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November 8, 2023

$105M upgrade to Hartford Line tracks will lead to more service

Photo | Contributed A CTrail Hartford Line train.

Service on the Hartford Line will increase thanks to $105 million in federal funding that will be used to double-track sections of the commuter railroad that currently have only one track, according to the state Department of Transportation.

The money is part of $2 billion in federal funding for 10 rail projects across the state from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. 

The Hartford Line's $105 million allocation will go toward double-tracking three sections of track totalling 6.2 miles. Construction is expected to begin in August 2024 and will take three years to complete.

The DOT estimates the number of trains on the Hartford Line will increase from 35 to 44 per day. An agency spokesman said it's too soon to say when the new trains will be added.

Ridership on the Hartford Line has been strong, nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels, according to the DOT.

There were 730,589 rides on the Hartford Line in 2019, which decreased to 279,600 in 2020 when the pandemic forced people to stay home. Since then, ridership rose to 357,897 in 2021, and to 513,283 in 2022. This year, monthly ridership averages about 90% of its 2019 levels.

The Hartford Line bucks the trend of slow-to-recover ridership on Metro-North Railroad's New Haven Main Line. According to the DOT, ridership on the New Haven Main Line was down 31.9% this October compared to 2019. As a result, Metro-North recently reduced service on the main line and branches.

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