The Waterbury spur of the Metro-North New Haven train line is designed to take customers from the Waterbury station to Bridgeport, and parts in between. The Bridgeport hub leads to Grand Central Station and other branching lines.
I say "designed" because it has routinely failed its role, for years. I know this firsthand, having once been a commuter on that line to get to my job in Norwalk. There were weeks when I took the bus to and from work more often than the train because of delays, breakdowns and other maladies. Eventually, I would drive to Stratford and park at my father's diner, walk a mile to the train station, and then walk a mile back, just to bypass the train that serviced my area.
This is no way to run a train line. For the Valley to prosper, significant work must be done to make the Waterbury Line viable. As a Representative, I will fight for the following items:
- We must add a second track. Currently, there is one track running from Derby/Shelton all the way up to Waterbury. This means that only one train can run at a time, in either direction, which causes huge issues if there is a delay anywhere on the connecting lines.
- Once we get that second track, we must go through the effort of upgrading and modernizing our trains. Our current diesel based trains are not only bad for the environment, they sport a 25-30% rate of either arriving late or not arriving at all, forcing people to take busses and putting them on the same roads many of them were trying to avoid in the first place. There is no reason why we should not be aiming for an electrified line with parallel tracks by 2030.
- Finally, we can combine the Seymour and Beacon Falls stops into one stop, which would add reliability while at the same time saving maintenance money. There has been talk of making a combined stop by the Haynes building in Seymour, and win or lose, I want to look into that further.
The 105th district is what is called a "bedroom community": a community where people commute out. If we are going to implement the future-facing economic plan that we've come up with, we need to invest in a modern train line that will allow people to go into the Valley, not just out of it.