the line to reduce traffic impacts on Route 2.[9] However, upgrades to Route 2 were selected instead.

In October 2012, an excursion train was run to raise support for the project, which has been endorsed by a number of the town governments along the line.[4]

Relation to Vermonter

Main article: Vermonter

Currently, Amtrak's Vermonter runs over the NECR tracks from Palmer to Brattleboro, including the station stop at Amherst. However, the train is planned to be rerouted westward to Northampton and Holyoke to avoid the time-consuming backup at Palmer. The Central Corridor Rail Line would stop at Amherst, preventing the station stop (which serves UMass Amherst) from being abandoned.

From its reinstatement in 1989 until 1995, the Montrealer (the direct predecessor of the Vermonter) ran along the alignment from New London to Palmer, instead of its present route from New Haven north to Springfield and east to Palmer. This routing included a stop at Willimantic starting in 1992.

Station Listing

State City Station Notes
Connecticut New London Union Station Connections to Amtrak, Shore Line East, SEAT
Montville Mohegan Mohegan Sun casino
Norwich Norwich Connection to SEAT at Norwich Transportation Center
Willimantic Willimantic Former Vermonter stop
Mansfield Storrs / Mansfield
Stafford Stafford Springs
Massachusetts Palmer Palmer
Amherst Amherst Current Vermonter stop
Millers Falls Millers Falls
Vermont Brattleboro Brattleboro Vermonter stop

References

External links

  • Central Corridor Line (official project site)
  • Documents hosted by RIARP
  • Map of line using Google Maps template